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My ACA experience: Christopher

Christopher applied for university, but decided that starting the ACA straight from school ultimately made more sense for getting ahead in a career in accountancy. He is now working as a Higher Apprentice for Saffery Champness and shares his experiences of starting work and studying.

Christopher Gould

Christopher Gould Apprentice, Saffery Champness

ICAEW route: Apprenticeship

Industry: Audit and assurance

Location: UK

Christopher's story...

When I was studying for my A-levels my business and economics teacher told me about someone in the year above me getting a place on an accountancy school-leaver scheme with KPMG; I have always had an interest in the financial sector and this made me think about looking into accountancy as a career.

I did apply for University, but thought that if I can have a career in accountancy without having to spend three years studying at University then it seemed worth a shot.

Ultimately, if I was able to get a place on a school-leaver scheme that would lead me to the same place as a graduate scheme in less time, while being paid; it made more sense to me.

I searched online for accountancy firms in my area offering school-leaver opportunities. When I found firms offering these opportunities I looked at what kind of training programmes each firm offered and applied to the ones that I thought best suited me.

I was successful in gaining a place as a Higher Apprentice at Saffery Champness.

In my first year I will spend six months in the payroll department and six months in the tax department. I also regularly go into the accounts department to help out with basic accounting tasks and get a taste of things to come.

Over the course of my first year I will also be working on several audits.

Overall, to start with I am just gaining experience of working life and getting a taste of the different aspects of the firms work.

After my first year at Saffery Champness I will be moving into the Audit and Accounts department more permanently.

I am also starting my training and studying towards ICAEW’s Certificate in Finance, Accounting and Business, which consists of the first six modules of the ACA.

From my limited experience of accountancy to date, it involves a wide range of work and tasks. I am enjoying taking on responsibility, making decisions and being more independent.

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