My dad worked in a bank, so I have been interested in business from a young age. I’ve always enjoyed maths and how numbers work too. I wasn’t entirely sure what I wanted to do after leaving school, but one of my teachers suggested accountancy; it suited me well and seemed like a logical fit.
Did you do any placements or internships?
I tried to get as much experience as I could prior to leaving university. I did a placement with PwC in the summer after second year and then did a six-week placement with Grant Thornton in the summer before graduating. My time at PwC definitely helped me in the interview for the placement here. The bit of experience I had in accountancy showed I had some knowledge and I was able to draw on real-life experiences.
I really enjoyed my placement with Grant Thornton and got offered a graduate job as a result. The organisation works with smaller clients, so I get to see more sections of the job I am working on rather than only one part.
Describe your job for us.
As an audit associate I work with the clients and try to corroborate the figures in their financial accounts. My job involves a lot of communication with clients, as they provide me with information I need. The size of the team varies depending on the job and time pressures – sometimes it can be one or two people and other times six. I travel quite a lot, as you have to go where the client is based. I’ve had some jobs that are across the road and one was in Norway!
What is the most exciting part of your job?
I really like going out and trying to get an understanding of how different businesses work. I’ve worked with a company that does duck farming and a company that manufactures sewage machinery – the clients are really varied.
What training and support have you received so far?
Training to become a fully chartered accountant is a big part of the job. Grant Thornton has a training manor house where we go for several days and learn skills needed for a new role. There are online mini-learning courses too, which means development is continual. As a graduate, you also have blocks of time where you study for a few weeks at college, then go back to work, then have revision time and then take your exams for your qualifications. It’s very structured.
Name the top three skills for a successful career in accountancy and financial management.
- Good use of Microsoft Excel – if you haven’t got a good understanding of Excel before you start, you’ll definitely have it very soon!
- An enquiring mind – you should always try to support information and never take it at face value.
- Interpersonal skills – you will have to engage with lots of different people and it’s important to build up good relationships with your clients.