Accountants are a force for good at Aviva. They influence every decision the market-leading insurer makes and every policy it produces. Its accountancy graduate programme is your chance to make your mark on the future of the company. Aviva doesn’t mind what you’ve studied or which university you attended; what matters is that you enjoy solving problems and thinking strategically. Read on to learn more about what is – and isn’t – required for a successful career in accountancy.
What accountancy at Aviva involves
Aviva’s accountancy graduate scheme comprises three one-year placements across different finance teams, including financial reporting and controls, business partnering, taxation and investments. Alongside all this hands-on experience in the world of commercial accounting, Aviva will equip you with everything you need to become a fully qualified chartered accountant with ICAEW. This masters-level professional qualification will be fully funded by Aviva and you’ll also benefit from paid study leave. ‘It’s a brilliant introduction to the world of finance,’ says Chris Brazier, who is in the third year of the graduate scheme, ‘providing practical work experience alongside sponsored study towards a professional qualification.’ Dale Victoria Smith, who is now a scheme alumna, has since gone on to experience a variety of roles in the business. She is as enthusiastic as Chris, and tells us: ‘Joining the scheme meant I had absolutely nothing to worry about as there was someone to help or refer to every step of the way… the brilliant thing is that there are lots of teams and roles to “try before you buy” (so to speak) while on the scheme so you can experience lots of different functions.’
What you don’t need for Aviva’s accountancy graduate roles…
A finance-related degree.
There’s no requirement to have previously studied accounting or a similar subject before starting your career – and you won’t be at a disadvantage if you haven’t. Although Dale has a degree in accountancy and finance from Leeds Metropolitan University, Chris joined the graduate scheme with a degree in fine art from Norwich University of the Arts. Aviva values new insights and fresh perspectives, which come from hiring a diverse range of graduates from different backgrounds. If you’re curious and keen to learn, Aviva will teach you everything you need to know once you begin the graduate programme.
What you do need for Aviva’s accountancy graduate roles…
A 2.1 degree
This can be in any subject, from any university. Aviva doesn’t favour graduates who have studied accounting or attended a Russell Group university over others.
120 UCAS points from three A Levels (or equivalent)
These can be in any subject (though it excludes general studies). You don’t need to have studied maths beyond GCSE level, for example.
An aptitude for numbers
Accountancy does involve maths, but there’s no need to have studied a numerical subject at A level or university. Aviva will assess your numerical ability through online testing as part of the application process.
A passion for business, finance and insurance
This doesn’t need to come from studying finance or business in an academic setting. Aviva wants to see that you are enthusiastic and enjoy learning about these areas. You could develop your interest through independent reading or building a network of contacts in the industry, for example.
The skills to succeed
Aviva believes that number-crunching is for calculators; accountancy is about people. Most of the skills it asks for are transferable, meaning you can develop them anywhere: for example, through your extracurricular activities, part-time work or volunteering. The top skills for graduate accountants at Aviva are:
- communication and people skills
- leadership skills
- creative problem solving
- commercial and strategic thinking
- initiative and drive to get things done.
It goes without saying that graduates at Aviva will need to be able to combine the demands of work and study, but you’ll be supported every step of the way. ‘There are periods around exams when balancing time between work and study, as well as a social life, can be really challenging, ‘ says Chris, ‘but the scheme has helped me become more decisive and flexible, particularly in how I manage my time during these periods to enable me to make the most of every moment.’
Prepare for the application process
Think you’ve got what it takes? Aviva’s application form contains a short but important questionnaire. Put your best effort into completing it, as it’s all about your motivations (you will be able to attach your CV). Aviva wants to know why you are interested in accountancy, and in Aviva as an employer. If you match Aviva’s criteria, you’ll be asked to complete some numerical and critical reasoning tests. Pass those and you’ll have a video interview. The final stage will be a virtual assessment day in early 2021. ‘I remember thinking that the assessors were down-to-earth and personable,’ says Dale, reflecting on her application experience. ‘This made me immediately think Aviva would be the perfect place to have a career!’
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