I chose to study for an ACA qualification as it is a fantastically regarded and varied qualification, which really gives you an edge in today’s competitive job market. I was attracted to Citroen Wells’ graduate scheme to achieve this qualification, as working in a medium-sized firm would mean a larger variety of day to day tasks and more responsibility from an earlier stage.
It was initially a daunting prospect for me as I had not done a degree in a finance or even a maths-orientated subject, but in all aspects of your training, whether work experience, tuition or technical training, everyone is treated as having no prior knowledge and is taught up from the very basics. You are given so much help and support from your firm, SWAT UK and your college, there is never a lack of people to ask for guidance!
It can be difficult juggling a job as well as studying and the tuition does go at a fast pace. However, as long as you keep on top of things from the beginning, you are still very much able to have a good work/life balance. No one is a fan of exams but in this profession the benefits of doing exams when it comes to your job confidence are fantastic.
When not at college or training at SWAT UK, the day to day tasks at work usually include preparing accounts for small businesses or sole traders, preparing tax computations and visiting a variety of clients to help seniors with audit fieldwork. There is huge variety in the clients I have worked for and I have been to audit charities, investment brokers and barristers chambers just to mention a few. At a medium-sized firm you really get to see a huge variety of clients in different sectors.
As long as you are prepared for hard work and are ready to be challenged, the graduate scheme is a fantastic place to begin your career in accountancy. My advice would be never be afraid to ask as many questions as possible along the way, no matter how silly you may feel they are.
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