Tell us about yourself?
I am an Accounting and Finance Graduate, currently working towards becoming a Chartered Accountant with Hazlewoods. I completed a placement year with the firm after my second year at university, and was lucky to be offered a three-year training contract to study for the ICAEW exams once finishing my university degree. My philosophy on life is very much work hard, play hard. I enjoy the challenge this career gives me, how it enables me to push myself out of my comfort zone and to always learn more. I have recently taken up skydiving, and am grateful that the career I enjoy will allow me to continue with this extremely fun and unfortunately very expensive hobby!
Why did you choose a degree with a placement year?
After studying a subject completely unrelated to accounting for my first year at university, I was unsure about the career I wanted. After a lot of thought about what I’d be good at, and what would give me good long-term prospects, I decided that accounting would be a sensible option. Choosing a degree with the placement year allowed me to gain a real insight into what this career would involve, and the many different paths I could take.
What attracted you to Hazlewoods?
After researching the different paths I could take with accounting, I concluded that becoming a Chartered Accountant with the ICAEW qualification would be most beneficial to me. I knew that Hazlewoods offered this as a graduate scheme and so decided that working a placement year would give me the opportunity to prove I was capable of going on to do this. Hazlewoods is a well-respected firm, and in my opinion, the best in my area. It is a large enough firm to offer a wide range of client services and specialisms and yet small enough that I am able to get involved in a number of these different areas.
What are your main duties and responsibilities?
I currently work within the tax team at Hazlewoods, and did so for the course of my 12 month placement. During the placement I had exposure to corporate and personal tax and my main duties were involved with the compliance side of both of these. Throughout the year my duties shifted with the various deadlines and this gave me a good overview of the various aspects involved with tax. I also had the opportunity to work with another team on the audit of a company. This helped expand the knowledge I had already gained from the audit modules I studied at university, however this experience also confirmed that audit was not for me – I’ll stick to tax!
What key things have you gained from your placement year?
During my placement year I was able to solidify the knowledge I learned at university by applying this to real life practice. Learning by doing is definitely the best way – the proof is in the huge improvement to my grades in my final year at university. My confidence significantly improved too, as having a supportive and encouraging team around me created the ideal environment for learning and personal growth.
Do you have any advice for others looking for a placement?
Have a clear idea of what it is you want to get out of your placement. Research the opportunities that different companies offer, especially if you are looking to go down the route of a professional qualification after your degree, and do this as soon as possible. I applied for the Hazlewoods placement just a few weeks into my second year at university. This was the placement I wanted, and I made that clear in my interview.