• Name: Olivia Newell
  • Job Title: Accounts and Business Advisory Supervisor
  • Location: n/a
  • Degree: School Leaver
  • Areas of Specialism: Business Advisory

How did you get your job at RSM?

The Sixth Form I attended had a very University focused approach to guiding students on to the next steps, and the apprenticeship route was not advertised as an option. At the time I was very unsure of what I wanted to do with my life but knew that I didn’t want to go to University. My Accounting A-Level tutor had a very pro-apprenticeship approach to teaching and she was the one whom introduced me to the world of accountancy job roles.

 Why did you choose RSM?

Whilst I was at School my perception of accountants was that they were tedious, and all wore grey suits. When I was invited to an interview at RSM I quickly learned that this was not the case, the interviewer seemed genuinely interested in me as a person. I left the interview feeling as though my work would be valued by RSM and I would be more than just another student to them. This was important to me, especially as I knew I would be spending the next weeks, months and now years working with the same people. And we don’t all wear grey.

What’s it like working at RSM?

I have now worked for RSM for 7 years and I honestly love it. The first few weeks of working were tough, I had been used to shorter school days and there was a wealth of new information to learn. The team consists mainly of other people whom have qualified with RSM and gone on to progress to Manager and even Partner, so they are all very supportive and understanding of the position you are in when first starting as they have been there themselves.

What are your main duties/roles in your current position?

When I first started as a school leaver my main duties were:

  • Preparing sets of financial statements for sole traders, partnerships, small limited companies
  • Preparing VAT returns
  • Preparing corporation tax returns for small limited companies

Within RSM we work with a huge range of different clients and so when you first start you get experience with them all. The further you progress on in your career you get the chance to choose specialities in an area you like to work in, for me that is not-for-profit clients and education clients.

I qualified as an ICAEW Chartered Accountant in December 2018 and since my role has changed significantly. The role has switched from preparer to reviewer and I have been given my own portfolio of clients to manage.

  • Manage the client relationship with the clients in my portfolio, including regular catch up meetings with them throughout the year and organising the billing for our services
  • Reviewing the Assistants work; whether they have prepared the year-end financial statements or completed ad-hoc advice.
  • Assist with assessment centres and interviews
  • Meet with potential new clients and have opportunities to pitch
  • Freedom to manage my own time and work directly with the Partners

What skills have you found to be particularly useful in this sector/profession?

The first thing anybody says to me when I say that I am an accountant is ‘oh, you must be good at maths!’. This could not be further from the truth; my role is not really based around maths at all.

I would say the skills I have found to be useful is having a good eye for detail and being able to pick up on trends of information. The way I work is very methodical and this was how I approach every task, including my revision whilst I was studying.

Also, strong communication skills are very important in this profession. From the first day in the office you will be speaking with a range of different people and you must alter your language based on who that is. For example, when speaking with the Managers which can be more informal vs. speaking with our clients where we need to make sure we are always professional

How do you see yourself progressing from your current position in the next 2-3 years?

Now that my training contract is completed I am working towards promotion to Manager grade. In the next 2-3 years I will hopefully being progressing through the Manager role and be looking towards Senior Manager. I would really like to progress on to be a line manager to a new intake of school leavers so that I can help guide them through their training contracts as was done for me.

RSM is large enough that there are lots of opportunities for development and progression, and this is one of the key factors which will make me stay with RSM post qualification.

What challenges have you come across and what support have you received?

Studying whilst maintaining a good work / social life balance is difficult. The qualifications I studied (AAT and then ACA) are demanding and require a certain amount of revision, which means giving up week nights and weekends in the run up to an exam.

RSM is very supportive of staff whilst in their training contracts, full study support is provided included time off to attend college. The Managers also know the pressures of the exams so they can help with managing workload whilst revising.

Do you have any advice for anyone wanting to work at RSM?

I have recently been assisting in the running of the assessment centres and a piece of advice I would offer is to make sure your personality shines through. We know that you will be nervous and will have spent hours poring over the website (reading this!) researching and preparing for the day. To stand out from the crowd you should try and be yourself as we are genuinely interested.

I would also think about the type of work environment you want to be in, remembering that if you do get an apprenticeship you will be working with the team very closely. I would say that RSM is very people focused and really make sure your hard work is valued and you are fully supported. This is the main reason that I want to progress my career with RSM.

Describe RSM in 3 words

Collaboration, Respect, Supportive

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