Having just graduated from Durham University, I joined PKF Littlejohn in December 2021 in the Financial Services division. The team advises clients across the financial services sector – insurance, payment services, funds and asset management, consumer credit and credit unions – and is among the top accountancy firm advisers to UK insurers. With exemptions from some certificate level exams after already covering them at university, I’m currently studying for my sixth exam out of 15 (the last of certificate level), and hope to qualify as a chartered accountant in 2024.
What was the application process like – any advice?
The first stage of the application process involves two tests – a numerical assessment and a deductive reasoning assessment. These are designed to check if you have the basic knowledge and understanding required for the role. After completing and (hopefully!) passing this stage, you move on to a phone interview and then a group assessment centre. In terms of advice, the best thing to do is just to be yourself! My most successful interviews have been when I’ve not tried to provide ‘perfect’ responses, and instead just given genuine answers to the questions that are asked.
What skills are useful in this sector/ profession?
Perhaps surprisingly, one of the most important skills when working in accountancy is communication – both with the client and with other members of your team. Forming those strong relationships is crucial, and also makes the working day more enjoyable! We have a saying here that ‘we work with people not numbers’ and that’s something that drives how we treat each other and our clients.
There are plenty of occasions where you may come across something you’ve not seen before, particularly when you’ve just started your training as an accountant. When deadlines are tight, it’s encouraging to see how everyone communicates effectively and works together in order to complete the audit on time and to the highest standard.
Do you have any advice for anyone wanting to enter the profession?
No question is a bad question. There is a culture at PKF Littlejohn in which questions are not only welcomed, but encouraged. Staying curious, and asking questions is important for your own growth and development, as well as ensuring a high quality audit!