Having completed a degree in Japanese and management, a career with a London based firm of chartered accountants was perhaps not the most natural career choice for Nils. He explains what attracted him to the industry in the first place and the many rewards of being an accountant.
Why did you choose a career in accounting?
One aspect that attracted me to a career with an accountancy firm was that the chartered accountancy route is a proven entry point into a successful career in business, even if your longer-term career goals lie outside of the profession. A training contract in audit provides unique insight into a range of businesses very early on in one’s career that would otherwise be difficult to gain, including access to the most senior people in our clients’ businesses.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I enjoy the variety the job provides in terms of the clients I work with, the types of industries they operate in and the range of technical issues I face on daily basis. I have enjoyed growing into the role of a trusted adviser to my clients which involves discussions that often go far beyond technical accounting and tax matters. Whilst this may sound like a cliché, I do really like the people I work with and the fact that we have a collegiate and supportive environment.
At no stage in my career it has ever felt as if things stood still, as there has always been a large emphasis on continuous development, be it technical training, increased responsibilities, regulatory changes or new challenges arising from changes our clients face.
Lastly, having moved to the UK from Germany for my degree, I enjoy the significant proportion of international work at Blick Rothenberg which makes the work more interesting and provides fantastic opportunities for people with foreign language skills.
What are the current challenges the industry faces?
It is an interesting time to be working in the profession, as the industry landscape is constantly developing. Technology certainly has had a big impact on how we work as a firm and is creating both opportunities and challenges.
One challenge facing the tax advisory side of our business is the changing attitude of the wider public towards tax planning which, whilst it has not had a significant impact on the advice we provide at Blick Rothenberg, has certainly put a spot light on the tax and accountancy professions.
Finally, like professional services firms in general, being a people business we are constantly looking for talented people that bring with them the right mix of business acumen, technical and interpersonal skills to help our firm grow.
What would you like to achieve in the future?
Blick Rothenberg is a successful growing firm and I have already witnessed significant growth since joining the firm as a graduate. I am excited about being part of the leadership team and being able to shape the firm’s future direction to continue on this trajectory. It is exciting to see the business landscape in the UK developing, including the growth of the technology sector which faces challenges that can be quite different from those faced by the more traditional industries. We work closely with the technology sector in London and adapting the way we work is an exciting challenge.
A particular focus for me personally is to further develop our business with clients from German speaking countries, a market in which we have always had a strong market position but in which we see further opportunities.
Do you have any advice for anyone wanting to get into the industry?
The most important piece of advice I have is to do your research and find out about the different entry routes into the profession and the different firms in the market place. You should choose the firm you train with carefully, to ensure that at the end of the training contract you do not only have an additional qualification but have also experienced a range of industries and gained experience in a variety of areas.
An ACA training contract can provide fantastic general business training that goes beyond technical accounting and tax matters.
Finally, I would say that it is important to have a keen interest in business to be able to relate to your clients and know what makes them tick.