My first experience of accounting was at school whilst studying business studies. This led to my decision to study Business Studies with Accounting at Canterbury Christ Church University.
Accounting requires working in a professional environment, and looking at reasons behind numbers in a diverse range of businesses and industries. This was one of the main reasons I pursued a career within this field.
During my final year at university I researched the options and qualifications available within accountancy. There are different types of accountants working within practise and industry. Based on my criteria it became clear that working within a practise was the best option, as this would give me the opportunity to work with a variety of businesses and clients.
The majority of accounting practises offered various graduate programmes with sponsorship to study for accounting qualifications, however not all firms offer the opportunity to gain experience within different departments.
My training so far
I joined Reeves in September 2009 on the graduate training programme. The recruitment process included four stages. One of these stages involved attending an assessment centre, where prioritising tasks and team games were completed. This stage was fairly laid back, and the team game was a mystery to solve, which was good fun.
The last stage consisted of a presentation to a panel, which included partners. I found this stage the toughest, however it was a fantastic experience and has given me confidence in formal presentations for the future.
Qualifying as an accountant
Reeves sponsor graduates to gain the ACA qualification; to become a chartered accountant. The programme is for three years and graduates work for six months within different departments; tax, corporate services, business services and insolvency.
As I had no experience I decided that the rotation would give me an excellent opportunity to gain experience within different departments. Sponsorship for the qualification was also a fantastic opportunity to develop and learn, as this can be costly and difficult without the support of a firm and experienced colleagues.
I have now completed my first six months within the tax department. My experience within tax involved completing tax returns for individuals and partnerships, which I have enjoyed and found interesting.
I have also started to study for my qualification, attending college and completing four computer-based exams. Although studying and working full-time can be challenging and time consuming, it is certainly rewarding to pass exams and become closer to becoming qualified.
I have just moved to the corporate department for my next six months of work, and have already been on two audits. Working within different business environments and gaining an insight into how they run is interesting and my next project is within a sweet factory, which I am excited about! Gaining experience in communicating with clients face to face has helped to develop my people skills.
A diverse range of clients
I had to process individuals’ and partnerships’ tax returns. This gave me the opportunity to gain knowledge in a diverse range of industries from artists to farmers. I had never had any experience within most of these industries. The tax rules and allowances for different industries can vary, which can be challenging to understand but intriguing.
I find it rewarding to spot opportunities where clients can save money on their tax bill, due to allowances they did not know they were entitled too. Processing the return involved me analysing the expenses and sales of the individuals or partnerships. This gave me a real understanding of how the different businesses work. It is particularly interesting to gain an overview of how the current economic climate is affecting the industries.
My first audit
My first audit was for an international special purpose machinery provider. Within this audit I was responsible for gaining an understanding of how the company’s sales and purchases took place, in order to ensure the figures provided in the accounts reflected a fair view of the business.
This may seem simple, however these processes are fundamental to the accounts and the issues to be considered can be complex. I found it interesting to gain a detailed insight into how the business worked.
Identifying opportunities clients are missing or risks they are taking can help their business, which I found rewarding. Completing the task involved communicating with staff from the warehouse, sales team and management. I enjoyed working with a range of people, and this has given me confidence and developed my people skills.
Working within an industry that I have no familiarity with provided me with knowledge and experience that would not be gained working within one industry.
I am looking forward to my career at Reeves. Once I am qualified I would like to improve my competence within one particular role. My future aspirations are to attend management courses provided by the company, and one day have the responsibilities of managing clients and staff.