How did you get your role?
I applied for the role of Chartered Accountant Student through the Hillier Hopkins website and completed the form. I was then invited for a telephone interview, followed by a face to face interview with senior management. I then completed some online psychometric tests and finally I had a face to face interview with the student Principal.
Why did you choose Hillier Hopkins?
I applied to Hillier Hopkins because of its location in relation to my home town and connections to London. I chose to apply to Hillier Hopkins as it is a mid tier firm and allows for earlier responsibility and closer professional relationships with other members of staff. Currently as a second year student, I am already taking out first year students on small audits and helping with training and developing their knowledge – therefore I have been able to take on responsibility early into my contract and gain vital experience from this.
What challenges have you come across and what support have you received?
It has been difficult to adapt to the work, life and study environment whilst studying for my ACA. Balancing all three has been a challenge coming from university where the main priority was studying. Hillier Hopkins have supported me through the exams by encouraging interaction with students in other year groups to discuss study tactics etc. We also all have mentors in senior management who are available to discuss any issues with at all times.
Do you have any advice for anyone wanting to join Hillier Hopkins?
It is not easy studying for your ACA and therefore you need to be able to focus and work hard. Be organised and determined to push through the exams whilst maintaining a full time job. You will also need to be prepared to take responsibility for your own work early on and be willing to take on more senior positions at an early stage than would be possible at a ‘Big Four’ firm.
What personal developments have you noticed since starting your contract?
The obvious development is confidence. I’m able to work comfortably in a professional environment; help other students and communicate with a wide variety of differing clients. Personal organisation has also been a main development for me. Juggling exams, work and the responsibility of being the first point of contact for clients required a change in my approach.
How would you describe the culture at Hillier Hopkins?
The culture at Hillier Hopkins is professional yet personal. For me, a mid tier firm taking on an intake of six students a year is a lot more personal than at other firms. Principals know you by your first name and you are encouraged to participate in activities, both work and social. At Hillier Hopkins we are one of two firms that are active members in the Beds, Bucks and Herts student society for other ACA students. We are therefore heavily involved in organising events for students across the region. The work/life balance is emphasised at Hillier Hopkins and this is one of the reasons I chose to work here.