• Name: Oliver Howell
  • Job Title: AAT Apprentice
  • Location: London
  • Areas of Specialism: Corporate Finance

I’ve always enjoyed taking on responsibility whilst working in a team and an environment which at times can create high pressured scenarios. I spent two years lifeguarding from when I was 16 through to 18 and I always wanted to take the attributes I had gained from that role and apply them into a more ambitious workspace. My background in acting also meant I felt comfortable pursuing a role in a career that requires articulate and detailed communication skills.

Explain why you decided to pursue a career in this profession

I have always held a strong interest in business and finance, so I wanted to pursue a career which coincided with those passions. I found accountancy to be the perfect industry because I get to acknowledge and analyse the ways in which different businesses work financially on a daily basis. I also aimed to seek a career where no two days are the same and where I was able to learn something new every day. Finally, I wanted an engaging role both internally and externally and being an accountant provides the opportunity to meet with clients and work with a large number of people.

As a trainee accountant I work with a range of clients from a variety of sectors which creates a diversified working day. The constant exposure to new industries means I’m continuously building upon my existing knowledge. I’ve also been fortunate enough to build strong working relationships with my colleagues and clients.

University was never really an option for me, I always believed I would learn more on the job surrounded by individuals who together have accumulated a vast array of experience. I also think that applying what I learn into real life scenarios elevates my ability and competence.

Give a bit of background on your qualifications and the training you have completed

I left school in March 2020 and due to the COVID pandemic I was given predicted grades for my A-Levels. I studied Business, Drama and Economics and got B-B-C respectively. I remember being disappointed with the grades I received because I felt as though I could have achieved better had I of had the chance to sit the exams. Fortunately, I was given the opportunity to join HW Fisher’s AAT Trainee programme which allowed to both work a full-time job and study.

The AAT is the perfect gateway into the accounting industry. It allows you to learn the fundamentals of the subject and apply the knowledge you build in a work environment. At level 3, you learn the basics of accountancy before then building on them in great detail at Level 4. At present, I’m in the process of moving from Levels 3 to 4, I found Level 3 really intriguing and felt as though I learnt a considerable amount. I’m optimistic that Level 4 will be equally as engaging and will help amplify my capability to act as an accountant.

HW Fisher are supportive during your studies and are also efficient when it comes to internal training. I have attended several training courses in-house, all of which have been informative and engaging. This includes the likes of Audit training and training on the various software HW Fisher uses.

Explain what your current role involves

I predominantly work within HW Fisher’s Corporate Finance department which means most of the work I complete is based upon mergers and acquisitions projects. I’ve had the pleasure of working with several businesses all of which are completely different to one another. My work primarily involves interpreting financial data and presenting it in a way that’s easily understood so my colleagues can write in detail about it in a due diligence report.

I’ve also completed some audit work during my time at HW Fisher and I’m sure this will only increase the further I develop. The audit work I have completed has granted me the opportunity to visit client sites and work directly with the client face to face which makes me feel very connected to the work I do.

Future Plans

I aspire to become a chartered accountant in the future which means I will need to pass my Level 7 ACA exams and then I will hope to advance into better recognised positions such as managerial and directorial roles. I believe I will have the leadership and team working skills to be able to act in this role effectively. First though I must focus on my Level 4 exams and ensure I give them my full effort and commitment so that I put myself in the best position to tackle Level 7 in the future.

Any Advice

Key organisational skills are vitally important as an AAT Trainee. You will be asked to do several miscellaneous jobs and it’s imperative that none of these are forgotten about.

Time management and being able to establish which work takes priority is as important. You won’t always be able to complete work the day you receive it so it’s important you understand how long tasks will take so you can put together a plan in which to complete them all. It’s also crucial that you liaise with managers to establish which work has the tightest deadlines and is therefore more urgent.

Finally, it’s beneficial to establish a hard-working mentality whilst you’re training because this will be tested the more you progress through the company.

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