• Name: Arabella Woodruff
  • Job Title: Senior Accountant
  • Location: Norwich
  • Areas of Specialism: Audit and Assurance, Tax

Why did you decide to pursue a career in this profession?

University didn’t appeal to me, so I looked into various apprenticeships. I’ve always enjoyed maths and business at both GCSE and A-level and hence came across accountancy (although an interest in either subject isn’t a necessity to get into this career). In 2014 I completed a weeks work experience at Larking Gowen and thoroughly enjoyed my time here. I was exposed to the different aspects of preparing accounts and developed my understanding of what an accountant actually does. Getting involved in accounts preparation and seeing how important finance is for a company cemented in my mind that I wanted to pursue a career in this sector. Additionally, the progression that was available in this profession appealed to me as there was the opportunity for me to keep developing even after studying.

Background on qualification

In the seven and a half years I’ve been at Larking Gowen I have completed qualifications from the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) and the Association of Chartered Accountants (ACA). The AAT Professional Diploma in Accounting covers drafting financial statements, managing budgets and evaluating financial performance, as well as optional specialist units including business tax, personal tax, external auditing, credit management, and cash and treasury management. This took me roughly two years to complete and enabled me to study to be a Chartered Accountant without a degree. The ACA qualification includes 15 exams covering a broad range of topics including, financial management, law, tax and business strategy. However, I did have four exemptions from having completed the AAT qualification first. The ACA qualification provided me with a combination of finance knowledge, accountancy skills and practical work experience.

Current role

I am currently an Assistant Manager within the Farms and Rural Business team at Larking Gowen. I work with the partners and management team to actively contribute to the growth and development of the team. I have responsibility for various aspects of my own portfolio of clients, including the preparation of accounts, business tax returns and personal tax returns ensuring they’re in line with regulatory and internal requirements. I also oversee and review the preparation of accounts by others in my team, providing training where required. I deal with day-to-day queries from my clients and more recently I’ve been involved in advisory work including Inheritance Tax planning and profit forecasting. Furthermore, I’m actively involved in business development activities, raising awareness of Larking Gowen’s services and maintaining good working relationships with clients.

Future plans

My future plan is to continue to progress, I’m currently working towards a manager role within my team. Larking Gowen have brilliant career progression and my plan is to go as far as possible!


I think my advice would be to avoid the stereotypes of accountants, the work is much more interesting than people think. If you can’t decide if accountancy is for you, I’d recommend getting in contact with anyone working in the industry and asking as many questions as possible, or even getting some work experience.

Finally, I’d make sure you find a firm that’s going to support you. Studying is challenging (but very rewarding) as it’s a professional qualification, and having the support of your colleagues and management team makes such a positive difference.

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