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

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

University did not appeal to me so I looked into various apprenticeships. I have always enjoyed maths and business at both GCSE and A-level and hence came across accountancy (although an interest in either subject is required to get into this career). In 2014 I came to Larking Gowen for work experience, 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 five 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.

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 a Senior Accountant within the Farms and Landed Estates 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 are 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 also deal with day-to-day queries from my clients.

Furthermore, I am 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 am currently working towards an Assistant Manager role within my team and increasing the size of my portfolio.

The sky really is the limit in my eyes and my plan is to go as far as possible!

Advice:

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

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