At Saffery, I have worked with people from a multitude of different academic and career backgrounds. I previously worked as a doctor and made the difficult decision to leave the medical profession due to health reasons.
I was drawn to accountancy due to the opportunities that the ACA qualification would offer. As a doctor I enjoyed meeting different people, the need for logical thinking and continual development opportunities and this was mirrored in the accountancy profession. I wanted exposure to a variety of clients in different sectors during my training and it was evident that Saffery could offer this.
The ACA qualification involves 15 exams, gaining 450 days of practical work experience, professional development and training in ethics and professional scepticism.
At Saffery, you tend to sit the six certificate level exams and three to four professional level exams in your first year of training. You sit the remaining professional level exams and two advanced level exams in your second year, leaving one exam in your final year. After sitting my first two exams, it was apparent that my studies were essential to building my competence and understanding of tasks at work. I have found that having passed 11 exams now, my ability to tackle problems independently has improved.
What challenges have you come across?
Studying towards the qualification whilst working requires discipline as the exams are not something that you can cram for. It can take a hit on your social life particularly in the run up to exams, however the firm is very understanding and ensure that we prioritise our exam preparation. Despite continually growing, the firm maintains an open door policy and I have regular exposure to senior staff, including partners who support me through my qualification.
You get an even mix of technical training and softer skills training through audit and accounts work, both in the office and during fieldwork at the client site. I can ask technical questions with ease to fellow trainees or senior staff due to the supportive and approachable culture.
Working closely at client sites with senior trainees and seniors, gives you an opportunity to learn from their interactions with the client and within the team.
This has helped me to improve both my communication skills and leadership skills. We also attend a residential course with all UK trainees, which is tailored to relevant accountancy topics as well as developing soft skills and IT training.