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  • Areas of Specialism: Audit and Assurance

Location: Southampton
School: Hereford College
A levels:
Business Studies

My name is Alex Lowden and I recently joined BDO on the School Leaver programme.
It was only a few months ago that I began my career in accountancy after deciding not to go to university and now here I am, an audit trainee at one of the largest accountancy organisations in the world.
I must admit, being a ‘newbie’ in the accounting world has been quite a shock to the system! Learning about ‘debits and credits’ and ‘accruals and prepayments’ whilst working five days a week is definitely a challenge, but it has also given me a real sense of achievement.
Looking back on 2012 and thinking about all of the options available to me after leaving school, I really feel I made the right decision to pursue the Professional Services Higher Apprenticeship Assurance/Audit pathway. Not only has the scheme allowed me to kick start my career in business and gain invaluable practical experience, I have been given the opportunity to study for a reputable qualification.
The apprenticeship has allowed me to put what I learn in the classroom into practice every day!

Plans for the future

Looking forward, I have a number of objectives (some might call them New Year’s resolutions) that I would like to achieve in 2013. My main goal this year is to really press on with my exams and to develop a greater knowledge of the world of accountancy.
I took my first exam just over a month ago and remember it very clearly! Anyone new to the profession will probably agree that everything you learn within the first few weeks of training feels completely alien. Unless you have been used to working with balance sheets and profit and loss accounts before, you really will start to develop a completely new set of skills and knowledge.In a few months, I have learnt so much about accounting and finance.
I can safely say that working on the job has given me an amazing insight into the profession and fantastic practical experience that I would not have necessarily gained from studying at university. Fortunately, my next exam isn’t until June, which gives me plenty of time to study and prepare myself, whilst learning more on the job everyday too.

Getting qualified

I am currently studying towards the ICAEW CFAB qualification, which takes two years to complete. CFAB covers all six of the Certificate level modules of the ACA qualification, which means I only have nine modules left to tackle in a few years’ time to complete the ACA and become an ICAEW Chartered Accountant.
On top of that, I am doing a level 4 Diploma in Audit Practice, which isn’t an exam based qualification. Once my first two-year apprenticeship is complete, I intend to carry on and complete the ACA in three years. You may be thinking that seems like quite a lot of work, which in some ways it is, but I would definitely still recommend this route if it is a career in accountancy that you would like to follow.

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