Did anything surprise you when you started your training?
As a language graduate, I thought that becoming an audit junior and studying for the ACA exams would feel like a big change, but I hardly noticed the difference. There are so many transferable skills inherent to the work, which I wasn’t aware of.
Do you think a three or four-year training programme is best?
The audit ACA training contract at SRLV is four years, which gives you greater flexibility to study at your own pace. I recently took a six-month break from my exams, for example. Although it may sound like a good idea to be ACA qualified in three years, trainees often find that it isn’t practical. It can also feel intense when you’re studying for exams and working, so finding a firm which encourages staff to have a healthy work/life balance is important.
How did you find the graduate recruitment process?
At SRLV, I wasn’t made to sit numeracy and cognitive reasoning tests or expected to have technical knowledge already. At my interviews, they looked beyond whether I had a financial background and were interested in me as an individual. There were maths and accountancy students at my assessment day, but the tasks were more creative, so it felt like more of a level playing field.
Was there anything memorable about joining SRLV?
The partners meet everyone at our graduate assessment events. Many months later on my first day, a partner who I’d met came over to me. He remembered my name and that I was Welsh and immediately introduced me to another partner who was also from Wales.
All the partners and staff know the trainees here. It makes you feel safe and valued. You feel constantly supported; they ask how you are and do everything they can to ensure you get the right help when you need it.
What’s the career progression like?
Each year you study is like a stepping stone in terms of career progression. There’s usually an annual promotion as you gain knowledge, experience and pass your exams, along with generous pay rises to reflect your development. There’s a good career pathway here as a trainee and afterwards, when you’re qualified. You only have to look at the massive retention rates of our graduates to see this.
What work can you expect to do as a trainee?
My first job was drafting client engagement letters. Following that, I began helping with accounts preparation and testing key audit areas, such as expenditure, cash and bank, and wages. I worked on a number of clients which meant no audit was the same. I quickly gained experience across a variety of industries that were of personal interest, which kept me constantly engaged and motivated.
The company trust and respect your ability. Trainees often progress quickly and once qualified enough, within two years can carry out a full engagement under the close supervision of managers and partners, which isn’t something every audit firm offers. They also consider your interests, so if you prefer auditing within specific industries, they do their best to facilitate this.
What do you like most about your work?
I really like the company culture at SRLV. They pay attention to people’s personalities and interests. It’s sociable and everyone is encouraged to get involved. They’re also interested in helping you shape your career path. I’d like to go into a more creative role within financial services eventually and there are so many opportunities here to do this.