Why did you choose a career in accounting?
Post university I felt like I wanted a professional qualification: I always knew it would be within the finance profession. When I looked into the ACA I felt it was the best fit for me. It enabled me to have practical work experience within audit as well as studying for a qualification.
What made you choose UHY Hacker Young?
UHY stood out to me as it is a great size firm, large enough to be exposed to a wide range of clients but small enough to really gain exposure to different sectors and gain responsibility quickly. You don’t feel like an anonymous member within the firm; during the interview process everyone seemed to really enjoy working in the company.
The exam structure also appealed to me as the exams are divided up into a more manageable structure. There is a great technical and training department that really supports you through the ACA – they are always there for a chat or a moan!
During the interview process UHY really tried to convey what sort of company they were. I was able to talk to current employees at different stages of the ACA which gave me the ability to see how I would fit within the company and just what was expected of a graduate trainee.
Do you tend to work late into the evenings or a lot of weekends?
It isn’t the norm to work late or weekends, usually we will work to the client’s working hours. However there is a chance you may be required to do some overtime or the occasional weekend.
UHY value the effort that you are making by working late so they give you your hours worked back.
What makes a good auditor/accountant?
A good auditor needs to be:
- Organised – there will be times when you are required to work on several clients.
- Able to manage your time effectively – the ability to work to a deadline and to a budget is paramount.
- Have good communication skills you are mainly working and liaising with clients, so the ability to explain a potentially complex topic clearly and concisely is needed.
- Able to work in a team – it is not very often you are working on a solo audit; all sections tie into each other so teamwork is paramount.
What is the atmosphere like at UHY Hacker Young?
UHY has a great friendly and relaxed atmosphere.
Everyone is very open and willing to help as they have been in your position not too long ago. Every member of the team appreciates how much work/effort you put into each audit.
We are a very tight knit company with lots of social activities. We also seem to eat a vast amount of birthday cake!
What do you like most about your role?
I enjoy the variety of the jobs: one day you could be working on a charity, the other on a solicitor’s review. You are exposed to a lot of clients, which aids you in understanding various industries as well as different accounting treatments. This is beneficial during your exams.
What is the most challenging thing about your job?
Time management is the most challenging aspect of the job, as you are both working and studying. After a full day’s work to go home and revise can be difficult, and during the lead up to exams most weekends will be fully used up for revising. But the feeling of passing another batch of exams soon makes you forget!
What do you hope to do when you have finished your qualification?
Once I qualify, I would like to gain further experience and exposure to audits as a qualified senior. After, I hope to move into industry. I have a particular interest in retail, property and sports. The ACA is a great stepping stone in all industries and is also internationally recognised, so I would love to use it abroad.
Is it difficult to balance your exams and work commitments?
This is without a doubt the most difficult aspect; your friends might not understand you turning down yet another weekend to revise! But the team at UHY are the first to tell you ‘it will be worth it in the end’ and buy you a drink when you pass! It is a very achievable qualification but it does require dedication and commitment.
What level of responsibility do you receive as a trainee?
The beauty of doing the ACA qualification is that you gain responsibility very quickly: during your first year you are expected to talk to the client, in your second year you are expected to help manage the new graduates as well as liaise with clients and in your third year you are managing the two years below you and reporting directly to the client and the audit manager.
You are requirement to take responsibility at a very early stage and this only grows as you continue through as a graduate trainee to a qualified trainee.
However you are never alone; managers and other members of UHY support you, for example, the technical and training department regularly run training to ensure you understand what is expected of you as an employee and can merge the knowledge you have gained from exams with what is expected in practice.
Describe a typical day in the audit department:
This is a difficult question because there is no set day within the audit department – you could be working in the office or at a client’s; you could be working alone or in a team. The advantage of audit is no two days are the same. You will face new challenges every day and will be exposed to new areas/industries almost on a weekly basis. This enables you to really gain exposure to a wide variety of clients within several industries.
What are you particularly proud of since starting your career with UHY Hacker Young?
Due to the intensity of the ACA courses and the amount of material you need to cover, there is a great satisfaction in passing each exam. It’s also very satisfying when you get feedback from a client about how they enjoyed working with you during the audit.