Trainee Accountant Jessica graduated from university in 2015 and started a career in accountancy with another firm, moving to bennettbrooks in 2020. Michael joined us in September 2018 after completing a finance and accountancy degree at Manchester Metropolitan University, he completed his professional exams December 2021 and is now a qualified accountant in our Audit team. Kitty qualified with us December 2020 and has progress to the role of Assistant Manager taking a lead role on large audits and providing key support and guidance for the trainees on her assignments.
Each are at different stages in their career and provide their insights and tips to guide you on what you might expect.
Straight out of university, and studying whilst working
Michael: ‘During my time as a trainee, I found that studying whilst working full time was a significant challenge and a big step up from my university days. However, I always felt supported throughout my training, from my tutors at college and, importantly, my colleagues at work. My advice for new trainees would be to ensure that you are fully prepared to balance working life with studying and always ask lots of questions both in work and at college. Also, not to rush into the next exams but to take your time if you need it.’
Jessica: ‘I completed a large section of my studies with a different accountancy firm and can honestly say bennettbrooks provide one of the best study packages for students. There is full study leave for all the courses required to pass your qualification and they allow you exam leave when sitting your exams. With my previous employer I had to fit all my study in my personal time sitting online courses every Tuesday and Thursday evening from 5pm – 8pm. With this method I found it impossible to take in all the information after working a full day and then needing to sit in front of a computer at home again for 3 hours of study. As a result, I needed to take holidays to sit and revise for exams which left me little holiday time to enjoy a break and relax outside of studying. bennettbrooks have been the total opposite and it has meant studying has become more enjoyable. The qualified person responsible for training (QPRT) at bennettbrooks, Marie Day, has gone above and beyond to support me and has made me push myself, for example she encouraged me to complete two exams together which is something I didn’t want to do due to the lack of support in my previous job. However, Marie made me feel confident I could do it, and because of this I finished these exams 6 months earlier. Marie is always happy to help and has been one of the main reasons why I have been successful so far.’
‘My tips for any university graduate considering accountancy would be to research the study program before you go commit to this career path as it is intense, but rewarding too. Assess the study package and support offered by your employer, as these packages vary, so ask all questions about the support offered at your interview. Remember, you need to be committed to intense periods of work and study in order to progress through your qualifications. Also, always ask your team if you are stuck on anything as I found them extremely helpful.’
Progression to a fully qualified Accountant whilst working at bennettbrooks
Jessica: ‘Passing exams has given me more confidence that I understand what I am doing at work. As a result of progressing with my exams I have been given more responsibility and recently allocated a set of my own clients to look after (under a manager), which has further boosted my confidence. What is great is that at each step along the way you can look back at the study knowledge and work experience you gain and realise the progress you have made.’
‘My tip here would be, speak to your manager or directors in your team. I have been made to feel supported within my studies as they always ask how I am getting on and highlighting areas I may need additional help in. Even though it’s a small thing my managers always message when exam results are out because they genuinely care how you have done. I unfortunately failed one exam while studying with bennettbrooks but at no point was I made to feel like I had let my manager down, she was so supportive and gave me the confidence that I would pass next time.’
Michael: ‘I initially started with the bennettbrooks Mold office, I then moved on to our Chester office and have most recently switched to the audit team based at our Northwich head office. At bennettbrooks I have always felt that there are many opportunities to progress and try new things and in the different specialisms in the profession. It is the size of the firm that means those opportunities exist but then maybe at very large firms you might not see such a diversity of tasks in roles.’
Progression to Management level leading a team
Jessica: ‘My aim at bennettbrooks is to become an account manager which would mean I will then be looking after my own clients. My gradual increase in the number of clients I deal with has given me more experience and allowed me to realise that I will be able to get there.’
Kitty: ‘Within 2 and a half years of joining bennettbrooks I was a fully qualified Chartered Accountant and I have since progressed to an assistant manager in the audit department. When I joined the firm, I immediately felt welcomed throughout the entire office. I am grateful to be a part of an amazing team, doing something I enjoy and progressing my career professionally and personally. With bennettbrooks I have always felt that there was room for me to progress and grow within the company and I have felt supported throughout my studying and development in my career so far. My work and ideas are always appreciated, and I feel like I am a valuable asset to the company.’
We hope this article has helped give an insight into becoming a Chartered Accountant. Our trainees talk about the rewards that come from learning on the job, whilst also studying for professional exams and being able to look back and see the progression they have made. bennettbrooks is a certified ICAEW training employer which means we adhere to the programs and processes set out by ICAEW, we are also a platinum ACCA approved employer. So, if you are interested in finding out more or becoming a Trainee Accountant at bennettbrooks, please email email@example.com or visit our careers page here.