Meet Two Staff Members who are Association of Chartered Certified Accountants Apprentices
At the start of this month, we wrote a post giving an overview about what you need to know if you’re considering hiring an apprentice, including information on contracts, funding and various qualification levels. It got us thinking, why not let the people who have experience of this route take the reigns and give our readers even more of an insight? So we have! Two of the current apprentices at Adams Moore – Elizabeth Hudson and Jason Morning – tell us about their journeys so far and their career aspirations.
“I went to Landau-Forte Sixth Form College in Tamworth and studied History, Biology, Business Studies and Psychology, and during this time my mom changed careers and was training to gain a qualification via the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT). As I have always been good at maths, she suggested that I consider going into the accountancy profession and as there were a lot of career events on at Sixth Form, I had the opportunity to talk to accountancy professionals to gain a better understanding of the industry. I found the work to be very interesting and I chose to study a BA (Hons) in Accountancy and Finance at The University of Lincoln.
“When I finished my degree I worked full-time at a local fast food establishment while also writing to all the reputable accountancy firms in the area, as I couldn’t wait to put my new knowledge to use. Adams Moore responded asking me to come in for an interview, as they were looking for someone for a maternity cover contract, but after my probationary period I was made a permanent member of staff. Martin, one of the Partners, asked if I wanted to undertake an apprenticeship so I could become a fully qualified chartered accountant via the professional body the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA). It was an opportunity I couldn’t turn down because I loved working at Adams Moore, paying for the ACCA qualification myself would have been difficult at the time and having both office and classroom time seemed a sensible and balanced way of learning. I’ve been an apprentice for 11 months now and I really like the well-rounded approach; I gain experience in the workplace but also learn, and build on, fundamentals through exam study. It’s given me a lot of confidence – I know the theories and know I can also put them into practice.
“As I completed a relevant university degree – and it’s similar if you have the AAT qualification like my mom has – I benefit from some exams exemptions. The apprenticeship offers a wide range of exams which cover all areas of accounting, but with my past studies it’s great that I have fewer exams to take. I have already taken and passed the Audit and Assurance exam and I am currently undertaking the Professional Taxation Module. My exam for this is coming up in March and as I am interested in all things tax and hope to focus on this area my career progresses, it’s an important one! Everyone (and all other areas of accounting) is affected by taxes and I find it rewarding to help clients in a very direct way – people turning to an expert in taxation can really save themselves money.
“My aspiration is to become a qualified accountant within the next few years, and I’m sure I’ll still be enjoying my work at Adams Moore. There is a really friendly atmosphere within the workplace so while we work hard, we enjoy ourselves. When there is a challenge, we come together to help each other – I couldn’t ask for a more supportive team as I gain more knowledge to reach my goal.”
“Having studied history and politics at the University of Leicester, accountancy wasn’t perhaps a career I was expected to follow, but I’ve always been a problem solver and a natural with numbers. I started being interested in accountancy around five years ago as a career option because of how it fits with my skillset. I considered various options, including an accountancy degree, but an apprenticeship really appealed to me. During my studies at school, college and university I realised that I learn best by taking a piece of information and practically applying it, so I decided achieving an ACCA qualification via an apprenticeship would be the best route for me.
“I was in contact with a number of recruitment agencies and I secured an interview at Adams Moore through one of them. I had an interview with Martin and Neil and immediately I had a good feeling about the role. Plus, the company was very open about the benefits of an apprenticeship to the company as well as myself, and it was good to know they had supported apprentices in the past. From an employer’s point of view, the company benefits from having a new loyal member of staff who is ready to learn the industry and it can shape that person around the business’ principles and processes from the start. Companies can also pay in to the Apprenticeship Levy (via the PAYE system), and they receive an allowance of £15,000 per annum to offset against the levy payment. This must be spent on apprenticeship training via certified providers within the first 24 months and the government pays a 10% top-up towards this fund. Smaller employers that don’t pay the Apprenticeship Levy must pay 5% towards the cost of training – although there are exceptions where even this isn’t required – and the government can offer support by financing the remaining amount.
“Apart from the financial benefit – I’m personally not paying to obtain a qualification and I also receive a wage – my apprenticeship is giving me the practical experience to support what I’m learning as part of my course. It means I understand the content in more depth so I feel I’m becoming a more rounded accountant. My new knowledge becomes meaningful as the application of it is helping real clients.
“The module I’m studying at the minute covers the UK legal framework in relation to accounting and business activities, and my next exam is in March 2020. I’ve found that my preferred task as an accountant is preparing annual accounts for limited companies and sole traders. I enjoy having direct contact with clients, feeding back to them about how I have assessed their year and how I recommend they should strategically move forwards from their current position to reach their business goals. This is one of the great things about Adams Moore, I have always been given appropriate responsibilities and never been treated like a junior who is ‘only learning’ a craft. The team is close knit and supportive and while there are always new challenges in accountancy, I’ve never felt out of my depth. With the encouragement from Martin and the team I know I’ll become an excellent chartered accountant who can give clients the support and knowledge they need to succeed.”
If you’d like to speak to us about how an apprentice could bring new life to your business in 2020 and how this route to having new employees can be financially beneficial, call us on 01827 54944.