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Beyond the balance sheet

Realise your rewarding career as a trainee accountant

Christina Nawrocki 21/4/2015 3 minute read

Christina Nawrocki explains what life as a trainee accountant entails at Wellers.

Our latest phase of recruitment for trainee accountants got me thinking that a blog post detailing what the role of a trainee encompasses would be useful for those considering this career option. That way before you apply you would have a very clear picture of what to expect.

A critical decision when considering which accountancy firm to work at, is whether to push for the prestige of working for a significant name in the form of the ‘Big 4’ or, do you look to a smaller entity that will provide you with more responsibility, more client facing opportunities and a broader experience? Ultimately the answer to this question depends on you as an individual and what you want from your work. 

At Wellers we fall into the second camp and so this post details what a training contract at our firm entails as well as what you can expect as you develop into a business advisor. If you reach the end and realise that’s you then be sure to get in touch about potentially working here.

The early days of a training contract

A training contract here runs for 3 years and usually encompasses 15 exams. Employment with Wellers ensures early responsibilities for those who want to get ahead. Right from the off you’ll be provided with plenty of hands on experience with clients and you will develop a broad range of experience and contacts in many different industries.

You will liaise with several senior colleagues on different jobs to help you build your confidence and develop essential management skills. This is because we always have an eye on planning for the future and as part of that we look to identify the next leaders and partners early on. Remember this business is as much about people, dealing with people and developing strong relationships, as it is about qualifications and skills.  

The expectation

Trainee accountants are required to work in a variety of disciplines to develop their career. These include:

  • The collation of management accounts – interpreting financial information
  • The preparation and completion of year end accounts
  • Preparing bank analyses and other basic reconciliations to the accounts
  • Involvement in client audits – analysing systems and risk
  • Preparing VAT returns and calculating VAT positions
  • Completing tax returns and explain tax liabilities to clients
  • Assessing and planning individuals/organisations tax positions
  • Preparing cashflow forecasts and considering profit extraction plans
  • Liasing with clients on a day to day basis
  • Working within set timelines and budgets with an awareness of hourly rates

Studying

The programme encompasses studying at leading business schools to help you grasp the technical concepts intrinsic to accounting and professional advice. You then have to conduct a minimum of 450 days practical experience (over the 3 years) which allows you to put the theory into practice and gain further practical skills.

We ensure the two take place side by side so that you develop a keen sense of business pragmatism when advising clients. You won’t be pushed through the exams in quick fashion, instead we prefer to encourage you to question things, apply your growing knowledge and think things through from both a technical and business perspective. 

Starting out as a trainee accountant

A broad brush

Not having to specialise in one area of accountancy at an early stage, will provide you with extensive knowledge of organisations in different sectors. In a larger firm you would be expected to excel within a narrowly defined function. You would then rise through the ranks based on titles within a narrow remit or rungs of the same ladder.

Our approach however, ensures you rotate through several different areas and gain experience with different clients of varying sizes, industries and functions. One career option is narrow but deep, the other is broad and diverse. The choice is stark, you can either be a small part of a very large team or, you can be a significant player in a smaller organisation.

We’re not saying one is better than the other because ultimately it is what works best for you in terms of what you want. However, this at least provides you with a clear indicator of the significant differences between working at a firm of our size as opposed to going into a more corporate environment. 

If the above fits the bill then please do apply for one of our trainee accountant vacancies by clicking on the link below and filling in the brief form. We look forward to hearing from you.

Apply for Wellers apprenticeship programme

The content of this post is up to date and relevant as at 20/04/2015.

Please be aware that information provided by this blog is subject to regular legal and regulatory change. We recommend that you do not take any information held within our website or guides (eBooks) as a definitive guide to the law on the relevant matter being discussed. We suggest your course of action should be to seek legal or professional advice where necessary rather than relying on the content supplied by the author(s) of this blog.

 

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