|Economics and Related Studies|
|CIPFA Graduate Trainee Accountant|
|Sheffield City Council|
|Government and civil service|
|Large business (250+ employees)|
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A day in the life of a CIPFA Graduate Trainee Accountant in the United Kingdom
I work as a graduate trainee and am currently studying as a Level 7 apprentice to become a CIPFA qualified accountant.
Briefly describe the organisation you work for
I work as part of the Finance and Commercial Services team in Sheffield City Council. The Council covers all aspects of life in the city and it’s great to see the impact your work has.
What do you do?
I work as a graduate trainee and am currently studying as a Level 7 apprentice to become a CIPFA qualified accountant. As part of my role I rotate each year to a different placement in Finance to give me experience across the department. This has included Finance Business Partner for children’s care services, Internal Audit and the accounts team in Strategic Finance.
Reflecting upon your past employment and education, what led you to your current career choice?
Following my graduation, I continued working in my summer job whilst looking for a more permanent position. I was keen to join a graduate programme so that I could continue learning, although I certainly didn’t anticipate that role being in accountancy at the time! I applied for a number of positions from Central Government to EU roles, mostly in economics related jobs. I came across my current role on a job site and immediately applied. It’s a very different role to what I had imagined for myself, but I’ve loved learning new skills.
Describe your most memorable day at work
One of the most memorable moments for me was the first audit meeting I held. I’d previously shadowed colleagues and assisted them in their work, but in audit I was left in charge of my own time. I conducted a meeting with a very senior member of staff, and although I was nervous at the time, it gave me so much more confidence in taking charge of my work.
Are there any challenges associated with your job?
It’s been a challenge working full time and managing my CIPFA studies. I sit 4 exams a year, and it’s especially difficult at year end when the workload in the office really picks up. It’s been really helpful to work with the other graduates in the team and share advice on studying and managing that all important work-life balance.
What’s your work environment and culture like?
The Council can be quite traditional in its ways, and there’s an ageing workforce which makes it quite different from a lot of graduate employers. The team are keen to bring in new graduates though to take on responsibility and bring new skills, and everyone is happy to help you out. One of the best things about working in Local Government is that they operate a flexi-time system so, dependent on your cover requirements, you can work your hours anytime between 7am-7pm.
What extracurricular activities did you undertake at university and what transferable skills did you develop through these?
I volunteered with a number of different charities during my time studying which developed my confidence in interacting with people and working as part of a team. My most enjoyable activity at York was attending a talk by the Deputy Governor of the Bank of England. I’d definitely recommend making the most of guest speakers.
What would you like to do next with your career?
At the moment I am looking to get a permanent position in the Finance team as an Assistant Manager, following the end of my programme. In the future though, I would love to incorporate my economics and finance knowledge and work in another area of the public sector.
What top tips do you have for York students preparing for today’s job market and life after graduation?
I’d say to keep an open mind about what job you would like to go into after graduation. I never saw myself in accountancy but I absolutely love it! All experience is good experience, and there’s plenty of time to move into that dream role.
What topics from students are you happy to answer questions on?
I’m happy to answer any questions about balancing further study with a full-time job, and life in the public sector.
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