|First Call Financials (SW) Limited|
|Finance and consultancy|
|Small business (0-49 employees)|
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A day in the life of a Chartered Accountant in the United Kingdom
Time management is always difficult when you own your own business and have responsibility for staff wellbeing and client retention.
Briefly describe the organisation you work for
A small firm of finance professionals providing accounting and payroll services to small and medium size local businesses
What do you do?
I am co-director and lead accountant so I my day to day role encompasses everything from meeting clients, preparing statutory accounts, outsourced finance director work to clients, marketing our firm, helping the payroll team, regulatory compliance and training staff.
Reflecting upon your past employment and education, what led you to your current career choice?
During my final year at York I applied to the ACA graduate training scheme at Touche Ross & Co (later Deloittes) in London as I loved data analysis. I used the York careers service to help with my application and applied to 3 London firms, had 2 offers and accepted Touche based on the experience I had during the selection process. I wanted to work somewhere that were supportive and valued staff as individuals as well as part of a team and it seemed like a fun place to work.
Is your current job sector different from what you thought you would enter when you graduated?
Describe your most memorable day at work
I am a naturally outgoing person but I have never enjoyed public speaking or delivering difficult news, but you accept its part of your job as you progress.
A few years into my career I delivered the news, alongside the CEO, to a group of staff that they were losing their jobs immediately, due to a subsidiary being put into administration. I had 10 minutes to prepare for it whilst driving back from a 2 hour meeting with the bank that had just withdrawn their ongoing financial support, and was shaking with nerves.
After standing up and delivering the news, a long serving member of staff came up to me and said how sorry they felt for myself and the CEO, as they knew we had tried our hardest to save the business for many months.
Whilst the outcome was never what a business wants, it made me realise that I always tried to do my job to the best of my ability and be part of a team that cared about the people they work with.
Are there any challenges associated with your job?
Time management is always difficult when you own your own business and have responsibility for staff wellbeing and client retention. I have to try and be really disciplined about taking lunch and leaving on time at least 50% of the time.
Having challenging conversations with staff and clients has got easier with experience, but there are times when you can feel overwhelmed. A good team around you is the best asset you can have.
What’s your work environment and culture like?
We are a team and all staff should feel equally valued. We encourage work/life balance as everyone has family responsibilities, and we also take staff out for regular social events. We are usually office or client based, but have provided home working solutions during exceptional times.
What extracurricular activities did you undertake at university and what transferable skills did you develop through these?
York University Student Amateur Drama Soc- backstage makeup and props- team work, timekeeping, people skills
Part time waitressing at Bettys Tea Rooms - people skills, time management
What would you like to do next with your career?
I hope to start training accounting apprentices through our firm to help younger people start a career in accounting
What top tips do you have for York students preparing for today’s job market and life after graduation?
Rejection is hard but try not to take it personally.
If you get to interview do research the company thoroughly. If you don’t know anything about the company, you will not get the job as it says to the interviewer you don’t want it.
When you start a new job, talk to everyone , get to know people and find out what they do and why they like or dislike parts of their job.
Everyone has tedious bits in their job and as your career advances if you’ve walked the walk, you can talk the talk. I once photocopied documents for 7 hours in my first year of training.
What topics from students are you happy to answer questions on?
Applying for jobs
Accountancy as a career
Small business advice
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