Name: Arnab Datta
Job Role: Graduate Trainee Chartered Accountant (ACA)
University: London School of Economics (LSE)
Degree: BSc (Hons) Economics and Economic History
Why did you choose chartered accountancy?
I first became interested in chartered accountancy after gaining work experience in a local firm.
I was given the chance to perform calculations, use accountancy software, as well as see how the
firm functioned on a daily basis. This variety of work showed me that chartered accountants can
be involved in many interesting areas.
I also completed a summer internship at KPMG in London after my 2nd year at LSE, which
gave me a real taste of the ACA training life. I had the opportunity to go to clients’ sites and see
how an audit is carried out first hand, learning from both juniors and managers. Finally I had some
time shadowing a Partner, which enabled me to see how decisions are made at a higher level.
After a final interview and presentation, I was offered an ACA Graduate Trainee position with
KPMG, before I started my final year at university.
Why did you choose the ACA?
Studying the ACA (the qualification from the ICAEW) provides a solid base for a future career
in business. Also, it keeps my options open, by preparing me for work, not only in accountancy
firms, but also in industry and other organisations. Furthermore, it is an internationally
recognised qualification. This is an added bonus, since I would like to work overseas in the
What do you like most about your role?
The things I like most are the unpredictability and flexibility. No two days are the same.
Working in audit is interesting since I have the chance to work with clients in different
industries. Also, while training, I have had the chance to work in different departments within
KPMG such as Forensic, Tax and Economics (as an assistant to the Chief Economist). These
experiences have given me a broader range of skills.
What has been your most interesting experience since your training contract began?
My most interesting experience was my induction course, which was held in Athens. This was
a global event and delegates were selected to attend from the company’s offices in different
European countries, as well as the USA and Canada. This was an enjoyable event, since I met
accountancy trainees from different backgrounds and I still keep in touch with them. Also, there
were some prominent speakers who gave interesting speeches, and useful training exercises.
Do you have advice for anyone considering a career in chartered accountancy?
Keep an open mind. Most people have a stereotypical view of accountants but in today’s rapidly
changing world, chartered accountants are more like business advisers, valued for both their
commercial and rigorous technical knowledge.