Name: James Cooper, 23
Degree: Digital business and e–commerce (1st) Nottingham University
Chartered Body: Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS)
Employer: Ernst & Young
If you like meeting and working with different people, and enjoy investigating, there’s a good chance you’ll like accounting, believes James Cooper, 23, a trainee accountant at Ernst & Young. "The most pleasing thing about my job is exposure to clients," he says. "Right from the word "Go", I was chucked in at the deep end meeting clients on a daily basis, where it’s my role to gather information from them to help prepare for an audit."
It requires confidence, says James. "You need to be able to introduce yourself and get people to talk you through the most relevant things to help you do your job. After all, a big part of my role is to understand how the client’s business works."
Equally satisfying, he says, is the opportunity to work in a variety of teams. "Each client is assigned a different team, which is refreshing. It means you need to be friendly and easy going, as well as ready for a challenge because they’ll always be some people who you don’t work quite so easily with as others."
James did his degree in digital business and e–commerce at Nottingham University. Between his second and third years, he decided to apply for an internship at Ernst & Young. "We were exposed to the big accountancy firms in our course, so I didn’t really think about banks and other businesses."
He was immediately surprised by the level of responsibility he was given in such a short space of time. "So I was pleased when they offered me a job upon graduation."
Having graduated in 2004, James joined Ernst & Young that summer. "As soon as I started, I studied the Chartered Accountants qualification, which is offered by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland," he recalls. "Then, after a set of exams, I was placed in the workplace with some regular training in between. Another eight months later, I was back to college for a solid three months, ending with another set of exams and it was after that when I really felt I was starting to make a difference to the company. I’d learned the technical knowledge and was able to really apply it in my everyday work.’