Degree and university: BA History (2.1), University College London
Chartered body: CIPFA
Job title: Graduate trainee accountant currently working in the financial planning department at the London Borough of Islington. (The scheme is jointly run by the London Boroughs of Hackney & Islington and the Metropolitan Police Service)
When did you decide to pursue a career in accounting and why?
After graduating I went travelling and then started working for a charity in a role that was partly marketing and partly finance. I enjoyed the financial aspect, so accountancy was a logical progression. The number of career options available to accountants in the public sector, and gaining a professional qualification, also appealed to me.
What did the application process for your current job involve?
The first stage was to complete an application form, the next stage was to take online numerical and psychometric tests and the final stage was a panel interview.
What do you do on typical day?
Whether or not you have a "typical" day depends on your placement. In my current placement I don’t really have a typical day but at the moment my work involves writing narratives for the annual budget book, keeping records of the financial
Implications of decisions reported in the council, and reviewing Inflation cost pressures in children’s services.
How do you balance your workload with your studies?
The scheme provides us with day release to college, and line managers are normally sympathetic to holiday requests around the time of exams. It is hard work, especially the month or so before the exams. But it is manageable.
What is the most rewarding part about the job?
It is rewarding when you can apply something you have learnt on a previous placement to your current work. And the knowledge that the work – whether it be for the police or one of the local authorities – is benefiting the local community is satisfying.
What is the worst part?
Each placement lasts for only six months, and while this gives you breadth of experience, it can mean you do not see a piece of work through from start to finish.
What advice do you have for students considering a career in accountancy?
You have to be sure it is the career for you. Otherwise, the risk is that you won’t put in the time or effort required to pass the exams.