Degree: Accounting and Finance, 2.1, Kingston University
Year of graduation: 2005
Occupation: Accountancy assistant at London Borough of Waltham Forest
What do you do in your job?
I work in a team of five, including two managers. We cover a mixture of things, including raising invoices, processing invoices, dealing with grant claims and liaising with auditors. In addition, we monitor budgets across several buildings run by the council. We produce reports for the managers so they can ensure there is no overspend on these buildings’ running costs. Sometimes the council runs events such as crime prevention weeks, and our team deals with the finance for these. I don’t have set hours because we have a flexitime scheme. I just have to make sure I work a 36-hour week.
What was your motivation in applying?
When I read the job description, and realised it involved working on a variety of assignments, I knew I’d get a chance to use my degree and learn a lot more. I particularly liked the fact that the job involved not only accounting procedures, but organisational development as a whole – helping to run the business. I had never really thought about a career in accounting when I was younger. But I did it as an extra A-level subject, and found I really enjoyed it.
What did the application process involve?
An online application and an interview with my manager, the unit manager and HR. Next, I was put through tests on areas such as budget monitoring and general maths. I was then shortlisted and picked.
What do you enjoy about your job?
Working with so many different people and on so many different projects – especially ones that ultimately achieve outcomes such as a reduction in crime and domestic violence.
Most challenging part of your job?
Trying to ensure that all the procedures are followed by both finance and non-finance staff. The latter don’t always understand certain requirements that we have – for example, that we need certain paperwork and signatures. This can be frustrating.
Any qualifications involved?
I’m doing the ACCA qualification and am about to take my last exam for level 2. There are three levels altogether. I should qualify in the next few years. My department pays for all my studying, including travel costs, and I get leave for exams and general study. I’m in college one day a week. It can be difficult finding the time to study, but I live close to work, so I try to find an hour every day after work to read over my books.
Advice to readers considering a career in your field:
Believe in yourself. I had a lot of knockbacks when I was seeking jobs. A lot of organisations said I wasn’t good enough. But if you believe in yourself, you will eventually find the right job for you.