I have worked at Shipleys for almost 3 years and my role is now that of a Senior. As well as accounts preparations for limited companies and partnerships, work involves on-site audits for the film and TV industry, to funds and pensions, to charities and schools, along with PLCs for clients in London and the width and breadth of the UK. That said, I am off in the next week, to Potsdam, the capital and largest city of the German Federal State of Brandenburg. Whilst I’ll be very busy, a chance to utilise my rusty German A Level knowledge and of course, a trip to the famous German Christmas markets has to be taken! That’s the thing with Shipleys, opportunities to experience new places, meet new people and work on different projects are aplenty.
The experiences I’ve gained in working at this medium firm are numerous. Recently I was asked to participate with Peter Ellis, Shipleys’ Training Manager, in the SWAT Graduate Fair, a day dedicated to promoting the benefits of combining studying for the ACA qualification with the advantages of working at Shipleys to potential students and graduates. It was easy to endorse the benefits of working at Shipleys from my own experience; support to study, in-house mentoring and the camaraderie from attending the regular socials that have so far included a sports day, treasure hunt, karaoke, quiz night and casino night! What more could a trainee wish for!
I am now heading in to my third month with Shipley’s as a VAT trainee in the London office. The VAT team in London were very understanding of my limited accounting experience, and were more than happy to answer the countless questions I had – and still have!
As the submission of VAT returns is a monthly aspect within this department, I have hit the ground running and assisted in the submission of a number of these. Similarly, I have also been tasked on a number of occasions with the drafting of VAT returns. Whilst sitting in front of a bulk of information seemed daunting at first, my supervisors were on hand to help with any queries I had.
The social scene in the London office has also made me feel very welcome, with a number of my colleagues joining me at the pub for welcome drinks on my first day. As a tea lover, the offers for a cup of tea at all hours of the day make for a very welcoming and friendly environment. My first few months at Shipley’s have been great, the hands on experience has helped me gain a true understanding of the workings of the VAT department and the friendly atmosphere is really nice to work in.
With about 2 weeks left of work in Australia, my time here has passed just as quickly as I thought it would. The tight filing deadlines in Australia means that everyone in the office is working hard through October to get jobs completed. Working in Oz here has been a fantastic opportunity to gain insight to a different office culture and get to grips with different reporting requirements.
But it’s not all work! Australia offers the perfect opportunity for lots of fun and adventures. Living on Bondi Beach I had to give surfing a try (although I don’t think I’ll give up my day job just yet). It also means we can go for a dip in the sea after a long day in the office.
I have spent my weekends trekking and rock climbing in the Blue Mountains, sea kayaking, paddleboarding, doing coastal walks, running a 14km ‘fun run’ and sailing Sydney Harbour in an America’s Cup yacht. When in need of a rest from all the sporting activities, I have been to watch a Wallabies vs All Blacks Rugby Union game, seen a Women’s Adventure Film Festival, stared through Australia’s oldest working telescope (1874) at the Sydney Observatory, been to a chocolate festival and watched Harry Potter at the Sydney Opera House accompanied by a live symphony orchestra!
And yet there are still more adventures to come. By the time I make it back to the office in December I hope to have completed my PADI diving course, been canyoning, jet-skiing and (to top it all off,) skydiving. November is set to be an adrenaline filled month! Let’s hope I make it back in one piece, ready for the office Christmas party!
Apart from work, taking on the Australian lifestyle has been much easier due to the apartment I call home being on one of the most famous beaches in the world, Bondi. Six weeks in I have added to my workout wardrobe to fully immerse myself in this active community with sunrise runs, yoga/barre sessions in the evenings and surfing on the weekend. All of the activities are appropriately followed by a mean green machine smoothie from one of the many healthy hangouts in Bondi. Even though it is winter, the sun is shining with bright blue skies every single day. Quite a change from the constant grey canvas of London.
Every down time moment I have been given I have hit the road to tick off as many items on my Australian bucket list as possible. One weekend I travelled to Port Stephens to go hump back whale watching as they have come into the bays to have their calves. When I saw the first puff it was a little disappointing, but then came the tail slaps and a finale of the whole whale’s body leaping out the ocean. Breathe taking, a moment never to be forgotten.
The following weekend, I caught the train to the Blue Mountains. For six hours a day, I hiked up and down these beautiful mountains with loads of cockatoos swooping over the canopy. The name of the mountains comes from the eucalyptus trees releasing oils into the air, which when sunlight hits gives a blue tint. It must be one of the most beautiful views I ever laid my eyes on.
I recently celebrated one of my greatest achievements down in Sydney harbour. Through hard work, lack of social life and pure determination, I passed my finals and I can now officially say I am chartered accountant. I was flooded with sweetest messages from friends, family and of course the Shipleys gang, who have patiently listened to my moaning over the last three years!
I must once again thank Shipleys for this opportunity, without them, these memories would not exist. I look forward to telling you more about my adventures in my next post.
10 days after my finals, I was flown out to Sydney to join Hall Chadwick firm (HC) who we have great ties with via the AGN network. Everyone was very welcoming and helpful as I settled into my new role. I had to quickly scrub up my speech skills as they requested an introduction of myself to the whole firm in the monthly announcements meeting. The previous secondees from Shipleys had set the bar high by singing the British national anthem, a lot was to be expected. I just about survived the spotlight!
The work has been exciting but challenging due to the different type of clientele here at HC. In the first 4 weeks I joined a team working on a public listed company audits. The first client was in the financial services industry and the second client was an investment company focussing on the agricultural industry. The quantity of work was much larger then I had ever tackled, but by applying all techniques used in practice at Shipleys and my knowledge from college, I managed to keep up the pace. The strict filing line for listed companies crept up quickly but as a team we managed to get everything done in time. The celebration drinks down in the Rocks for that Friday was definitely well deserved.
I am thrilled with my work planner coming as I am outward bound to Brisbane then onto Melbourne for my next jobs, still at heart a tourist when off the clock. These will be large limited companies, working on site with smaller teams. One of my favourite parts of auditing is meeting a client onsite and appreciating all the passion and effort they drill into their own business year on year. It shall also be a great opportunity to bond with my new colleagues on a more personal level as we wine and dine in the cities each night.