It’s strange to think I have been working here for almost two years now. It feels like yesterday that I was getting to know everyone and getting settled in. What a two years it has been! I have passed my first set of tax exams and am on the way to becoming a qualified tax adviser and a member of the Association of Taxation Technicians. As part of that journey, I have been given my own portfolio of clients whom I am responsible for on a day-to-day basis. Although I was nervous at first to be given such a large responsibility so early on in my career here, the support of my manager, the partners and the team around me has been amazing. Any questions I have had (there’s been plenty believe me) have been met with a real open mindedness and everyone is willing to help out and help me develop my knowledge of the various complex areas in which we all work.
Aside from the everyday office work, the opportunities to take part in extra activities have been abundant. I have represented Shipleys at the Surrey University Graduate Fair to get the word out about how enjoyable it is to work here. Shipleys are always keen to find young graduates who want to expand their knowledge in the accounting industry. In addition to this, I have also been responsible for organising various social events such as the annual Shipleys Golf Day where current and former staff come together for a few drinks and some questionable golf which is always a good laugh! Recently the firm also held a treasure hunt around central London with dinner and drinks in the office which was a great chance to socialise with everyone outside the normal 9 to 5.
The support I have been given has been amazing and the opportunities to take responsibilities at such an early stage of my career has really helped me grow and develop a passion for the job I do here. Everyone at Shipleys helps to make work more than just getting in and waiting for 5pm. When you know that you’re actually contributing and making a difference in the business, be it with the work you do or the social side of life here, it really makes you want to be a part of the Shipleys family and makes every day interesting and challenging.
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.