Hi guys, since my first post I can safely say that the work has well and truly kicked in, I have been lucky enough to work with different people on different jobs from the film sector to schools. This highlights the diverse range of clients Shipley’s has and also why I wanted to join a firm the size of Shipley’s. I have also found that working with different people on different jobs has been great, it has allowed me to properly get to know my fellow colleagues as well as pick up new skills from them.
One of the stand out events since my last post was the Shipley’s Christmas party. This was a great evening, I met some of the people who were starting in January as well as some people I had previously not spoken to. So with the food and drink flowing it made for quite an entertaining evening.
Away from work I have been studying and recently just taken my first three professional stage exams. Prior to these exams I was in college for a two week revision period, this I thought was really helpful as it allowed me to further my understandings of the topics. College is also a great place to meet a range of people, you are all in the same boat so everyone understands how hard this period can be, I also found that everyone is more than happy to help with problems you may face.
As the exam period is now over its nice to get back to normality especially as I have some interesting jobs lined up over the next couple of weeks.
Happy belated New Year!
Hi all! Sorry, it’s been a while since I’ve had chance to post on here. After a fun filled summer in London things became really busy for me in the winter. I have now been working at Shipleys for just under 18 months and the last 6 months saw me take on more responsibility than I’d had previously. Personally, I found this great, as it was something that attracted me to work in a medium-sized firm to begin with. I also felt ready to take on the responsibility as Shipleys are good at phasing you into working independently; seniors and managers are always willing to help and answer any queries that you may have.
As well as my work life picking up, I studied for the final set of professional exams, which I sat in early December. This meant a few weeks spent in college learning the material, followed by the juggling of home study and work up until the revision stage. As I’ve mentioned before, I really enjoy going to college as you get to know people at various other firms and by this stage in my training contract I have people that I’ve studied with since the beginning and are very good friends. This means that despite the difficult nature of the exams, everyone is there to help you through it.
When exams were finally over (hooray!) I came back to work and worked on two clients, a film client and a school, before Christmas. I was excited to be back, I needed the normality; Shipleys staff as a whole, however, were of course very excited instead for our annual Christmas party. We spent the evening at Le Meridian hotel on Piccadilly, conveniently located near our office, and lots of food, drink and dancing meant we had a very enjoyable evening.
I’m writing this during our first week back at work – with new staff starting every 6 months, January is an exciting time despite the Christmas blues! I’ve already been to a client and am looking forward to my next 6 months; I have away jobs lined up and, as Sujit mentioned, clients from a number of industries, as well as some that I have worked on in the past. I hope you’re all looking forward to the New Year, too!
As I’m part of the most recent graduate intake, I thought I would give you an overview of what to expect in your first couple of months at Shipleys.
The best place to start is from day 1 – my first day as a graduate employee. We spent the morning getting a formal induction to the office and some systems, then it turned 12 when, shall we say, we were treated to a more informal induction. We got to meet the majority of the audit team in a relaxed environment with a couple of drinks flying about which helped calm the nerves. It was also a great way to get to know the other people starting with me. I genuinely believe it was the best way to start a new job.
As you would expect, the work does kick in. The following week we spent at college preparing for our first 2 exams. Balancing working full-time and revising was completely new to me, but I realised that at Shipleys they understand that it may be hard for you to get used to this new lifestyle and everyone is around to offer help, which I have personally found to be reassuring, especially as they have been through the same process themselves.
Over the first couple of months I reckon you spend approximately 60% of the time in the office. Shipleys aims to give you roughly 80% audit work and 20% accounts preparation. I’ve personally found this mix to be extremely beneficial because it means you’re not doing the same job on a daily basis. One day you could be doing an accounts prep for a film client and the next you’ll be out on an audit for a charity client. Even though a lot of Shipleys’ clients are in the film industry, we’re exposed to all the different industries they work for. In the short period I have been working at Shipleys I have already worked on clients in the steel, finance and film industries.
Shipleys is a company that understands the importance of having a work-life balance. You can play 6-a-side football on a Monday night (which I must say is a great way to spend your evening) or have a drink after work on a Friday to celebrate the beginning of the weekend (or end of the week). These events have been a great way to properly get to know the people I’m working with and for because managers and partners will always make an appearance.
Our graduate recruitment day was a great success as we managed to fill five of our ACA trainee places. Three started at the beginning of August and two will be joining us in January. However, there are still spaces available for our January intake, so if you would like to apply for one of these, please visit the SWAT website soon as we’ll be holding our next graduate assessment day around the end of October. I’m always happy to give advice on applying for our roles, so feel free to contact me beforehand.
So as I mentioned, three of our graduates started with us a month ago. After the traditional first day welcome, they were off to Kaplan and SWAT to get started on their training. Kaplan provide training for their exams and SWAT for their office work. We find that this combination works really well, because it can be difficult to put the Kaplan technical knowledge learnt into context for office work. I’ve now seen the three of them back in the office prior to taking their first e-assessments which of course I know they will all pass because they were so carefully selected
While I think of it, I actually have an apology to make to our newbies… I completely forgot to tell them that Fridays in the office are dress-down days. They turned up on their first day looking very smart while the rest of us were in jeans. There’s not much better than waking up on a Friday morning and throwing on a pair of jeans before heading off to the office. Anyway, I digress!
In this post I thought that I would say a bit about the benefits of training with a mid-tier firm of accountants rather than going down the Big Four route. At a firm our size, from early on you are entrusted with a variety of real client assignments and responsibilities. This gives you a much better grounding, not only for your professional exams, but for your future career. With the Big Four you can get stuck working on the same audit for a year (yawn!), whereas with us, you get to work on a variety of clients as well as meeting a variety of people. Not only does this increase your technical skills, but your interpersonal skills which means that this also benefits the firm because we end up with qualified Audit Seniors who we know we can trust with our clients.
This has been my first summer in London, and so far it has not disappointed. Even though lots of you looking to become accountancy trainees will be anxious over your first summer without a few months off, I can tell you that being in London and organising things after work and at the weekends makes up for working 9-5.
There’s always something to do, whether you’re with the friends you moved with, friends you made at Kaplan or people from work. In the past month we’ve had a few social events. Terinder talked about our big farewell to Graham Baxter. He will be sorely missed at Shipleys by staff and clients alike, however his leaving party was definitely worthy of the occasion.
We’ve also had some new starters join us! I don’t want to give anything away about your first day at Shipleys, however the first day is something we all look forward to and a good opportunity for you to get to know the staff you’ll be working with for three years (at least!).
Outside of work, as a new Londoner, I’ve made it my goal to visit each of the things on Time Out’s list of “Free Things to do in London over Summer”. So far I’ve visited various pop-up bars and food stalls (not so free but the food and drinks are usually amazing), museums that I would never have noticed before and cycled around some of London’s hidden outdoor spaces.
As far as work goes, I’ve now been at Shipleys a year. To give you some perspective, this means I’m starting to work independently, looking to work in bigger audit teams where I take on the role of Semi-Senior and heading towards my last lot of professional exams in order to become part-qualified. But all of that’s to come after a well-deserved summer holiday!