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.
The first couple of months in 2017 have flown by so quickly, partly due to exams which have been non-stop since the start of the year and the rest has been down to a busy audit season! Plenty of December year ends means we are very busy at the start of each year. At one point, I was out of office on client sites for 4 weeks on the trot and also completed 2 e-assessments within that time period. I’ve now completed my first year and now have a bit of respite between now and college for the next set of exams
On another note, we haven’t been short on work socials as usual, we’ve had our annual curry night which was changed to a Chinese night this year. It was the perfect opportunity to welcome new members of staff to our firm across all departments. It was a fun filled evening with plenty of food & drink, also a bit of karaoke at the end to round up the night. Other socials have included a work stag do, a leaving party for a retiring partner which was an epic night. I think you get the picture that we are a social bunch around here, we are only 4 months into the year so plenty more socials on the horizon….
More on life after my first year to follow in the next blog!
It has been an extraordinarily fast-paced couple of months. Never have I ever felt the time fly so fast!
Since my last post, I have been involved in even more audits within the film & television industry. For the first time I feel at ease when approaching audit work and feel that my confidence has grown and grown. I strongly believe that this is down to a combination of experience (practice makes perfect!) by being exposed to more and more audits in short spaces of time and by working alongside approachable, supportive and encouraging colleagues. You really get the feeling of a team spirit here at Shipleys.
Aside from film audits, I have worked on several large funds. Again, I have found that the more exposure I have to these types of clients, the more confident I feel when approaching the required working papers. Don’t get me wrong through, there is still (and always will be) lots more to learn, especially with ever changing regulations and updating of accounting standards – but I guess that’s the exciting part, because as an accountant you are always growing in your career and developing your knowledge and expertise.
Audits aside, I have recently undertaken lots more accounts preps. These have ranged from sole traders to limited companies. If I am completely honest I initially felt a little apprehensive tackling these tasks (due to having worked predominantly on audits), but I would just like to emphasise how valuable the time that Seniors, Supervisors, Managers and Partners are willing to set aside in their own busy workday for trainees. In one specific instance, my Manager took the time to run through how I should approach each section of the working papers (from fixed assets through to sales and purchases). He also explained exactly what I should be looking out for when inspecting the client’s nominal ledger and post-year end ledger, and explained the kind of journals I would potentially need to put through. At the end of the two weeks (and five accounts preps later), I had learnt so much. I also noted parts of the tasks that I found the trickiest, along with the Manager’s tips on how to approach these sections and have typed these up to use as a guide on future accounts preparation jobs.
I would say that I am definitely lucky to work at a firm like Shipleys. Not only are you encouraged and given many opportunities to be responsible for major parts of a job, but there is always support and guidance from those higher up at the firm. All are happy to invest their own time in making sure a trainee (like myself) understands and feels confident in approaching the work set – something I would consider extremely vital for a trainee’s personal development.
Within 9 months, I’ve been quickly exposed to a variety of work, such as film, funds and accounts prep. I’ve also covered a few miles around the UK as well, for on-site client work and attending stocktakes. I went to Scotland for the first time for a stock take, Edinburgh specifically and I was lucky enough to meet a fantastically knowledgeable taxi driver who drove me around for the day and acted as my very own tour guide!
Shipley’s has a good mix of clients, so one week you might be on accounts prep and the following week on an on-site audit for a film client for example, working for different managers and to different time scales depending on the size of the client. So far, I can say I’ve definitely had a good breadth of experience in accounts prep and audit.
As I mentioned before, I had been at college quite a bit over the last few months preparing for 3 professional stage exams which I’ve now sat! Gosh…they came round so quick from when I started at Shipley’s in January, where’s all the time gone?!
Well it’s been about six weeks since my last post and I feel like I’ve been busier than ever – both in my work and social life!
I’ve attended another three weeks of college for the first three modules of the professional level: for Financial Accounting (FAR), Audit & Assurance (AA) & Tax Compliance (TC) and will be back again in mid-July to learn the rest of the content. It’s definitely a “step-up” from the E-Assessments. There’s tons more knowledge to learn and longer questions to complete, which means I’ll definitely be increasing my revision and compiling a study timetable. I’ve noticed that I tend to be a lot more productive if I study as soon as it’s the end of the working day. I live quite far from the office so it ends up working out better because it’s lovely and quiet which means I can focus for a few hours, then at least when I leave the office I actually get a seat on the train! Nevertheless, this doesn’t work for everyone, I know that a lot of my colleagues prefer to study in the comfort of their own home, and don’t get me wrong there are some days when I just prefer that too, but the key is really to do whatever suits you best.
Putting college to one side, in the office, I’ve been working mostly on the accounts for various films and TV series, which I always find exciting, especially when you see an advert for the film or watch the TV series after having worked on them. I’ve been attending a few more audits, one of which was at a film studio and the other at a place where I felt like I was stepping into Hogwarts!
Outside of working and studying, I’ve been on to two hen dos, caught up with university friends and re-joined the tennis club I used to be a member of when I was at secondary school. It’s nice to be feeling more active and to get back into the sport I used to love, just in time for Wimbledon to start up again – strawberries and cream at the ready! Then this Saturday I will be taking part in the “Pretty Muddy” Race for Life for Cancer Research UK, which is very dear to my heart. I’ve taken part in the Race for Life event before and last time the atmosphere was incredible. I’m sure it will be a brilliant day, and if it is to rain like it has been for the last two days, it will only help with making the race even muddier!
This week I was back in the office and I can see from the staff planner that I have a few different audit jobs lined up, then in a couple of weeks I have my six monthly review and the next chapter begins…