My Shipleys experience

Wow a lot has happened in the last four months! Beginning my training contract at Shipleys in January 2016 was so exciting. I’d had a wonderful Christmas with my family, I’d also been on holiday with friends and saw the New Year in with a “Cheers”, champagne & celebrations. It was the best time of the year for a new job – as they say, “a new year…a new start”.

Having graduated in the summer of 2014, I’d had about 18 months out of studying (and I was starting to miss it!), so I couldn’t wait to get back into the swing of things. And definitely did I get stuck in – on my very first day I went straight to college at Kaplan to begin the first two modules of the ACA – Accounting and Assurance.

I found the first few days at Kaplan to be quite intense and fast-paced, nevertheless, it’s surprising how quickly you are able to pick up new topics and as long as you keep up-to-date with all the homework you feel a lot more confident when the revision period starts. My top tip would definitely be to attempt all the questions set, follow the study materials and to just dedicate a few hours every night to recap and remind yourself of what you’ve learnt at college that day. This all helps to put you in good stead for the exams, and I found that as long as you put the hours in, the hard work does pay off.

January flew by and with a mixture of SWAT training, accounts preparation and a few audit jobs undertaken in February, by the start of March I’d already completed the Accounting and Assurance E-Assessments. Since then, I’ve been working on a variety of clients from films to television series to charities and investment funds. I undertook my first stocktake and was back at Kaplan at the start of April to study the Principles of Tax module, and by the end of April this third E-Assessment had been completed.

Studying and working can be quite daunting at first, especially if it’s the first time you’ve ever had to balance the two, and for me this was the case, so on a Sunday evening I try to plan out the week ahead, just so I know what topics I need to revise, focus on or prioritise, and this is even more important during the run up to exams.

Shipleys is a very supportive firm, right from the junior staff and senior staff to the Managers and Partners. Everyone is always willing to help with any queries you have, whether it be work-related or college-related, and I’ve also found college to be another great support system. By meeting new people of similar ages entering into the same industry as you means that not only do you have the support from your firm, but you also have the support from your peers as everyone is in the same boat, and it’s nice to think that I now have a close knit group of friends at Kaplan.

I would like to stress that working hard is important, but it’s not all work at Shipleys. There are lots of events organised by our social committee. I attended the Christmas party in December 2015 (even though I wasn’t starting my training contract until January, I’d been asked to come to and enjoy the celebrations.) It was a fabulous night in the West End and a good way of meeting my fellow colleagues before the first day in the office. I think this highlights the welcoming and friendly firm that Shipleys is. We’ve also had a curry night, end of month’s drinks and most recently the Quiz Night.

With the variety of work on offer at Shipleys, no two work days are ever the same, and I think this is one of the firm’s strong points and one of the main features that attracted me to Shipleys.

What I’ve found the most fulfilling so far is being able to put what you’ve learnt at college into practice in the workplace. With every day I feel more confident and I look forward to going into the office and seeing what the day will bring.

Shenai Doughty

Shenai graduated from the University of Southampton with a Law degree and joined Shipleys in January 2016 as a Trainee Chartered Accountant. Her time is divided between working within the audit team in the London office and studying at Kaplan and attending SWAT training.

ACAs – what it’s like under our wings

Well, as someone who has been with the firm for 12 years, I’ve seen many graduates arrive and successfully complete their ACA qualification with the firm. Some of them have gone onto become principals of the firm, some into industry, some into other practices… the list goes on. What I do know, is that Shipleys produces excellent chartered accountants (ok, I am biased, but it is true!).

I must admit that I get a bit teary when I hear that one of our trainees has passed their final exams, because there’s nothing better than knowing someone has worked really hard to achieve where they wanted to be, whilst also growing as a person.

It all starts at our graduate assessment day (which I will write about on a separate post… there may be some insider information given!), where the group will be on their best behaviour, albeit slightly nervous.

The first day usually involves more nerves, briefcase in hand, smart suit with a white shirt and stripy tie, or a smart dress and jacket. The tie and jackets come off relatively quickly when they realise that we are pretty relaxed about what people wear in the office.

The audit department are super at looking after their new trainees. It’s the thing that all new employees say to me after their first week – that they can’t believe how friendly everyone is at Shipleys and it is true. There’s a good social scene here and that starts on the first day with welcome drinks in the afternoon.

As the qualification progresses, you can see an increase in confidence. I guess this is down to a combination of passing exams and taking on more responsibility in the office. We also have mentors in place, which means that all trainees have a manager to talk to if they need help with their studies, work or long-term career planning.

Upon qualification, in celebration the partners pay for a very nice lunch for the trainee (who is no longer a trainee of course!) and their mentor. Although we’ve seen hundreds of trainees qualify, we still treat each qualification as if it is our first.

Jane

Jane managed the internal HR function for Shipleys LLP.