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?!
So this is my first post since joining Shipleys in January; there’s a fair amount to report to you so let’s go!
From the moment I walked around the office on that wintry morning in January, I knew I’d stumbled on a pretty lucky place to work. Table tennis, pool, inventive socials, a very good support structure, interesting clients, an incredible work life balance and some pretty ok people in the firm have really lit the year up for me.
Then I found out about Shipleys’ work exchange programme with Australian firm Hall Chadwick. Two people from Hall Chadwick come to work with us at Shipleys for three months and then Shipleys send two people over to work in Sydney for three months. So after consolidating my presence at the firm as king of the table tennis and pool courts, I thought my luck was coming to an end, however in a Leicester City FC-esque premier league winning run, I managed to get onto the exchange programme with the infamous Andrew Howard and here we are!!
Although being a huge advocate of working and living in London, from my time in Sydney so far I have really been taken by the city. We have been put up in little area called Bronte, 10 minutes from Bronte beach and may be 30 minutes in flip flops from Bondi Beach (Sydney’s main tourist beach); along one of the most scenic walkways I’ve strolled. It’s a different vibe to Elephant & Castle anyway.
Andrew and I have been enjoying our time at Hall Chadwick. The nuts and bolts of what I’ve been doing has been the same as at Shipleys but it has been interesting seeing the different culture, ways of doing things and practices of a different firm in a different country. Undoubtedly the work has been relatively challenging, getting up to speed in a short space of time with a fair amount of work to go around; however the audit team at Hall Chadwick is great and I feel I’ve learnt a great deal. In essence, I couldn’t recommend the programme highly enough.