Lewis Turner, a trainee at top 20 Chartered Accountants, Saffery Champness, shares his experience at the firm, and why he chose to join its High Wycombe office after leaving school.
I decided that I wanted to join Saffery Champness after completing my A-levels, because I felt that the ‘on the job’ experience would really help with getting my accounting qualifications, plus being able to work and meet clients really appealed to me. Obviously, there are of course financial benefits too in terms of avoiding the costs of going to university, having my qualifications paid for and earning a salary at the same time.
I’m currently studying for my AAT qualifications, which will take around one and a half years, after which I will then start my ACA studies to become fully qualified (this takes around three to five years). I am part of the audit team and love that I am already being given responsibility for different key audit areas, which is further supporting my constant learning on the job and ensures I’m making a meaningful contribution. This real-life experience with a variety of clients from a range of industry sectors, will undoubtedly help with my career progression.
On a personal level, everyone is really friendly – from the trainees through to senior management. I got this impression at the interview stage where, even then, I felt a sense of belonging, and I’m glad to say it remains to this day. Everyone is assigned a line manager when they join, and they have a monthly catch-up with you outside the office to check how you’re getting on. One of the best things about working here is that there is an open-door policy at the firm, and if you want to talk something through outside of that monthly meeting, there is always someone available and willing to listen and advise.
There’s a great social side to the firm too. I’m part of a 6-a-side football team, which is open to anyone who wants to play. There are also different social events throughout the year, including a fun day in the summer which I’m really looking forward to. It’s great to socialise with the other trainees too as we go through the same experience together.
Ultimately, the trainee programme is what you make of it. It’s important that you ask questions when you need to. The team is always willing to support you as they appreciate that you’re not going to get everything straightaway. I love the experience I’m getting at the firm, as each day is different, and everyone is very focused and hardworking – it’s obvious that they want to achieve the best for their clients. I’m looking forward to becoming fully qualified and progressing in my career.
How to make the most of the firm’s trainee programme – Lewis’ top tips:
Ask questions – everyone is willing to help.
Be proactive and put yourself forward for work experience. A lot of the trainee programme is what you make of it.
There’s a great social side too, so enjoy it, as this will help you to perform better when you get to know your colleagues more.
About Saffery Champness
Saffery Champness is offering School Leaver programmes in Audit / Accountancy and Personal Tax in its High Wycombe office. These programmes allow you to work on real client assignments and earn while you study to qualify as a Chartered Accountant or Tax Adviser.
It is looking for dynamic individuals with a passion for delivering excellent client service, solving problems and working collegiately. As a firm, it is people centred, which is reflected in being awarded silver accreditation against the Investors in People Standard. The firm invests in a tailored training and development programme and you will have access to partners and technical experts across the firm to support you as you progress.
Entry requirements: Minimum 120 UCAS points in your A Levels (or equivalent), Minimum B (or 6) in GCSE Maths and English Language.
On completion of your A Levels, you can earn a full-time salary whilst working towards a professional qualification, developing valuable skills, enjoying hands-on work experience and learning from exceptional people.
Trainee positions are also available for graduates. More details and application: Here