I first thought about a career in accountancy when I was at university in Ireland. During my third year, I had a work placement in the finance department of a software company and found that I really enjoyed the experience. After University however, I decided to move to London and complete my Masters in French studies. It was only during this year that I thought back to my time in finance and decided that accountancy would be a good career option.
I came across SWAT whilst looking at the ICAEW website and completed the online application. When I looked at the firms SWAT represents, Shipleys really stood out. It has a good position in the firm ranking tables and I liked the impression given by the firm's website. It felt modern and biographies of the people made me feel that I would fit in.
The interview I had with SWAT was really tough – the most intensive I’ve ever had! I thought I did ok but it was certainly testing. The Shipleys day by contrast was varied – challenging but fun.
Starting out on my training contract, like starting anything new, I didn’t really know what to expect. Overall it has been a great experience. I’ve made loads of new friends here and there are lots of social events. The learning curve is like nothing I had ever experienced. From day one, I was working on audits and accounts preps, meaning each week I could apply some of the knowledge I was gaining in my studies. The seniors were always there to lend a hand rather than just act as a training pillar. They used their own experiences to help rather than just telling me to ‘do this’. I felt this approach – telling me what we are trying to achieve rather than issuing detailed instructions – helped me to understand the bigger picture much sooner than I expected. I understand the clients business, how my work fits in, and the importance of my role. The learning curve continues. This is one of the main things that I enjoy about my job. There is always something else to learn!
Balancing working life and studying is a challenge. However, the firm is supportive ensuring we feel encouraged rather than pressurised.
I’m about to move into the final stage of my ICAEW studies so right now that’s more or less my only focus!!
Meadhbh's story was published in 2013. Meadhbh qualified as a chartered accountant in 2014 and left Shipleys to persue her career at one of the Big Four accounting firms. We wish her all the best for her future.