Undertaking an internship was my first stepping stone into the accountancy world. Four years on I am not only a university graduate but also a qualified chartered accountant, working closely with a variety of interesting businesses every day.
What was your typical working week like?
Week to week my role was varied. I worked in several different departments gaining experience in working with both private clients and corporate companies. One day I would assist with personal tax planning and the next I would prepare statutory accounts for statutory filing. I worked with a variety of people, from fellow interns to partners, across the firm enabling me to build my professional network and resulting in a graduate job offer.
Why did you choose to do an internship?
I had been looking into a career in accountancy but was unsure whether it was right for me. Being a typical student I would require a job over the summer and the paid internship enabled me to gain experience working in a professional accountancy environment whilst doing this.
How did you decide which companies to apply to?
I was attracted to Larking Gowen because it is a local firm which works in the community, and because each individual is a valued member of the team. With the specialisms Larking Gowen has to offer, there is always an expert in each field for client service and to enable staff development.
Do you have any advice for someone seeking an internship in accountancy?
The graduate market place is very competitive. An internship or placement looks great on your CV setting you apart from fellow graduates. My advice would be to do it as soon as you can. There are many opportunities available to help you find which aspect of accountancy is right for you.
What was the application process like?
The application process was relatively straightforward. The application form is easy to download from the Larking Gowen website and the HR department was on hand for any queries I had. Following on from being shortlisted, I was offered an interview where I was asked a number of competency based questions.
What skills did you acquire or improve during your internship?
The internship provided me with practical experience which I was able to take to my final year of university. It has improved both my interpersonal skills and confidence which have been very valuable in building my career today. Larking Gowen does not expect interns and graduates to be technically brilliant on their first day. They look for ambitious individuals who are willing to learn from a variety of backgrounds, not just those who have finance degrees.
What were your main duties?
During my internship my main responsibility was to assist senior members of staff, collating information provided by our business and private clients in order to generate their self-assessment tax returns determining their relevant tax liabilities for a diverse client base.
Four years on my duties have changed. I now manage a small portfolio of clients and assist with the training of both interns and graduates. I also have had the opportunity to take a secondment into industry as Group Financial Controller. The opportunities Larking Gowen has given me are second to none and have helped me in mapping the career I have today.
Do you have any more advice for students interested in a career in accountancy?
Following my ACA qualification, I have the technical knowledge and experience to progress within my career, whether in industry or practice. The qualification looks great on my CV and, in my opinion, is a fundamental tool for progressing within both accountancy and business. The mix of intense study and achieving a work/life balance was challenging, however most of my colleagues have been in a similar position and were there to offer their support and wisdom.