Did you choose accountancy because you’re great at maths?
Was being an accountant the job for you because you like studying and completing exams?
Is it your love of numbers that led you down this career path?
These are some of the questions that I have been asked since choosing this career option.
Truthfully there is no defined route into the accounting profession.
In this blog I tell the story of my journey into becoming an accountant alongside stories from Christie, Hannah, and Lucy about how they also came to choose this career path.
I joined Friend & Grant in August 2019 and the journey that I have taken is something that I look back on today with great pride.
During my time at secondary school, I started thinking about where I’d like my life to go.
My enjoyment of performing arts made me think I would be suited to a career based around this passion and I started to convince myself that journalism was the way to go.
As time went by and I began to lay out the blueprints to this career option, I started to think that it was more of a social activity.
I enjoyed the lessons with my friends and took great pride in my performances.
It was a subject I was always good at and achieved high grades in, but when I stopped to reflect, it was part of my school experience rather than the foundation of my life going forward.
Playing to my strengths
Around this time I started to realise how much I enjoyed maths.
I had always liked it and it had always made sense to me, but I suppose I took it for granted, having done it through the whole of primary school – I suppose I just thought everyone felt the same way about it as me.
It wasn’t until I grew through the first years of secondary school that I started to realise that maths isn’t for everyone.
It suits me and my way of thinking. There is one right answer, it can’t be interpreted or discussed.
The facts were all there in front of me, I just had to use a set method and my brain just naturally understood the logical way of thinking that maths requires you to have.
All my focus turned to this, and I just naturally began the path towards achieving the grades needed to study Mathematics at University.
A new passion and one that just seemed to slot in place.
As soon as it clicked, I just knew it would be what I wanted to do as a career, my brain is set this way.
My university Journey
After competing my A Levels, I attended the University of Portsmouth, where I graduated with a First Class Degree in Mathematics with Finance and Management.
It was my time there that fully cemented my decision to become an Accountant.
This way, I could use all the aspects of my degree -the numbers’ part but also the business side of maths.
I really enjoy communicating and connecting with other people, I wouldn’t have been suited to a role where I just sat on my own at a computer all day.
Teamwork is something I have always enjoyed, and this could be part of my performing arts past sneaking through, but the social aspect of accounting makes up a large part of the job.
Joining Friend & Grant
My career started for Friend and Grant in the summer of 2019, just after my graduation a few months prior.
The rest is history but reflecting 4 years later, I love my job.
It was most definitely the right decision for me to have gone into this field of work.
The number crunching, financial advising, connecting with clients and being part of a team that is constantly striving to offer the best service is what I set out for all those years ago when I was studying hard in my teen years.
Sharing my passion
I also now coordinate the training in the firm and oversee the apprenticeships, the students’ progression and the internal training.
In this role, it has been interesting talking to many different colleagues and finding out the reasons why they themselves chose Accountancy.
Originally I did not consider doing an apprenticeship, as I felt like the school system really pushed people into university, like that was the best and only choice to make.
So, after getting my A-Level results I went to Bath university to study Maths.
University wasn’t for me
Once there I quickly realised that I wasn’t enjoying university as much as I thought I would – nothing I was learning seemed to have any real-life applications.
I was worried I’d be spending 3 years putting all my efforts into a degree that I would come out of Uni and not use at all.
The thought of £50k+ of debt for something I’d never use seemed silly to me.
Choosing an apprenticeship
I had previously done work experience with Friend & Grant, and I knew I wanted my career to be in the financial sector, so I made the decision to leave university after a couple of months and start an apprenticeship.
I can honestly say this was the best decision I could have made; although the apprentice wage starts low, you quickly move up.
I was being paid to learn and was getting real life job experience, something that graduates usually lack when going out in the world to find a job.
Earning some money and getting my professional training paid for seemed like the more logical choice over getting myself into debt going to university.
If you know that accountancy is something you’re interested in, then I couldn’t recommend the apprenticeship route enough!
I came to Friend and Grant as a trainee accountant, aged 21, after two and a half years working for a well-known bank.
Choosing a career change
During the short period of time at the bank, I worked my way up from a cashier to a small branch manager.
After a few months in that role, I quickly realised that there were minimal opportunities left for me to progress any further, so I came to the conclusion that I needed a change of career.
Opportunities for progression
I quickly turned to Accounting with the intention of completing both my AAT and ACA qualification, which I am currently working towards.
Accounting was the right move for me as it is a role where you are constantly learning and progressing, and I will have a lifelong qualification and skill that can be transferred across a variety of roles.
Since taking the jump to completely change my career, I have never been happier and more certain that this was the right move for me.
The idea of starting a career in finance was always something I had in mind since being at school due to having the traits I believed would help me excel, such as good grades in maths and having a logical mind.
Once I started my A levels, I discussed with my career’s coach that finance was the route I wanted to go down and she suggested, based on my skills, that I should look into accountancy.
Not interested in University
Knowing that I had never had an interest in going to university, I started to look into accountancy apprenticeships for a school leaver and this is when I came across Friend and Grant.
I have now been at Friend and Grant for 2 years and I am 100% happy that I made the right decision for me.
Starting an apprenticeship straight from school has meant I have been able to work through my qualification whilst also gaining practical experience.
Thinking of choosing accountancy?
At Friend & Grant we are committed to supporting our team with continuous learning and development opportunities.
Each year we open a select number of apprenticeship opportunities to enable more individuals to learn on the job whilst obtaining their professional qualifications.
If you are interested in pursuing a career in accountancy and have any questions, or if you would like to register your interest for future positions, please contact Jack Gray.
The content in this blog is correct as at 9th November 2023 See terms and conditions.