Interested in pursuing a career in accountancy? Apprenticeships are a great way to get into the profession and put foundations in place for your career – all without having to go to university.
As part of National Apprenticeship Week (7-13 February), Cameron Ross discusses his career journey from apprentice to audit senior at Burgis & Bullock in our latest blog.
I have been working at Burgis & Bullock for eight years now and following the apprenticeship route remains the best decision I have made.
After leaving school at 16, I took up jobs in a local supermarket and a pub. I was working seven days a week but there was no real link from these odd-jobs into accountancy.
At the age of 20, I decided I needed to start doing something with my life. All of my friends had gone off to university but I was stuck in the work I had been doing for the last four years.
I wanted a career but still didn’t know what that would be. I knew that I had been good at maths at school, so after sitting down and assessing my options I decided that accountancy would be an avenue to explore.
After taking some advice from someone already working in accountancy on how best to do this, I settled on an apprenticeship rather than a college course and got in touch with Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber Training.
The process was fairly easy. I had a quick interview with the team at Chamber Training, they explained what it was all about and before I knew it I had an interview set-up with Burgis & Bullock.
That interview went really well and I got the job!
I remember turning up for my first day at the Nuneaton office and it was a little bit daunting, but everyone was very friendly, supportive and didn’t expect me to have any financial knowledge as a new starter.
For the first few weeks it was all about finding my feet and then once I started studying at college it all started to click.
Those first few years gave me a real grounding in financial knowledge and gave me a good understanding of the basics of accounting. I went from having no accountancy knowledge in 2014 to looking after my own portfolio of clients by 2017!
It took me three years to complete my AAT (Association of Accounting Technicians) exams and then a further two years to achieve chartered accountant status with the completion of my final ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) exams.
All of the exams were funded by Burgis & Bullock. The support was meticulous and the firm made allowances, including study leave, to support me in passing my exams.
Becoming qualified saw me leave the Nuneaton office, after spending six years building my skills within the client service team, and head to our Leamington Spa office to join the audit and corporate services team.
I’ve now moved into a senior role and remain an advocate of apprenticeships and training, with a commitment to training the colleagues in my own team.
Looking back, there is only one thing I would change if I could have my time again. I would have applied for an accountancy apprenticeship straight out of school at 16! However, I do think those four years have helped to really appreciate the career path I am now on.
I would certainly recommend taking an apprenticeship to anybody that is interested in pursuing a career in accountancy.
There are of course benefits to the university route, but I think apprenticeships are the path to take. You earn money while you learn and gain real life experience.