Our second blog in this series sees us talk to Laura Bell, a Trainee Accountant based in Preston, UK.
Laura graduated from university with a 1st class degree in Accounting and Finance last year.
Since then, she’s been studying hard for her accountancy qualification exams while working for a very large Civil Engineering Company.
Hi Laura! What are the biggest responsibilities of your role?
Being a trainee, I don’t get too involved with the actual preparation of the month-end management accounts, but I do spend a lot of time running the reports and performing analysis on the reports that are needed for the Business Unit Accountants to prepare their accounts.
Because of this, it’s really important that I’m consistently efficient and thorough with my analysis throughout the month.
I have also been responsible for the VAT Returns and Tax Sensitive Analysis for all the companies within the group. So far this is six companies.
Plus, I have been tasked with ensuring the margin within one of the business areas is consistent and correct, which has turned out to actually be a huge job!
Wow – that seems like a lot of responsibility but a great opportunity to learn!
What is the most interesting thing you have discovered?
The most interesting thing I have learnt since working in accounting (which has only been six months so far), is seeing how the tasks that each accountant owns, ultimately tie together.
There are currently seven Business Unit Accountants and two Trainee Accountants.
Watching how the individual roles for a company of that size unite to get the year-end accounts together is very intense.
However, it’s also interesting to see how what I have been working on contributes to the bigger picture too.
What is one perception of the industry that you think needs to change?
I think for sure that there is a large perception that women in accounting are disadvantaged – there are very few women in the top positions in accounting firms all over the world, not just the UK.
This is definitely a perception I not only would like to change, but one that I think shouldn’t even be a perception at all.
Why is that?
The current company I work for has a female Chief Financial Officer, a female Finance Director and a Female Finance Manager – and the company is performing the best it has ever done, in terms of revenue and profit.
That’s amazing! It’s great that there’s a leadership team who are challenging that stereotype.
What is one thing you think is really important for someone to know, when looking to become a qualified accountant?
I think it is important for someone looking to either become an accountant or go into the accounting industry, who is a graduate or fresh out of college, to realise the amount of work you do actually have to put in to become fully qualified. The exams are hard and require a lot of studying!
That being said, accounting is a career and a skill that is highly sought after by not just accountancy practices, but by all areas of business, as it shows you have a strong analytical mind and a high attention to detail.
And no matter what the stereotype is around accountants and finance departments, we are actually a fun bunch of people!
I definitely don’t regret my decision to go into accountancy