I am currently completing the level 4 accountancy apprenticeship, which includes studying towards an AAT membership.
I work in an insolvency practice and my role is very varied. I have the role of cashier at Anderson Brookes, which means that I deal with payments into our bank account each day and am responsible for posting those payments to our software. I also am a case administrator, meaning that I have a full caseload of liquidations which I run from start to finish. I therefore regularly complete legal paperwork and correspond with numerous parties such as company directors, accountants, solicitors and creditors.
COVID-19 has made the last year particularly challenging. At some points, I have been unable to sit exams which has been incredibly frustrating, especially as I am so close to finishing my apprenticeship. This had a huge effect on my motivation, and it has taken a lot of strength to continue studying. I have also been working from home for nearly a year, which comes with its own challenges. I have had to find new study techniques, new ways to motivate myself, and I have had to adapt to speaking to everyone through a computer!
So many things have had to change in the last year, everyone has had to adapt to a new normal. Whilst studying on an apprenticeship this year, I have had to move from face-to-face visits to video calls, wear masks through hours of exams, and I have had to utilise online resources to assist with my studies.
Despite the challenges that I have personally faced, my accountancy apprenticeship has given me a goal to strive towards and I have had to adapt to the new way of doing things. In studying my apprenticeship, I have been able to suggest ideas and help with plans to assist the business with moving forward through these difficult times. I have also had to step up and stand in for others when they have not been able to work which has made me grow within my role and as a person.
Whilst studying AAT, I have learned so many skills which I utilise every day at work. I may not work in an accountancy practice, however, so many of the skills learned whilst studying AAT are applicable to insolvency. For example, I complete monthly bank reconciliations which I learned how to do through AAT. I also complete double-entry every day when posting payments and journal entries to our software, along with completing quarterly VAT returns for companies in liquidation. Furthermore, studying AAT has given me a great understanding of accounts and the way that they are prepared. When dealing with companies in liquidation, we must realise as many assets as possible for the benefit of the company creditors. When investigating company assets, I have been able to use my knowledge and understanding of accounting processes to fully analyse numerous company accounts. I can also then explain my findings to others and help others understand the accounts in the way that I do.
An apprenticeship is a great opportunity to learn and work at the same time. I believe that apprentices are able to bring new skills and ideas to businesses as they progress through their courses, helping the business to be innovative and productive. In the current climate, this is essential for a business to survive, new processes need to be made and the business needs to adapt to the changing regulations. Apprentices can help with this by bringing a new and ever-improving skill set, and fresh ideas.
I have now nearly finished my accountancy apprenticeship and have started to think about how to progress moving forward. My apprenticeship has opened so many doors and I have so many options to consider. I could go on to do further accountancy studies, such as the Accountancy Professional Level 7 programme (ACCA and CIMA), or I could progress in insolvency and study for the JIEB exams to become an Insolvency Practitioner. If I decided against all of this, I feel that I have learned so many skills that I could continue progressing through my current job role, or I could even potentially go on to open my own business.
I know that I have a long-term job role at Anderson Brookes, which is where I will stay upon completing my apprenticeship. I have also decided that, following the completion of my apprenticeship, I will go on to study for the JIEB exams and progress even further, hopefully being amongst some of the youngest qualified insolvency practitioners.
I would absolutely recommend doing an apprenticeship to others. An apprenticeship is such a great opportunity for anyone. You learn new skills and then put them into practice every day at work. You can use your skills to teach others and add value to your employer. There are also so many progression opportunities upon completion of the apprenticeship. Not only are you qualified in your field, but you also have the work experience to back it up.