Nickie Bantoft outlines what it takes to become an accountant – and what’s involved with keeping up-to-date with all the new changes that happen each year…
As exam results have recently dropped through the letterbox of school leavers, the big decision is to start your career now, or take a few years in further education.
Accountants have exactly the same dilemma: we can go to university or college fulltime to study accountancy, or look for a job which has training included, a bit like an apprenticeship, with day or block release sessions at college. Either route will involves various exams and usually a period of work to demonstrate you have covered a set number of skills.
I trained many years ago, and opted for the second route, job with day release to college. This gave me lots of practical experience as I went through every stage of my training. I am a strong believer that practical experience is the best way to learn.
It’s not a short cut though – I trained for four years working full time and attending college for single days and blocks. I had to pass 14 exams in total and my managers had to sign off my work diary and skills achieved.
Training doesn’t stop there. From that day onwards, each year accountants have to commit to continuing with our professional development and ensuring we are technically up to date and on top of all changes in accounts and taxation.
Together with my team, each year we attend many external training courses on a wide range of topics. We have a variety of reading material, both on-line and in professional journals, and we follow the news and especially the budget. We also have in-house training to keep up to date with software changes and developments in some parts of our work. We constantly work to move forward with the times and keep our systems up to date and adapt to all modern advances and we believe all of this allows us to give an efficient service. As we are Chartered Certified Accountants we have to complete annual declarations to confirm we have met our training requirements.
All trades and professions have to adapt to new developments, new ways of doing things, new rules, new regulations, guidelines and laws. It’s great to feel on top of our training and we always look for new ways to improve our knowledge and working practises.
We are very committed to making sure we are up to date and believe this adds value to our service to our customers.