1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
Trainee chartered accountant in Audit. Spend a lot of time out on site auditing various clients in various sectors. Tend to work in a small team, usually 3 or 4 people. Responsible for various areas of the audit file and liaising with both my team and client staff. Very varied work.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
I have learnt a vast amount about auditing and various other financial areas, and I am working towards my ACA qualification.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
Very much so. Having tried university, I wish I'd chosen an apprenticeship instead. The structure and time frame for the course is probably about right, although 5 years is a long time to be training for. The level of work and responsibility is the same as that of a graduate, so you don't feel that you miss out or get treated differently.
4. How valued do you feel by Smith & Williamson?
Very. Apprentices represent a very good investment for the firm, and as such we feel that our opinions count and I personally have been quite involved with feedback and careers fairs regarding apprentices.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
Very well. There is a set training program with dedicated college time that makes work and study fit together very nicely. We have meetings with our performance manager half yearly, and feedback is given for all jobs
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
Training takes place in short bursts in the run up to exams. The college tutors are very good and they give us plenty of information to pass the exams.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
A lot. Certainly in my office, all staff are very approachable and things are often discussed and opinions sought from various different people so as to develop ideas in the best possible way.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
Personally, when I started the salary wasn't much of an issue. It is substantially lower than that of an equivalent graduate. It does start to get frustrating however, when people are starting with 2 or 3 years less experience but still on a higher salary. I don't struggle too much, but if I were to move out then it would be very different I think. Talking to other apprentices, I think the salary is one of the biggest niggles, as we do the same job with the same responsibilities, but get paid proportionately lower purely due to not having a degree.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
We often have office socials and get-together's, and SCASS often put on events for all of the firms to enjoy such as football tournaments and casino nights.
9a. Would you recommend Smith & Williamson to a friend? *
9b. Why? *
Good size company, varied work load, personable culture where you are not just another number.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Smith & Williamson? *
Show your enthusiasm, be confident and talkative, know what you're applying for (read about audit for example) and be yourself.
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