ICAEW: Rob Williams on his apprenticeship experience

ICAEW: Rob Williams on his apprenticeship experience

ICAEW apprenticeships offer students from all backgrounds a route into the chartered accountancy profession. The Level 4 Accounting Technician Apprenticeship provides a solid grounding in accountancy, finance and business and sets students well on their way to becoming ICAEW Chartered Accountants.

Here, ICAEW talks to Rob Williams, an audit assistant at Mazars, about his experience on the apprenticeship and what advice he has for those looking to follow in his footsteps.

Can you sum up your role?

I work with owner-managed businesses, public-listed entities, housing associations and educational institutions across the UK as part of an external audit team, provided by Mazars. My job is to help these businesses improve financial controls and reporting for the general public by working with them on audit testing. This involves visiting their premises and spending time reviewing documents and transactions that the business carries out.

What inspired you to get into accountancy?

Throughout school I always had a passion for working with numbers and solving problems. As I progressed through school, I also developed an interest in entrepreneurship and when researching a career in accountancy I realised it presented itself as an opportunity where I could combine both. I wanted a career where I could combine my interests and skills with an industry that was growing and had many different avenues for development.

Why did you choose the ICAEW Accounting Technician Apprenticeship?

I chose the ICAEW apprenticeship because it gave me the best opportunity to broaden my horizons. The qualification is recognised worldwide and gives me the opportunity to explore opportunities further afield in the future. Further to this, it also helps to develop my soft skills, particularly things such as team work and communication, through skills and behaviours workshops that add value to my employer.

What’s the best part of your job?

The best part of my job is getting exposure to so many different businesses on a week-to-week basis. Every week I’m working with different clients, helping them to improve their processes. At such an early stage in my career, it’s amazing to be able to speak to senior business leaders and see that they value your service.

What do you find challenging?

The most challenging part of my job is managing my time. It gets tough when you have exams to revise for as well as work commitments, but what you put in you get out at the end of it. I always feel supported by my employer. They help to balance out work and study and my peers have all been through the same process, so they are always willing to lend a hand.

What skills are needed in your role?

There are many skills needed to do this job well, but, most of all, I think a positive attitude and a willingness to learn are valued the most. This job can be difficult and there are lots of technical aspects that take time to learn and practice, but with the right attitude, you can go a long way.

What’s been your one highlight/biggest achievement of your training so far?

My biggest achievement overall has been my exam results and annual appraisal. I passed all of my exams, which was a brilliant feeling. Combined with some really good feedback from my annual appraisal at work, I feel like this whole year has been a great success.

What are your career aspirations?

Currently, my aspiration is to move on to the Level 7 apprenticeship to study the ICAEW Chartered Accountant qualification, the ACA, and qualify as an ICAEW Chartered Accountant. After that, I’d love to move around in my firm and try out lots of different service lines. I have a real passion for personal finance, but the great thing is, I can try out different areas before making any decisions.

What advice would you give future apprentices?

My advice would be to work hard and study harder! You really do get out of your apprenticeship what you put in and employers really value someone who turns up to work every day with a positive attitude and a view to improve on who they were yesterday. But also, enjoy it. It’s a great experience and opportunity to have at such an early stage in your career.

To find out more about ICAEW apprenticeships, visit icaew.com/apprenticeships or send an email to careers@icaew.com