Kirstie

Why did you choose a career in accounting?

When I was younger, my parents started up their own small company, so I get a first-hand view of running a company and the administrative side things. I’ve always enjoyed working with numbers and, having seen my mum running the finances of our family business for several years, I was interested in seeing the rest of the picture and everything on a bigger scale. I had some fantastic lecturers at University and really enjoyed the accounting courses, they were always challenging and interesting so I decided to see it in practice.

What made you choose UHY Hacker Young?

UHY has a good range of clients across a variety of industries; you aren’t limited in your experiences and challenges. The teams are always changing, so you get to work with lots of lovely and different people, and benefit from everyone’s different experiences. You also have the opportunity to take on different roles and responsibilities. It’s never boring and the people are fantastic. I had that feeling from my first interview; that this would be fun and a challenge.

Do you tend to work late into the evenings or a lot of weekends?

It’s not an unheard of event, but it’s also not every night. It depends on the job and the person. There will be jobs where you need to put in extra hours and there will be others that are more laid back. Everyone has to do some extra hours, so everyone is in the same boat, and you are always able to discuss the situation with a manager or your senior if you’re unhappy. But it doesn’t go unnoticed, extra effort is always appreciated.

What makes a good auditor/accountant?

Someone who is willing to go a little bit further. Whether it’s making a little more effort with a client to explain something or make them feel more at ease, putting in an extra half hour to finish a piece of work or taking the time to read up on something relevant, you have to be willing to put in a bit of extra effort.

What is the atmosphere like at UHY Hacker Young?

Fun. There are a lot of lovely people and everyone is always welcoming. People are always joking, on occasion even the managers and partners, and generally the atmosphere is really positive and enjoyable. Everyone is always really supportive, and the office is normally a fun place to be. It has its serious moments where everyone is feeling the pressure and things are a bit more subdued, but on the whole I really enjoy coming to the office and being around my colleagues.

What do you like most about your role?

That every week is different; a new team, a new client, a new industry or a new section. I think I’m very lucky that the role I’m in allows me to get such a wide range of experience and to meet such a wide range of people. Then each year the role progresses a bit further. Even when working on the same client, you’re looking at different areas and at more of the picture. In addition, as you’re learning at the same time you understand more of the client and their industry each time you go. I never feel that I’m stagnating, there’s always something to do and something to learn.

What is the most challenging thing about your job?

The variety and the progression. Even though one of the biggest benefits of working for UHY is the variety that it presents, it also makes life more challenging. You don’t see the same numbers and same sections every week; you will work in different industries, with different regulations, accounting policies and systems, and even if you work on a client again at a later date, you will most likely be working on different sections with a different level of responsibility. It can be challenging to keep pace sometimes, but it’s all worth it.

What do you hope to do when you have finished your qualification?

I haven’t given it a lot of serious thought yet. I’m enjoying my role here and I have the benefit of seeing a lot of industries and positions. I hope to get a better insight in the coming year as to what I would like to do after qualifying. There are so many options; I wouldn’t want to set my mind on a specific future now and miss an opportunity I might love.

Is it difficult to balance your exams and work commitments?

At times it can be challenging to balance exams and work. For example, when you are put on a time pressured job over the revision period it can be difficult to provide the extra commitment to both, but seniors and managers are very receptive to exam concerns and if you are really struggling then a chat with them is a good idea. On the whole, it’s not very difficult. You have to realise that you will need to dedicate some personal time to revision; the balance of this and spending your personal time for leisure is the difficult part.

What level of responsibility do you receive as a trainee?

The level of responsibility differs from job to job. When you start, you will be responsible for completing your own sections, which will progress to harder sections, to completing files and to leading a team. Also when you start, your biggest responsibility is to ask questions; if you don’t understand or you’re stuck it is so important to ask. You are responsible for a section, but senior team members are there to help you. They’ve all been at that starting point and they would much rather help you than see you struggle through. You aren’t given responsibility that you can’t handle and even when it feels you’re a bit out of your depth at first, you always find your feet in order to meet the expectations and responsibility you were given.

Describe a typical day in the audit department:

A typical day will start between 9 and 9.30 depending on the client. After getting set up, you’ll have a quick catch up with the team or manager to see where you are and how the job is going or to discuss the job that you are going to work on that day. Then you normally settle down to work. Some days this involves more interaction with clients, other days this can be analysing reports and information you already have. Throughout the day there will be a fairly constant chatter, perhaps discussion about the tasks or getting some assistance or help, or little chats and joking. Normally, everyone will go to lunch together if the team is at a client or everyone will go to the break out room if in the office. Everyone will pack up around 5/5.30 depending on when you started.

What are you particularly proud of since starting your career with UHY Hacker Young?

We (UHY London) started getting academy clients last year and that involved a lot of research into the regulations and the requirements for the sector, which is still evolving and growing itself. I was able to be really involved in the first audit of our new client. One of the biggest benefits of working for a new client having their first audit is that you get to design the testing and the work, and you also get a better opportunity to offer them advice on how to improve and have discussions about the controls and the regulations. This client was a real challenge and was a good chance to expand my knowledge and understanding. I was really proud of the final audit file and was very happy the following year to go back and see the effect of the advice we gave and how the client had actively implemented our ideas and suggestions