The journey from a trainee to qualified accountant
by Jennifer Kelly

As a trainee accountant in a busy practice from the get-go you need to learn to juggle work and college, as well as trying to fit in a bit of time to relax and just do things that you enjoy or even just spend time with family and friends. Thankfully, at Quintas this is definitely made easier.  When it comes to study the partners have a positive attitude towards always attending your scheduled classes for any upcoming exams and no matter how busy the workflow is they will always rearrange schedules in order to ensure that you are able to attend all your classes.


When I joined Quintas I had already signed up to ACCA (The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) and had started the process of checking what exemptions I had got from the modules I had studied in college, and what exams I had left to do. With six exams left it felt like I was a lifetime away from becoming a qualified accountant. However, I quickly learnt that it is better not to rush through your exams. When you are doing exams and working full time, you need to be practical about how much you can do. The key is to get into a routine for studying and be as disciplined as possible once you set your routine (easier said than done I know).  Luckily with ACCA I was able to do one exam at a time and given that they have four exam sittings a year you could potentially have four exams done after just one year. So while the exams are not at all easy and you have to be prepared to put in the hard work, the rewards are there to be had, even if it is just a night out with work after exams are completed to celebrate all the hard work everyone has put in.


Another aspect of becoming a qualified accountant is the practical experience you get with most accountancy bodies requiring three years training in a firm. Here at Quintas, no matter what team you are on you quickly gain experience in all areas of accounting. Being on the tax team, typically you would assume I would be working on tax returns all the time, but this is not the case.  Everyday work varies from group audits, income tax returns, payroll, corporation tax returns and even the dreaded consolidated accounts. The experience that Quintas has to offer its trainees is second to none. The staff and managers within the firm all know exactly what you are going through having all gone through it themselves so you always feel there is someone you can talk to for support, whether it be in relation to which accountancy body to sign up to, where the best place to go for lectures is, organising tutors for group training in the office for particular subjects etc.


After what feels like a lifetime of weekends and evenings at lectures after a busy day in work and what sometimes felt like hundreds of exams the end is here. In January 2019 I got the results to my final exams and I was delighted to see the words ‘pass’. I continued in my trainee role until August 2019 when completed my three years practical experience. Once this was complete, I could finally apply to become a member of ACCA and with the application gone in I can now say that I am a qualified accountant.


My advice to anyone setting out on this journey is that you get back what you put in. If you put in the hard work both with your studies and at work from a training perspective, you will definitely get there in the end.




Jennifer Kelly