From the days spent playing shop as a little girl becoming an Accountant has always been a dream of mine.
Subject choices in secondary school were chosen with this dream in mind. Selection of my third level CAO choices was the next stage of the journey, with first preferences being carefully chosen with the final destination to the forefront of my thinking.
Once in college and with even more accountancy modules to whet my appetite, I knew I was heading firmly in the right direction. As I approached my final year in college, conversations with classmates quickly turned to life after college. We quickly began researching the various professional institute options open to us, with notes being compared across the class.
With deliberations completed I selected the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) as my chosen professional body. To be fair to the ACCA, they made the process very user friendly. Exemptions based on third level modules and results achieved were granted at discounted rates along with another discount for registration before I even left college. (Typical Accountant already you might say!!).
Signing up early was also a clear demonstration to potential employers that I was serious about my career and was ready to hit the ground running. With 8 exemptions secured and 6 exams to be completed I quickly set about securing a much sought after training contract.
Having already heard of Quintas from classmates and recommendations from lecturers, I soon set about submitting my application under their Graduate Recruitment Program. Within a few weeks of submitting my application I received a telephone call inviting me for an interview.
Upon arrival on the morning of my interview I immediately picked up a good vibe. As I waited nervously in the reception area, I was greeted with a friendly hello and welcoming smile as staff passed in and out of reception. Whilst the interview was formal, I never felt uncomfortable and found it easy to talk to the interviewers. One thing I will never forget is being handed a sheet of double entry journals to do and the dreaded feeling of being so unprepared as the interviewers left the room and I sat there trying to figure them out. Left alone for those few minutes felt like a lifetime!!
All is well that ends well and within a week or so a formal job offer arrived, followed shortly after by a contract of employment explaining everything I needed to know. Having completed my college exams in May 2016, I was able to take a couple of months off before starting my training contract in August 2016.
Interview nerves were quickly replaced with first day nerves. Was I up to the task? Was I appropriately dressed? I needn’t have worried. I was quickly put at ease and was taken around the office to be introduced to my new colleagues.
Quintas is divided into different work departments (tax, audit, advisory etc.) and I was assigned to the tax department which I was delighted with. Getting used to the work environment in your first job can take some time. I found the office to be really quiet at first, with heads down busy at work. I quickly realised that whilst everybody was busy help was all around me and all I needed to do was ask for advice when needed. There was always somebody on hand to answer my questions no matter how trivial and I quickly found out that no they didn’t bite!!
Juggling work and studying for exams is a continuous challenge but is made easier by a well structured and organised training program within Quintas. ACCA has 4 exam sittings each year in March, June, September and December. Study leave is generous and is pre-booked months in advance giving us plenty of time to plan our exam schedule, which is a must in a busy office.
This year I decided to sign up to sit 2 exams in December which meant I quickly had to find a balance between work and study, especially as the tax department is at its busiest in October and November. Working late nights and attending college lecturers on Saturday and Sunday is tough going and exhausting but as I’ve been told time and time again it’ll be worth it in the end!
Results due next month, it’s time to relax and enjoy the Christmas break before the cycle begins all over again in January.