This case study is from Assistant Accountant Apprentice, Kieran Marquis.
What is your job title?
Finance Systems Support Analyst
Why did you decide to do an apprenticeship?
I wanted to further my accounting knowledge but also acquire a decent income so I could afford a place to stay. My cousin suggested an apprenticeship as she had just begun one herself and spoke positively of the designated time off to study. I worked at a small accounting firm prior to my current role and tried to study at the same time and found that it was hard to designate study time so an apprenticeship sounded ideal as a way to get a proper qualification and earn money as it's more structured with days off, a coach to help with progress and resources provided to you.
What sort of activities did you do in your role whilst you were on the apprenticeship?
I've learnt the Transact-SQL programming language, which is a beneficial tool to have in this job, and subsequently how to deal with reviewing and resolving finance and IT related queries by querying databases consisting of confidential financial and employee information. I was also tasked with inbox management for the team, i.e. being the first point of contact for all emails ranging from easy to complex that the team received, which helped boost my understanding of how to handle all manner of tasks. I attended and sometimes led team weekly meetings, discussing new and ongoing queries and attended training to learn about the firm's practice management system. I was also able to attend a few networking events held by the firm, meeting with other aspiring apprentices studying law or finance.
What have you enjoyed most about your apprenticeship?
I've found a great team of people to work beside, who continue to teach me a lot, and I've found a job I actually really enjoy learning about, that utilises some of the accounting I've been studying, along with new complex IT skills and knowledge. I really enjoy the hard work I put in and reaping the reward when I do well. The comradery within the team makes working a lot more enjoyable.
How was your training with Damar?
Getting Charlotte Plevin as a coach has been great as she's easy to contact and keeps me updated on my progress. I'm very grateful for the resources I was provided with, particularly the very helpful textbooks and test assessments.
What do you think your biggest achievement has been as an apprentice?
I've been involved in a small number of high-profile tasks with a lot of responsibility that the entire firm has relied upon to be done accurately, and I'm proud to have pulled them all off without any issues, but I think my biggest achievement is successfully managing my time by doing well at work and passing all of my exams in one go and earning a distinction. It's been hard at times to remain motivated and I'm relieved I was able to keep pushing to the finish line.
What do you think you have contributed to your organisation during your apprenticeship?
Giving me smaller tasks affords senior staff the time to do more complex work. They're then able to loop me in on what they're working on so I can learn to be able to do those complex tasks myself. That's how I've been able to gain more responsibility and more difficult work over the last few months quickly. In the end, I'm now relied upon to know more than just the basics when performing time-sensitive, difficult tasks that improve accounting systems for the firm. I've also been tasked with investigating and leading meetings with finance managers to present my findings on old and new issues with systems and how to resolve them. I've also discovered older issues that had yet to be resolved and worked on presenting them to the team and making them a priority.
What are your career plans now you’ve finished your apprenticeship?
I want to continue furthering my career in finance systems. I aim to climb the corporate ladder in this field, picking up useful skills along the way. I may also continue to acquire further accounting qualifications, but I haven't decided on that as yet. Right now, trying to gain some experience and become better at my job is my goal.