I joined the firm in January 2018 after spending the first nine years of my working life in an unrelated area. Accountancy had always appealed to me since studying Management and Business at university, but after nine years I decided that it was now or never if I was ever going to take the plunge. After taking the decision to apply for an ACA trainee accountancy position, the most important decision became where to apply. PKF Francis Clark stood out to me for a variety of reasons.
Firstly, I wanted to find a firm that would provide me with good quality tuition to complete the ACA qualification. As 15 exams need to be passed, it was crucial that the level of teaching was of the highest quality to give me the best possible chance of passing each. PKF Francis Clark stood out in this respect as they provided residential accommodation at Reed Business School, a provider in the Cotswolds with extremely high pass rates in ACA and ACCA exams. Not only was the tuition very strong but the week away studying with my peers was also important as there were always colleagues to discuss issues with and revise together.
On top of this, PKF Francis Clark offered an ICAEW approved STEPS programme to be provided alongside our Reed Business School tuition. This was a platform to enable me to develop my communication, interpersonal and other professional skills. In addition, it was an opportunity to discuss with other ACA trainees our development and seek additional support in integrating into the firm.
Another key reason I decided to apply for PKF Francis Clark was the size of the firm. I knew friends from university who had gone to work for larger, multinational accountancy firms. Their feedback was that work life balance was always an issue. I therefore knew one of the larger firms was not for me. However, I also didn’t want to be in a small firm where opportunities for development would be limited and there would be less exposure to a variety of specialisms and clients. PKF Francis Clark stood out as being the perfect size; large enough to offer exposure to many different areas of accountancy but with the feeling of a smaller practice where everyone is valued and considered a key member of the team. In addition, as a member of the PKF network of accountancy firms, this gives even more opportunity for development, particularly with secondments to international firms in the network.
Finally, another key factor was the social side of the job. When applying I discovered that the firm offered frequent social events, both at an individual office level with regular socials, as well as for the firm as a whole. In my second year, the firm celebrated it’s centenary. To mark 100 years from 1919-2019 a firm-wide party was held at Powderham Castle in Exeter. This event allowed everyone from the firm in all offices to celebrate together. It was a truly memorable occasion with a 1919 theme, food, drink and wonderful entertainment, as well as a firework display to round off the night.
Of course, Covid-19 has had an impact on the social side of the job as we have been physically unable to meet-up in person for significant periods. However, the firm have been very good at arranging opportunities for us to meet electronically. This has meant that despite the difficult circumstances, I have still been able to maintain a good social life with colleagues.
All in all, applying to work for PKF Francis Clark to study the ACA was one of the best decisions I’ve taken and I look forward to many more years!
If you would like to find out more and apply for our early careers ACA or ATT-CTA training programmes, visit: pkf-francisclark.co.uk/careers.co.uk