A day in the life of an accounts trainee

Ellen Cowie has worked as a trainee with Randall & Payne for over two years within the accounts team. At present she is AAT qualified and working towards the ACCA qualification. Read more about her journey so far.

Before Accounting…

After completing A-levels, Ellen worked at Cheltenham General Hospital as a healthcare assistant for a year, before moving to London to study Adult Nursing at King’s College London. Soon realising the London lifestyle wasn’t for her, she moved back to her home county of Gloucestershire to pursue a different career path.

Career Change…

She had always enjoyed Mathematics at school and liked to be challenged, particularly problem solving. So, Ellen decided to try and find out more about paths into accountancy. Her enthusiasm to learn resulted in her being offered a place as an AAT Trainee at a large local firm.

After completing her AAT qualification she had intended to look for a role in industry rather than continue in practice. However, her recruiter opened her eyes to working at Randall & Payne and the interview was set up.

It was during the interview with Vicky Link, Partner, and Shaun Pegler, CRM, that her mind-set changed. She said, ‘’Their approach was welcoming and positive’’. She was impressed by what Randall & Payne had to offer and the rest is history!

Working at Randall & Payne…

Ellen finds the open plan office and culture of open communication with everyone in the firm across all levels to be refreshing. She explains how much you gain as a trainee from interacting with the partners and learning from their knowledge and experience.

Ellen says, “We are like one big family! Especially the trainees, as we all support each other through exam periods, balancing work, study and a social life!”

Investing in Staff…

There is no denying that the exam season is very demanding and can be stressful. The company recognises this and gives trainees days off to attend study and revision courses, and run firm wide workshops focused on health and well-being.

Ellen commented, “Despite the support offered, you should be ready to sacrifice some of your holiday to do revision on your own. As long as you are sensible and manage your time well, you will find plenty of time to revise. It helps that most people here have been through the same thing so they are very understanding.’’

‘’You should also remember that expanding your knowledge and experience at work is just as valuable to your professional development as passing exams, so make the most of your time as a trainee and get the right balance of work and study.”

Ellen recognises the commitment Randall & Payne has made to her through financial investment, with full funding for study, including courses, exam fees and travel. She explains, “As long as you demonstrate a desire to succeed and are willing to put yourself forward, your contribution is valued and your opinion matters”.

A Day in the Life…

In a typical day, Ellen prepares accounts for a variety of clients and deals with all types of accounting records, ranging from bags of receipts through to slick accounting software. In addition, Ellen provides daily client contact and support, which has helped with her professional development.

She has also been involved in numerous key projects. Notably improving efficiency in the accounts team by creating standardised documents and researching accounting standard changes for the team. All this includes keeping up to date with current articles and the economic environment.

For Ellen, it’s the people which make it such a great place to work. She values the social side and has made great friends with other trainees.

The Future…

Ellen is continuing to work towards her ACCA qualification, with only two exams to go! Once qualified she is looking forward to putting all the hard work to good use by progressing her career with Randall & Payne. She is keen to build strong relationships with her clients and be able to offer valuable advice which really makes a difference to help them to thrive.

We employ 15 trainees who have a can-do attitude and are willing and able to embrace change. We are committed to fully training and developing our trainees so that they are able to make a positive difference to our clients.


If you are interested in being considered for this year’s trainee intake please contact us on 01242 776000 or email

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