We asked Ethan King about life as a trainee after joining the accounts team on a Level 3 apprenticeship which led to becoming a finalist for Outstanding Apprentice at the Gloucestershire Live Apprenticeship Awards in 2021.
Ethan studied economics, physics and maths A ‘levels, and quickly realised he wasn’t interested in going to university as he wanted to go into a more practical learning environment where he could see the new knowledge being applied day-to-day. He decided on a career in accountancy as it matched his skill set; being good with numbers, his ability to work well both individually but also as part of a larger team, and his ambition to progress, improve and succeed.
Whilst researching accountancy firms, Ethan decided joining a medium sized firm on an apprenticeship would be best for him in order to get recognition for his efforts and for his opinions and suggestions to be heard – and hopefully implemented.
Ethan confirmed that his idea of the stereotypical accountant is nowhere to be seen at Randall & Payne and he’s always felt welcomed and enjoys being able to have a laugh with everyone regardless of how senior they are in the firm.
How do trainees juggle work and study?
At Randall & Payne trainees enjoy study leave, as well as financial support covering course, exam and travel costs. Our trainees find this helps to alleviate a lot of the stress of study and exams and our managers take study leave into consideration when looking at workflow to ensure that trainees are given the best chance of passing them.
I found the AAT course very fulfilling and it was far more engaging to learn new things and see how they fitted into my daily work to help me improve in my role. One of the huge benefits of working in practice is that the majority of people around you have been in the same situation so there’s plenty of help when you get stuck on a question or topic!”
What does Ethan enjoy about his role as an accounts trainee?
- Using new technology – As a firm, we encourage clients onto new cloud software packages reducing the admin required for both the client as well as the accountant.
In just a few years, I’ve seen a huge technological advancement which has helped us all. When I first started, receipts and bank statements would need to be manually typed in an electronic format in order to prepare accounts, but now we have software to help with these tasks and allow us more time to focus on how to support clients further.”
- Project work – Ethan enjoys working for a firm which is keen to embrace new technology and was proud to be involved in a project to move from paper files to new Working Paper File software which was implemented early 2020. The result is completely paperless files and its timing was fortunate given the pandemic which has required the team to work remotely for the best part of a year.
- Assisting new trainees – Helping the new trainees has helped Ethan to cement his knowledge.
Fielding questions and having to explain complex rules and processes really helps to test my knowledge each day and is a reminder of how far I’ve come in my time here.”
- Variety and progression – Ethan’s role has changed a lot since joining the firm and he’s moved from doing accounts for small sole-trade businesses with manual records to working closely with larger companies and keeping in contact with them directly to ensure we can help them as best as we can.
Working in a firm which offers a wide range of services and in which all the teams work so closely together has given me the opportunity to pick up bits of knowledge in areas I may not otherwise have, e.g. having a better understanding of different tax rules. It’s also testament to the other staff who are always willing to take the time to explain new things.”
- Teamwork – Whilst the nature of our work has had to change given the current circumstances, everyone has been happy to support each other as one big team and overcome the new challenges we face.
How did it feel to be shortlisted for an award?
Ethan gained his AAT qualification last year and in October we celebrated him being a finalist for Outstanding Apprentice at the Gloucestershire Live Apprenticeship Awards!
It was great to be recognised both internally and externally – although I didn’t win on the night I feel the recognition and the love from everyone at Randall & Payne everyday!”
Ethan had a year’s break from study and is now working towards his Level 7 Chartered Accountancy qualification which will take another 3 years to complete and is a noticeable step up being the equivalent of a Masters degree, but builds on the skills learnt in level 4.
I’m looking forward to furthering my knowledge, progressing within the firm and offering the clients I work with more in depth and helpful advice in areas that may otherwise be too complicated to ensure they reach their goals for their business.”
Visit our Apprentices and Graduates page, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01242 776000 if you would like to find out more about trainee opportunities at Randall & Payne. If you have any questions Ethan is happy to have a chat with you.