A Norfolk company is forging a reputation for inspiring the next generation of accountants with its approach to training.

Stephenson Smart has 28 trainees employed across its six offices, studying for an AAT, ACA or ACCA qualification – with many offered opportunities fresh out of school.

Currently the King’s Lynn office alone has 14 new employees studying while working to gain practical experience.

Many already plan to take further exams to specialise in specific areas, or to become chartered tax advisors.

Two other employees are studying for a payroll degree with the Chartered Institute of Payroll Professionals.

Olivia Allen recently stepped onto the training rungs after turning her back on university life.

Olivia, who is 19, swapped an English literature degree at King’s College in London to pursue Stephenson Smart’s training scheme.

She said: “I started my degree, but I got to the end of the first three months and I really wasn’t enjoying it. I knew I had made a mistake. I panicked that I was going to get myself into debt doing something that I didn’t actually want to do.

“I’ve always had an interest in finance because my dad is a financial advisor and I had heard really good things about the training scheme at Stephenson Smart.

“I love the consistency of it all. You take an exam once every three months with ACCA. It’s a challenge, but as I tick them off, I’m one step closer to being qualified, which I hope to be within three years.”

Each trainee joins a specific team led by one of the partners and are allowed 20pc of their work time to study. They also attend a training provider.

AAT trainee Zara Barlow, 19, works at the company’s Wisbech office, after being offered a position when she was still in full time education, while Stephenson Smart agreed to defer Elsie Riches start date for nine months until she completed her studies.

The company also offered 19-year-old Luke Howard a position in the King’s Lynn payroll department until his current AAT training position became available.

Claire Melton, partner at King’s Lynn, said the company had the largest contingent of trainees for several years.

“It is really important for us to have an open-door policy for all ages. We have a rigorous interview policy, we only pick who we consider to be the best candidates, so we are extremely lucky to have such talented young people here in Norfolk.”

Elsie Riches, Zara Barlow and Luke Howard are all trainee accountants at Stephenson Smart

Did you find this insight useful?

Why not share online

More Insights from Stephenson Smart

  • Stephenson Smart - Stephenson Smart Accountants

    9th February 2023

    Do you need business start up advice?

    Chris Goad, partner Stephenson Smart Chartered Accountants and Business Advisors offers some business start up advice. Business Start Up Advice Longer days and the promise of Spring bring with them a feeling of new beginnings.  This is a fitting time ...

  • Stephenson Smart's Tax Specialist Team

    19th October 2023

    Stephenson Smart’s tax specialists’ team is strengthened by the addition of one of the youngest in the country

    At just 16, Bethany Little broke the record as the youngest trainee accountant in Stephenson Smart’s 103-year history.  Fast forward five years and she’s done it again – as one of the youngest people in the UK to pass the ...

  • New business start up - Cambridgeshire Hair and Beauty

    5th April 2022

    Stephenson Smart helps new business start up flourish

    During the Covid pandemic many people reconsidered their working life, and 2020 saw a record number of new business start up companies . One of these is Cambridgeshire Hair and Beauty in March. Lauren Slipper, hair and beauty specialist and ...

  • Kayleigh Wilson: Basis period reform

    8th November 2023

    What you need to know about basis period reform

    Does your business’s year end coincide with the tax year end?  If not, you need to know about basis period reform. Basis period reform is the government’s plan to move most sole traders and partnerships to an accounting year end ...

  • Stephenson Smart: King's Lynn Office

    1st October 2020

    100 years of accountancy at Stephenson Smart

    It has been 100 years since records show that Joseph Stephenson and Robert Stanley Smart were practicing accountants on King Street in King’ Lynn – the inception of the firm we now know as Stephenson Smart. Now employing 100 people ...