20th December, 2019, Stephenson Smart
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.
Taylor Hammond has just completed seven years of intense study, is AAT and ACA qualified and holds her own portfolio of clients, while Olivia Allen recently stepped onto the training rungs after turning her back on university life.
Olivia, who is 19, has 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 really love the consistency of it all and I think it helps me have a better work/life balance. I'm studying for an ACCA and take an exam once every three months. 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.”
The partners at the firm allow 20pc of the trainees work time to study and have a dedicated manager to support each individual’s career journey.
Each also attends a training provider in either Norwich, Peterborough or Cambridge and is assigned to work on the team of a chosen partner at the firm.
Taylor began working for Stephenson Smart in 2012 and has achieved her AAT and ACA.
“After studying for so long, it does seem quite alien to me now not to be doing it, but I am very proud to have achieved everything that I have.
“I think the new trainees will benefit a lot from talking to, and helping each other, and also from the support of the rest of the team around them because they are brilliant.
“It is so important to revise, even if you think you know everything, and to keep organised.”
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 developed a really exciting career programme and one of our managers is specifically tasked with supporting the trainees throughout the various stages.
“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.
“I’m confident we have a very capable next generation workforce.”
For more information visit www.stephenson-smart.co.uk