Over the two days, we covered a huge amount with the students who attended. Here’s a summary of the highlights:
ACCOUNTANCY ACADEMY DAY ONE
On this day we covered the following:
- What does an Accountant Do?
- Routes into Accountancy
We then split the students up into teams of six and they worked through the challenges below.
We kicked off with an icebreaker. Many of the students didn’t know each other, so this was a great opportunity to put them into teams and set a challenge. Our Tutors, Ben & Alex and Skills Coach Gemma, tasked them with building the tallest tower possible out of cups and sellotape. The tower had to hold an apple for 10 seconds.
The teams quickly got to know each other and produced some interesting towers. Ben timed the winner but the main benefit of this exercise was that everyone got to know one another and felt more comfortable being in a team with people they’d only just met.
Feeling comfortable was vital for the next part of the day, as the teams really needed to work together. Alex, Ben and Gemma our Accountancy Leads, gave them a case study about a clothing company. The text gave an overview of the company, explained their current market and gave some suggestions about how they might expand the business to account for a fall in profits. The team set to work on coming up with their suggested direction for the company’s future. Each team presented back their rationale and three things really stood out.
- Each team had done a considerable amount of research in a short space of time, with only their mobile phones and one laptop to share in each team to aid them.
- All of the team’s knowledge of business was already at a great standard with lots of technical terms being used correctly.
- Everyone in each team took a turn at presenting which showed impressive confidence and teamwork.
A HEAD FOR FIGURES
So having analysed the company from a strategic perspective, the teams now turned their attention to the figures behind the company. They were given data that showed financial and KPI’s of the company over the past four years. This included profits, sales, assets and HR data such as staff turnover and satisfaction. We asked them to explain what conclusions they could draw from the data they’d been given. Again we were impressed by the conclusions each team had come up with.
ACCOUNTANCY ACADEMY DAY TWO
The Academy continued on day two, this day was all about the world of work and continued to explain the routes into accounting and financial roles.
MEET THE EXPERTS
We had two professionals, Jamie Durham and Gemma Pritchard-Jones, from Pure Resourcing Solutions, join us to deliver a CV and Interview Skills workshop. They both did a fantastic job on giving the students helpful tips and advice on making their CV’s ’employer ready’ and offered the students 1-2-1 sessions at the end of the workshop to go through their CV’s. In addition to this, Jamie and Gemma also delivered mock interviews covering competency based questions, aiding the students through the process so they left feeling ready to meet a potential employer.
THE GRANDE FINALE – EMPLOYER Q&A PANEL
Given the increasing importance of school leavers to many employers, we think this is a valuable role we can play in engaging with the next generation of finance leaders.
We were delighted to invite some of our local employers, Julian Day, Director at Day Accountants, Robbie Moss, Assistant Manger at Deloitte UK, Becky Glover, Finance Manager at VNC Automotive, Stacey Lee, Divisional Head of Finance at Addenbrookes Hospital, Trina Nunn, Partner at Whiting & Partners Ltd, Sarah Richards, Practice Manager at Hardcastle Burton LLP and a surprise guest appearance from Vernon Anderson, 38th President of the AAT, to join Gareth John, Chief Executive Chairman of First Intuition Cambridge, on our Q&A panel.
It was great to see the students engage with the employers and asking insightful questions about careers in Accountancy & Finance, it was also interesting to hear what the employers had to say and sharing their experiences with the students. Some key things we picked up on during the Q&A were:
- Not one of them went to University after leaving school.
- In the last 3 or 4 years, most of the employers have recruited less grads and more A-level candidates.
- Apprenticeship programmes are the best way to get into the workplace. You are learning all the time and they allow you to reflect on how to improve.
- Accountants don’t need maths. Analytical skills such as you build studying history or geography are more important, as are people skills such as listening and communication. Attitude is also critical.
After the Q&A, the students got a chance to meet with the panel and ask any specific questions they had. We finished off the day with some feedback and here’s what some of the students had to say:
“The Accountancy Academy helped me get rid of any misunderstanding of what accountancy involves. My highlights from the academy is the case study on the first day, I found it very useful for showing me what to take notice of and the different strategies that can be used. I found the talk with the employers really useful because it showed me what different routes you can take in accountancy” – Elise Chin
“I have learnt the different sectors of accountancy, the key skills that are necessary for the different qualifications and it has opened my eyes to what accountancy involves. My highlight from the Accountancy Academy was having the opportunity to speak to potential employers and learn more about each firm. The Academy has changed my view on apprenticeships, I feel this is a better option for me than going to University” – Alice Carder
“I found the presentation workshop extremely useful and helped to develop my confidence. I have realised that there is a lot more to accountancy than just number work. I have found the managerial approach to accounting intriguing and would like to pursue this further” – Luke Schultz
To find out more about apprenticeships with First Intuition, please go to FI Apprenticeships
To search for opportunities in your area, we recommend checking the government’s apprenticeship site here