So, Jodie, tell us a little bit about you and what you were doing before you started studying at First Intuition?
I’m from Colchester; I’ve lived here nearly all my life. I have a degree in Film Studies but found it difficult to gain a job in the industry. After my degree I went travelling for 7 months and when I got home I needed to get a job as soon as possible, so applied for retail work. A year later I realised that working in retail was supposed to be a short-term thing and I needed to figure out what I wanted to do. I wanted an administrative role with the prospect of creating and gaining a career. I now work for Milbank Concrete Products Limited as an Assistant Accountant in their accounts department and they provided me with an apprentice scheme to study AAT at F.I.
But why accountancy and what inspired you to keep going with your studies?
I have a friend who currently studies with F.I. she is doing an ACCA course and explained the kind of work she does and the potential career she could gain from her studies. I have always liked the idea working with numbers as there can only be a right or wrong answer, a piece of art one person may see as worthless, but another sees as priceless, whereas 2 + 2 = 4 in all countries. I originally looked into self-funding my AAT course, but my friend advised me that a lot of companies are happy to either fund the course themselves or use the government apprenticeship scheme, so I was lucky enough to find a company that would do that for me.
How did you find your studies and were there any highlights for you?
I’m still studying now, so I’m sure there will be many more aspects I enjoy but a highlight for me has been the Indirect Tax module and the Management Accounting Cost module because for me this best relates to my current work role and I can see the relation between study and work. I think the tutors at F.I have really made a difference to my study they are so friendly and approachable and some of them are actively working within accountancy, relating the theory back to real life work examples. I also think that the online support from staff has been brilliant, along with the different programmes and online lessons which have made a massive impact on my revision and exam results.
Was there anything you found particularly hard or any challenges you had to overcome?
I have found it hard getting back into the discipline of studying and revising at home. It’s been a long time since I was a student but with the course dates set out for you and the two-week period provided for the revision and taking the actual exam, I’ve found that has helped channel my time keeping. I have found the skills days enjoyable but a lot of the skills covered, I have already had experience in. I understand that F.I. have to cater to everyone on the course , either through college, university or work, so it was still good to go over them again.
I also have dyslexia with spelling and reading, F.I. have been incredible at supplying the support and help I need to overcome some of the difficulties that arise with dyslexia.
Have you got any advice for anyone thinking of starting accountancy studies?
F.I. is a brilliant facility, with amazing staff and system support. My advice would be to follow the tutor’s advice and recommended timescale. I think this has been the key to my success so far, I have passed all of my exams due to the preparation I have made. Also, don’t be afraid if you’re not quite sure what aspect of accountancy you would like to have a career in, F.I. accommodate for this and give you an understanding of various job roles you could potentially apply for.
It is really important to follow the tutor’s advice, when they recommend doing some revision, do it. If they say you need to put in some extra time, make the time. Otherwise things can easily become over whelming. It is essential to your success that you take on board the advice given and manage your time well at college, work and home. If you do this, I think you will find the course just as enjoyable and achievable as I have…. take control of your education and your future career in accountancy!
So, what does the future have in store for you?
I’m looking to stay in Management Accounting as this is will allow me to work for many different companies. My plan is to finish Level 3 AAT, then complete Level 4 AAT, which will give me a qualification in accountancy. Once I have this, I will then have the option to take my ACCA and skip the first three modules, because I have obtained AAT Level 3 and 4.
At First Intuition, we not only offer our students the chance to study to become a fully qualified Accountant, we also offer many people the opportunity to learn whilst they are working. Many of our students already work in industry and some receive help from their employees whilst other fund their own courses. Those that have their employers backing may get time off from work, as well as getting their course paid for and whilst sometimes this is an informal arrangement, there is now a more structured way of doing this and it’s called an apprenticeship. As an apprentice, you get ‘on the job’ training, as well as formal study which accounts for at least 20% of your time.