Will Morris started his career with RSM Channel Islands as a trainee chartered accountant in 2016. He has been in the job for just over two years.
"I don’t think accountancy necessarily has a fair reputation," Will says. "It is often portrayed as boring and repetitive, with accountants stuck behind computer screens playing with spreadsheets all day. In reality, accountancy, especially in the Jersey finance industry, is a fast-moving and constantly changing environment."
Will, who hails from Basingstoke in Hampshire, considered various career options when he was younger including being a chef and personal trainer. However, it was during his chemistry degree at the University of Leicester that his interest in a career in accountancy first formed.
"I was drawn to accountancy because I like solving problems, and I like analysing information," he explains. "From the research undertook at the time, accountancy seemed like a natural fit as a career path which played to all of my strengths and interests."
When asked why he chose RSM, Will highlighted that it was important that he found somewhere he felt he would be valued as an individual.
"Working at RSM appealed to me because it allows me to take on more responsibility," he says. "We have some projects where I report directly to the partners, so there is no risk of getting lost in the crowd."
Will explains that he had interviews at a number of potential employers in the UK and Jersey but that it was the "feel" of RSM during the interview process that really appealed to him.
"I felt it was important to find the right employer for me rather than simply accepting the first opportunity that came along. Throughout the interview process I had a strong feeling that RSM was the best place for me."
Will comments that he considers this "feeling" to be an important decision in selecting an employer.
"I didn’t think that I should accept a role that didn’t feel right. The training contract is a significant undertaking in terms of the time you have to dedicate to studying, so I believe it is really important to find a firm that feels like a comfortable fit."
However, there is more to Will’s role than just studying for exams. ‘When talking about the work-experience element of the training contract, the firm offers me access to a range of clients from large financial institutions to successful local enterprises. I had direct contact with clients at an early stage, which was a really good introduction to the role."
The firm’s client base allows Will to gain a range of experiences through his training contract.
"One day I could be auditing a multinational company, and the next I could be preparing the accounts for a local business. I really enjoy the variety that this offers, and it means that no two days are ever the same. I didn’t want to be pigeonholed so being able to gain experience from a variety of assignments was really appealing."
However, Will adds a note of caution to anyone considering a career in accountancy. He says: "Getting the balance right between work, study and home life is important. While I was made aware of the challenges before starting, until you actually go through it you don’t fully appreciate what you will face."
"The frequency of exams is particularly challenging; I spent the first 2 weeks at college with exams immediately following and it continues from there. Just as you finish one set of exams it seems as though you are moving on to study for the next. But if you pass all your exams first time this does have the big attraction that you can complete your studies in just over 2 years, which is a great motivation."
Will also remarks that you don’t have to have any prior experience in accountancy or finance.
"A friend of mine recently asked me if he would be able to work in accountancy if he studied for a biology degree. I actually had no accountancy experience before I started with RSM, and my colleagues, both qualified accountants and trainees like myself, studied degree courses ranging from psychology to history to English. Some didn’t do a degree at all, as studying to be an accountant can be undertaken by school leavers following completion of their A-levels."
Will highlights this diversity as a positive thing.
"Working with people from all sorts of backgrounds means that our approach to problems and situations come from entirely different perspectives. This means that we are often able to find solutions to all types of scenarios presented by our clients."
We are recruiting at RSM
Will works for RSM Channel Islands which is an Approved Employer with both The Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales and The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants. Roles are currently available, including trainee positions to commence in autumn 2019. Individuals wishing to apply should submit a covering message / letter and full CV by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
RSM is the world’s sixth largest provider of audit, tax and consultancy services, encompassing 120 countries, 800 offices and more than 43,000 people. All member firms remain independent legal entities within the RSM international network, but trade as RSM.
This article was published in the Winter 2018 Jersey Evening Post Careers and Employment Review supplement.