Following her A-levels, Sophie Liron knew that university was not for her and after looking at different work-based qualifications decided upon accountancy. With RSM Channel Islands she saw her best route to success.
Growing up, Sophie had a variety of ideas of what job she might like to do. ‘As a young child accountancy was not on the list, I leaned towards what seemed like more exciting jobs, like a vet, or a lawyer, or maybe a princess!’.
Having successfully completed her A-levels, Sophie knew she wanted to continue studying and gain further qualifications but was also keen to return to Jersey. ‘I researched the various options open to me and decided returning to full time education and University, while right for some people, wasn’t for me. I investigated various different work based qualifications and identified accountancy as the best fit. My research told me it would provide a structured three year training programme, including on the job training with plenty of client interaction, study support and a diverse day to day working environment.’
Sophie considered a number of potential accountancy qualifications but focussed on the higher profile ACA and ACCA. ‘Ultimately I chose to study ACCA but did consider both options including their approach to exams and the different syllabuses. Possibly most importantly, I listened to the advice of my peers who were already working in the finance industry and studying for a variety of qualifications.’
‘Having made this decision, I then had to do my research again to identify the type of firm that would provide me with the best opportunity to succeed. We are very lucky in Jersey to have a wide range of firms offering accountancy training. There are the Big Four firms or smaller local firms and nowadays it is also possible to train with other financial services firms that provide opportunities outside of the traditional routes.’
Sophie notes that: ‘There is a lot of choice, but I knew each firm would offer a different experience reflecting their size, clients, structure and culture. I did my research, which included some temporary work and made the decision a larger organisation was not where I wanted to be. RSM Channel Islands appeared the best option for me as it is a Jersey firm with a varied client base of local and international clients but with the added advantage of being part of a global network.’
‘Having undertaken this research I then gave myself the best opportunity to succeed by making sure I could demonstrate my knowledge of the ACCA and RSM Channel Islands in the interview process. I wanted the interviewer to be aware I had made an informed choice and really wanted the job. I have had the opportunity to meet several potential candidates since I joined RSM Channel Islands and the ones who are memorable to me are those that had not only undertaken research into the options open to them but who could also articulate their research in the interview process.’
When asked whether she made the right choice, Sophie says: ‘It is important for each person to undertake their own research as different accountancy training providers will suit different people, but looking back I can say that I chose the right firm for me.’
‘What I like best about my role at RSM Channel Islands is that although it is mainly tax focused, a specialism that I really enjoy, I have gained training and experience in accounts preparation, audit and have also worked on financial due diligence projects. And it is not just my work that is varied - my clients range from local individuals to multinational corporations, all of which gives me an amazing breadth of experience I did not anticipate when I started my training contract.’
When asked what advice she would give to school leavers, Sophie says: ‘I would recommend they make themselves aware of the available options and do their research on them. Make the decision that is best for you. For some it will be going to university, for others stopping study all together, or like me you may be interested in continuing a mix of study and work. Whichever choice you make, be sure you have investigated all your options.‘
Sophie spent her early years in Jersey before moving to the UK with her family. Returning to Jersey having completed her A-levels, she joined RSM Channel Islands as trainee tax assistant in 2012.
About RSM Channel Islands
RSM Channel Islands is an Approved Employer with both The Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales and The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, and Sophie took advantage of the training opportunities this provides. Candidates wishing to apply for training positions with us should submit a covering letter and full CV by email to email@example.com.
This article was published in the April 2017 Jersey Evening Post Careers and Employment Review supplement, a copy of which can be seen here.