One of Hereford’s most prominent firms of accountants, Thorne Widgery, is sharing the experiences of its trainees as several achieve top qualifications following their training with the firm.
Thorne Widgery has been recognised regionally for its work training apprentices and so it should come as no surprise that Hannah Ayres, Sioned Price and Hollie Moore have passed their final ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) exams and are now fully qualified.
The ACCA is one of the most prestigious accreditations within the profession and all three trainees completed their studies, alongside their day to day work supporting the practice’s clients and Directors.
Hollie Moore began working at Thorne Widgery after University, she said: “After completing a placement year I knew that I wanted to move back to Hereford and work in practice, after some research I found that TW was one of the largest practices in Hereford and they had departments in all areas of accountancy, therefore there were several opportunities for growth and development.
“Even though ACCA is an accountancy qualification, many aspects of the course look at the bigger picture within a business and not just the finances. This helps when providing business advice as you gain a broad knowledge base with the course.”
Thorne Widgery has a long history of supporting trainees and apprentices to progress throughout the profession and is proud of the fact that its current CEO, Daniel Crowther, originally began his career as an apprentice.
Another of the firm’s apprentices, Ben Roberts, had this to say about his reasons for choosing an apprenticeship and what stood out to him about Thorne Widgery.
He said: “Once I finished university, I decided that an accountancy career was something I wanted to pursue. The apprenticeship scheme that TW offer was a great opportunity for me to study the ACCA programme whilst being in practice.
“TW stood out to me as they were unique when compared to any other accountancy practice. Offering more services than other firms and being ahead of the market in so many aspects including the innovation sector, TW knows how to make accountancy fun. As well as this, the team were really nice upon meeting them and I settled into the TW workplace very quickly.”
His views are shared with AAT (Association of Accounting Technicians) apprentice George Tindale, he said he had found the training “very good” and felt there was “a nice balance” between his studies and work.
“Thorne Widgery support me very well, as I have a workplace mentor and have regular meetings to discuss progress and how to improve,” he explained.
“There are many other apprentices at higher levels, who qualified with the firm and who have been on the same journey, so they can relate to similar issues I have faced and offer practical advice.”
George encouraged other graduates, school leavers and those looking for a career change through an apprenticeship to “go for it”. Like many who choose an apprenticeship, he didn’t want to go to university to study full time.
He said: “The apprenticeship programme benefitted me as it got me into the working environment.
“I am also earning a wage while studying instead of building up debts. The experience is very valuable and you get a better appreciation for what you are learning at college, as you can then apply it in your daily work.”
Thorne Widgery provides an established and experienced learning environment for apprentices, with exposure to a range of clients, sectors and accounting disciplines.
In time, after proving that they have the attitude, technical capability and personal drive required, opportunities available to trainees are only limited by their ambition.
Diane Sheldon, Learning & Development and HR Manager at Thorne Widgery, said: “IT and continuous software developments mean the world of accountancy has changed and will continue to re-invent itself.
“Gone are the days that ‘being good with maths’ meant you would make a good accountant. Now, as well as an aptitude for figures, you need to be able to build and retain relationships, provide advice and guidance and use the information from the software to be able to add value to your clients by planning ahead, sharing ideas or introducing them to other professionals who can also support their business. In many ways, you are their ‘Trusted Advisor’.”
She said that attitude was key to success within TW, and those that thrive have a “can do”, proactive, customer-focused approach and look for the “what, where and how could we do things better?”
“Many individuals within our team take the lead on organising business and social activities or participating in charitable events for which we often sponsor and support,” she added.
When looking for potential candidates, Thorne Widgery looks at their educational qualifications, any previous work experience, indications as to why they are seeking a career in accountancy and an insight into them as an individual, either within the CV or the covering letter/email.
“We can train the technical, we can provide the opportunities, we can help them in being organised, but we think the right attitude is one where they are prepared to ‘have a go’, maybe take the initiative and, when they think it’s necessary, challenge the status quo,” said Diane.
Diane said that there were lots of opportunities to progress within the firm, be it via client management, audit or tax or even through the innovations team, developing new solutions to assist clients.
“We value having apprentices within our business, who we hope will be the future of TW – pro-actively embracing the changes and challenges that our profession faces.
“Due to the size and skills within our business, we enable apprentices to be exposed to a range of specialisms.”
Diane said that its internal mentoring enabled apprentices to develop and improve on their training skills and enables them to develop their technical skills at a higher level, whilst the apprentice learns at the level suited to the qualification they are undertaking.
“Having apprentices within the business enables our business to grow, develop the skills of our employees and maintain the succession planning within TW,” she added.
To find out more about career opportunities with Thorne Widgery, please visit www.thornewidgery.co.uk/about-us/our-career-paths