So you’re thinking of becoming a chartered accountant?

18th July 2019

By Mark Dickinson, Partner

I decided to become a chartered accountant while I was studying for my A levels. It appealed to me as a very useful professional qualification, which would open lots of doors in the future. I chose Wise & Co for its locality, but also for its diverse range of clients. The firm specialises in owner managed businesses, charities and not for profit organisations. I therefore felt I would get comprehensive work experience. It would also meaning earning a salary while I completed the accountancy training!

Why I love my job as a chartered accountant

During my career as a chartered accountant I have not been disappointed.  My qualification and my day to day job have given me unique knowledge about how businesses and organisations function successfully.  That’s because accountants’ roles and their specialist knowledge are integral and help management teams to make key decisions.  I see myself not just as someone who can provide technical accounting knowledge but as a problem solver and business adviser.  My job has enabled me to work with many business owner managers in lots of different industry sectors.  I’ve also worked with the trustees of charities and not for profit organisations such as academy schools.  The close working relationship I have them with I regard as a privilege. I love sharing my experience and thoughts from both an accountancy and commercial point of view.

A career as a chartered accountant can open lots of doors

Having trained at Wise & Co, I decided to work my way from an audit and accounts junior to a partner.  While I chose practice, some of my colleagues who I trained with left and went into industry.  A number have gone on to become finance directors or have followed other senior finance or accountancy related career paths. Others have taken more diverse management roles – from leadership to strategy and planning, to turning a business around, to running or working with a charitable or not for profit organisation.  Once you have passed the exams and completed the training you can become a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants. This gives you a qualification that is internationally recognised and you can benefit from opportunities abroad too.

What the Wise & Co staff think

I have been Wise & Co’s HR partner for a number of years now. I have recruited and trained over one hundred students, which has given me a further sense of achievement.  But, our trainee accountants don’t all work in the accounts and audit department. Some of them choose to train in our tax department.  When you study you learn about the taxes which companies or charities or individuals pay.

One of our managers, Kelly, chose to specialise in tax and she told me why she enjoys what she does.  For her the challenge is saving clients’ money by ensuring that they pay the right amount of tax.

She said, “Yes, tax doesn’t have to be taxing but it is.  The research undertaken can be time consuming, because there may be a crucial timing issue or one of the all-important conditions might be overlooked.  And just when you think you’ve cracked it, that little piece of legislation hidden deep within the archives, bites.  But the results can be rewarding.  The bite might be aimed at HMRC … and the client due a potential refund.”

Another member of the team, Dave, enjoys putting his technology skills to use. He likes writing queries and reports to export key data from our systems. As legislation continually changes we need to be vigilant about which of our clients may be affected.

What do I enjoy most?  It’s variety and people that come top. It’s the sense of achievement when a client comes to you with an issue to solve. By working together you find a solution that enables their business to grow.  And of course, I can’t forget the Wise & Co team.  All in all nothing beats it!

Fancy giving it a go?

Are you a school leaver or a graduate and do you fancy giving a career in accountancy a go?  Get in touch about opportunities – we’d love to hear from you!


About the author

Mark is Head of Wise & Co’s charity and not for profit team.  He joined Wise & Co as a trainee in 1987 and over the years he has worked on a wide range of clients ranging from those in the charity and not for profit sector to owner managed businesses and legal practices.  He maintains a very practical approach to problem solving, dovetailing technical advice with an organisation’s or a business’ overall aspirations for the future.

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