Charting a successful career in accountancy
There are typically two routes you can take to become a chartered accountant. One is to join the ACA programme as a university graduate with a degree. The other is to enter an accounting apprenticeship after completing A-levels and working towards the AAT qualiﬁcation. Both routes are well respected within the industry and provide the basis for a rewarding and interesting career.
The Apprenticeship Route
Emily Denton, now an Audit Senior at MHA’s Thames Valley ofﬁce in Maidenhead joined the ﬁrm in August 2017 after doing A-levels and is due to qualify shortly. Here’s her experience of an MHA apprenticeship:
“I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do when I left school, but I enjoyed studying maths and economics and wanted to work towards a well-regarded professional qualiﬁcation that would open the door to multiple opportunities in future and build practical experience at the same time. Being able to earn a competitive salary whilst learning and gaining hands-on experience has given me a far greater degree of ﬁnancial independence and conﬁdence in a professional work environment. I’ve also had the beneﬁt of going to college and socialising with people my own age, so I really feel I have had the best of both worlds and haven’t been left with a lot of debt.
“One of the most compelling aspects of the MHA apprenticeship has been the opportunity to work on clients in multiple industries, varying in size and complexity right from the start. Within the ﬁrst few weeks, I was seeing theory in practice, doing actual client work; speaking to clients and going out on-site. The work I have been involved with has given me ‘real world’ understanding of the things I was covering at college and vice versa. While it was quite daunting to begin with, you are always working with more experienced and supportive team members, so you are continually learning, developing, and reﬁning skills and abilities in a commercial environment.
“Throughout the apprenticeship, I have had opportunities to work in audit, accounts and tax, and have a secondment planned next year to work in the corporate ﬁnance team. So there’s opportunities across the business. I’ve also beneﬁtted from the experience of working with some of the partners and directors of MHA, which I don’t think you would get in some of the larger ﬁrms.
“The internal training has been brilliant; both in person and online, with access to the 24/7 training portal that offers bitesize courses for all levels, services, and sectors, as well as resources for developing other skills, such as communication, leadership, and time management.
“The AAT apprenticeship leads into the ACA, so it’s been three years of each and once qualiﬁed, there is no limit to career progression. Via the apprenticeship route, you have the advantage of more years of hands-on practical experience and more time to build connections and long-standing working relationships.
“Accountancy is not just crunching numbers on a spreadsheet. It has been really interesting and varied dealing with clients and getting to know their business, while learning the profession.”
The Graduate route
Jasmine Northeast, Assistant Tax Manager at MHA’s Thames Valley ofﬁce also joined the ﬁrm in August 2017 after completing her degree at Henley Business School. Here’s her experience of the MHA trainee programme for Graduates:
“I did work experience when I was at high school at a local accountancy ﬁrm, which inspired me to study accountancy at A level and then accounting and management at university. The ﬁrst year at uni was quite technical, providing a ﬁ rm foundation, with practical modules that conveniently counted towards parts of the ACA. The second and third year explored more comprehensive and advanced areas of accounting and business, including Management Accounting, Corporate Financial Reporting and Business Finance with optional modules depending on your career objectives.
“Having always enjoyed maths and problem solving, I particularly enjoyed the tax module at uni and subsequently the work experience I did at MHA in the tax department, so I applied for the MHA tax trainee programme and haven’t looked back!
"MHA’s comprehensive 3-year training programme blends practical experience, theoretical knowledge and professional exam training, paired with a supportive mentor to help guide and support you. The ﬁrm has also introduced a series of bitesize “Tax shouldn’t be taxing” sessions, giving insights on all areas of personal, employment, corporate, indirect and international tax, alongside access to a 24/7 training portal.
"Being in the ofﬁce with other trainees, surrounded by experienced tax professionals, committed to sharing their knowledge, has been fundamental to my career development. Listening in to conversations, discussing new tax legislation and collaborating on different client matters has all been invaluable; as has the time they’ve taken to address all of my technical questions, delving into the various intricacies and nuances of tax, with access to the Tolley library for further research.
"I’ve been able to work with a whole a range of clients, from owner-managed businesses to large global enterprises, which has made me really appreciate how broad corporation tax actually is; and I’ve been able to get involved in a variety of different projects, such as one recently on Pillar 2, global minimum tax rules for multinational businesses.
"There’s also the opportunity for international secondments across the Baker Tilly International network, and I am hoping to go to our BTI ﬁrm in Sydney next year to work on Australian corporation tax and Research & Development claims; which will be an exciting opportunity to develop my tax knowledge, build network connections and travel!
"The MHA graduate trainee path has been a great opportunity, that I would highly recommend to others.”
Apprenticeships for school leavers and graduates at MHA
Audit / Accounts – ACA or ACCA
Tax – ATT & CTA
Entry requirements: you must have (or be predicted to achieve) a minimum of 112 UCAS points at A2 level (or equivalent), all gained in the same exam period and excluding General Studies, and have (or be predicted to achieve) a 2.1 degree or higher. Or AAT qualiﬁed.
Audit / Accounts – AAT higher apprenticeship
Tax – ATT higher apprenticeship
Entry requirements: you must have (or be predicted to achieve) a minimum of 112 UCAS points at A2 level (or equivalent) excluding General Studies and all gained in the same exam period.
- Top 15 UK Accountancy ﬁrm with ofﬁces across the UK and access to a global network of 30,000 people spanning 145 countries.
- Investors In People GOLD award accredited.
- British Accountancy Award winners: National Firm of the Year, Tax Team of the Year & Large Firm Graduate & Non-Graduate Programme of the Year.
- DIBS (Diversity, Inclusion, Belonging & Social impact), Wellbeing and Social Committees.
What you can expect
- Fully funded study opportunities for globally recognised professional qualiﬁcations.
- On the job training working alongside highly-skilled professionals.
- Dedicated mentor and personal development plan to support your career development.
- Access to our 24/7 training portal offering bitesize courses for all levels, services, and sectors; as well as resources for developing business skills.
At MHA It would be impossible for us to provide the service we do without the knowledge, ideas, and creativity of our employees. Our team is the heart of our business, and we are committed to helping our people reach their potential and thrive in the workplace.
We offer roles on both pathways across all our ofﬁces, as well as opportunities for experienced professionals and work experience placements. Through a combination of formal training, study and hands on practical experience, your career will develop and expand as far as your hard work will take you.
Last year we took on over 100 trainees, with 9 of those at our Thames Valley ofﬁce in Maidenhead and applications for our September 2024 intake are open until the end of January!