A leap of faith! Azets employee and ACCA student Cameron Sharp

content leap of faith

Cameron Sharp, assistant in Azets' Accounts & Business Advisory team in Hertford UK, talks about his journey in accountancy, including life at Azets, tips for school leavers and graduates on choosing the right career path, and how he manages to stay on track studying ACCA while working full time.

My journey in accountancy began in 2018, going into a school leaver role directly after finishing my A levels. I have continued to work in practice since, having completed the AAT qualification continuing to ACCA.

Committing to going into full-time employment while studying for exams is a daunting decision for a school leaver. I was no exception, given that I had no experience working in an office, let alone in an accountancy practice. Therefore, I consider this leap of faith into this work/study lifestyle and staying on track to be my proudest career achievement to date.

My advice to any graduate or school leaver looking at various accountancy career pathways is to build a foundation of knowledge and form your own opinions prior to applying for roles. Practice or Industry? What are the basics of accountancy and the work I will be doing? What pace do I want to/can I take my exams? Finding answers to questions like these will make the learning curve of the corporate world a little less steep.

Personally, my main reason for choosing Azets was that as a top 10 practice, I knew there would be more opportunities for me to specialise. Being at a smaller firm previously meant that I was often spread across a variety of teams such as audit, personal tax, trust accounts/tax.

I was informed prior to joining Azets that the work culture is great, and I was not disappointed. From the beginning, I have always been able to turn to my seniors and peers for any guidance regarding the ACCA Qualification. Furthermore, we have been on various social events since I have joined, such as Topgolf and Bowling. Our team is based in Hertford so will occasionally go out to a restaurant or a pub for lunch. Working with people you enjoy socialising with outside the workplace enhances the overall experience tenfold.

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Being at Azets means I can utilise the luxury of hybrid working. Working from home saves me an hour and a half a day of travelling on average, which is invaluable when studying for upcoming exams. In an average week, I will usually go into the office at least twice or more if there are any important meetings to attend.

content cameron sharp azetsFlexible hours mean I can start and leave earlier if I have an out of work social event, such as going to watch the football team I support… Arsenal. But as someone who is not a morning person, I will usually start and finish later. Having the freedom to amend the normal 9-5 in office week not only avoids monotony, but enables organisation of my life out of work.

Although I work exclusively in the accounts department, no day is the same as my role involves a variety of responsibilities. Some examples are preparing and reviewing accounts/tax returns, going to clients' premises, creating and hosting training resources for trainees, and improving my teams’ internal processes. But it is vital that I start my day in the same way, with me planning out what I need to achieve, as being organised is a key attribute of this line of work.

I will usually finish my day in the same way too, by heading straight to the gym after work. Throughout my childhood, I actively participated in sport (especially football), so having this release helps me to unwind. Admittedly, accountancy is not a physically mobile line of work, so I believe staying active in my spare time is important.

Although challenging, accountancy is extremely rewarding with thanks to the AAT and ACCA qualifications gained alongside work experience. The main benefits of ACCA to me being the quality of the teaching and relevance of the content to the workplace. But most importantly, the endless career paths and opportunities being fully qualified will present.

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