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A day in the life of an Assistant Accountant

Are you interested in finance jobs? If you’re wondering what it’s like to work within the finance industry, this interview with an Assistant Accountant will give you an insight into what to expect from this role.

How long have you been an Assistant Accountant?

I’ve been in the role of Assistant Accountant since 15 December 2020. I work for a start-up company in the fashion industry that’s less than a year old. The turnover is quite good, £3 million last month, so it’s very fast paced.

Why did you choose to be an Assistant Accountant?

I’ve worked in accounts since I was 16 and I want to stay on this career path as I really enjoy it, and because every day is different.

What qualifications or experience did you need to get your job? 

I’ve got the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) level four qualification and I’m also part way through my Advanced Certificate in Corporate Finance (ACCF).

What was your interview process like? 

The process was quite quick. I spoke to my Recruitment Consultant at Tate about the job on the Friday morning and by the afternoon I had an interview date. On the day of the interview, I spoke with the company Managing Director on the phone and then, by 11 o’clock, I was told that I’d got the job.

Can you talk us through a typical day as an Assistant Accountant?

For example, a typical Friday would be creating a payment run. First, I'll make sure all of the invoices are on the system and approved, then I create a payment run on an Excel spreadsheet, downloading the information I need from the Dynamics platform. I ask my boss to approve the run and put a request into the bank so that I can make the payments. I also put the sales and purchase invoices onto the system. That’s what happens on Fridays, but other days are never the same.

Recently I was asked to set up and implement our Microsoft Dynamics accounting software and that involved a lot of my time. I needed to integrate the system and set it all up from scratch. It was hard work, but I enjoyed it because I was learning something new.

What software do you use to do your job?

In this role we use Microsoft Dynamics and Excel, but in my previous role I was using Sage and Xero. Every company is different, so there’s always something new to learn.

What are your working hours like? 

It's normally nine to five, but currently I often finish at about 6.30 / 7.00pm. We’re all working at full capacity to meet deadlines, but we have a new team member starting soon, so that will help.

What are the best bits about being an Assistant Accountant?

I am constantly learning new things. I have implemented a lot of new processes and procedures. I’ve been working on some things that I am not normally responsible for, like reports, cash flow analysis and calculating the VAT for EU customers.

What are the least enjoyable bits about being an Assistant Accountant?

Sometimes, it's a lot of input and output of data, which can get a bit boring.

What skills do you think you have developed by being an Assistant Accountant that you wouldn't have gained elsewhere?

Learning other countries’ VAT requirements as our company sells its products to Europe, along with learning specific software, such as Dynamics, which enables me to formulate the required reports.

What is the most important skill you need to succeed in your role? 

I speak to a lot of people on a daily basis, so I have learnt to be patient and use my initiative to obtain all the information that I need.

Was it a different process starting a new role during a lockdown? 

I feel it was a faster process than usual. It took about five working days for me to get a job after being made redundant.

Are you supported by a team leader or a manager?

Yes, I've got a manager, an interim Financial Director (FD), but she's only here for another month. There should be a new FD in a couple of months’ time.

Do you have any plans for additional qualifications or career progression?

I’ve started my Advance Certificate in Corporate Finance (ACCF), hopefully I’ll pass that next year and that will give me Chartered Accountant status, which should boost my salary.

What advice would you give to newcomers or those considering this job?

Do your Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) and ACCF straight way, instead of going to university.

Would you recommend your job to a friend?

Yes, I would. I’ve got a few friends who are accountants, and they like it.

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