An image of Jonathan in a suit

March 28, 2024, by brzms6

Accountancy journey as a Russian graduate

By Jonathan Tait, Page Kirk Trainee Accountant and Russian Studies Graduate

Ever since starting my final year at University of Nottingham, I was uncertain where I wanted to start my professional life. Studying Russian Studies at university, meant that it felt like my options were fairly limited. This prompted me to ask myself: What can I honestly envisage myself doing as a job that will give me a sense of accomplishment and pride in my professional development?

After some research, I came across the ACA apprenticeship and immediately, I was drawn to the fact that it involves studying completely new areas of society and culminated in a such a prestigious qualification. The ACA (Associate Chartered Accountant) qualification is delivered by the ICAEW (Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales) and after you have completed it, you become a chartered accountant. This was a very intriguing proposition because, despite the fun I had studying Russian, I felt I was not ready to stop studying. The ACA apprenticeship allowed me to get my feet on the ground in the working world, while also enabling me to study accountancy, which I had never come close to studying before. I enrolled at Page Kirk (an accountancy firm based in Nottingham offering a graduate scheme) as an apprentice to study for the ACA qualification. What’s more, Page Kirk pays for all the tuition and exams and they give you time off to support you with your studies. Once qualified, there will be an opportunity to work in America for three months as part of their work exchange programme made possible by Page Kirk’s membership of Accelerate – a network of accountancy firms affiliated with Crowe Global.

Starting a job anywhere is undoubtedly an intimidating prospect, however my time at university taught me more than I had realised, about balancing work and free time and I found myself pursing similar methods of managing my time once I had started the apprenticeship. Perhaps the most daunting prospect how making friends with my colleagues. However, this turned out to be easier than I could have ever hoped. I discovered the skills I gained during my year abroad living in Russia had perfectly equipped me for meeting and befriending new people and this time I didn’t even have to do it in a foreign language! With this being said, even without my experience abroad, making friends at Page Kirk would never have been an issue considering the level of kindness and support everyone at the firm shows.

In the office, my lack of expertise didn’t once put me at a disadvantage, because the more senior members of staff had been through exactly what I was going through when they started their accountancy journeys. I was given a very manageable workload in size and complexity, which allowed me to start developing my skills in the office and also get to know my brilliant colleagues. As the first few weeks went by, I discovered that my knowledge of Russian came in handy in surprising ways. The accountancy work which I was given required a very methodical and strategic approach, with each section of an accounts job having its own intricacies and rules. This was very similar to my language learning experience since Russian has a complicated but consistent grammatical structure. Treating accounts in this way, meant I was able to compartmentalise the new knowledge I was gaining and build on the rules which were important for each section of new knowledge.

I am now nearly 6 months into my time on the ACA apprenticeship and I could not be happier with my decision to pursue the ACA qualification. It has been hard work, but incredibly rewarding and has allowed me to discover a genuine passion for an area of work and academia which 18 months ago, I would not have been able to envisage myself being a part of.

Are you graduating in 2024? Looking for some work experience? Search for jobs and placements available via MyCareer where there is a wide variety of roles and organisations to join. 

Posted in Alumni StoriesChoosing Your Career