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    Accounting Career Interviews: We have been speaking with accountants from all different backgrounds, you can read Episode 1-8 on our news wall.

Fellows Finance are a recruitment firm who focus on finding accountants and other finance staff for accountancy firms and small, medium and large international businesses. 

We are a subsidiary of recruitment firm Fellows and Associates, who have a long track record in the recruitment sector and within professional services specifically. With expertise in recruitment campaign management, search and selection and building client-specific strategies, we believe we can provide a bespoke resource to achieve your recruitment goals. We work on wide range of positions including audit, internal audit, forensic accounting, corporate finance, insolvency, tax, management and financial accounting, payroll and credit control. We look for accountants who are fully qualified or part qualified through a number of different routes including ACCA, ACA, CIMA or CTA as well as finance professionals with or working towards the AAT qualification. 

From a candidate perspective we will aid you in every step of your career, providing considered, unpressured advice and working with you to find the best job for you. Moving positions can be a daunting experience but we will try to make it as easy as possible providing as much (or as little) support as you need.

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A Top 15 firm in Bristol are recruiting in their Trust team. This is a great opportunity for a senior accountant to thrive and progress in their career in a specialist area....

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Life from an 8 year old's view

It's always fun to hear about life from a child's perspective...

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Accounting career trajectories 8

In the eighth of a series of interviews with a focus on career development and career choices for accountants, we spoke to Nicola Hilton. Nicola is an ACMA and CGMA qualified accountant who has experience working in industry. She currently runs her own small bookkeeping and accountancy business.

Accounting career trajectories 8Read More

Accounting career trajectories 6

In the sixth of a series of interviews with a focus on career development and career choices for accountants, we spoke to Sarah Greenwood. Sarah has many qualifications and a very interesting career so far; she is CPI, ACCA, and CTA qualified and has recently sat the ACA Pathways exam to convert her ACCA to ACA.

Accounting career trajectories 6Read More


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Accounting Career Trajectories - Episode 6

In the sixth of a series of interviews with Rebecca Wood of Fellows Finance with a focus on career development and career choices for accountants, Rebecca speaks to Sarah Greenwood. Sarah has many qualifications and a very interesting career so far; she is CPI, ACCA, and CTA qualified and has recently sat the ACA Pathways exam to convert her ACCA to ACA. e

What does your career as an accountant look like so far?

I completed a degree in Economics, Accountancy and Finance at Aberystwyth University. After finishing university, I joined the Business Restructuring team at BDO Stoy Hayward LLP where I worked for BDO for almost 7 years, completing my ACCA and CPI along the way. I gained a great deal of experience whilst there and undertook two secondments to the Global Outsourcing and Audit teams.

I left BDO to join Deloitte to work in their Forensic Accounting department and worked at Deloitte for just over a year before joining a small firm where I have worked since 2015. Whilst at Whitesides I completed my CTA and I have recently passed the pathways exam to cross qualify to the ACA.

Did you prefer working in a large, mid-tier or small firm?

I enjoyed working at all three but for different reasons.

At BDO and Deloitte there are lots of opportunities they both had a lot of trainees and other members of staff a similar age and so there was a lot of social events and support at an early stage in your career. I feel I was really lucky to train at BDO they gave me all the support I needed in order to pass my exams. The firm was a great place to work and I had supportive managers and partners in my team.

Now I am a bit further on with my career, I love the work-life balance I get working in a smaller firm. I live very close to the office so I can walk to work and go home to see my dog at lunch time!

I would definitely recommend starting in a mid-tier firm as you can either move up or down.

Which exam did you find the most difficult?

Definitely the CTA. I expect if I sat down and added up the number of hours I spent studying for the CTA it would be somewhere around 500-600 hours per exam whilst I probably only spent about 200-300 hours studying per final exam of the ACCA/CPI.

Did you enjoy insolvency or forensic more?

I preferred insolvency work, it was very varied as you would always have a lot of active cases at the same time. Depending on the case you could be completing an AMA process, undertaking an orderly wind-down or trading a business which can be very intense. Insolvency work is far more like the general practice work that I do now where you have huge variety of work at the same time.

Have you had any setbacks in your career?

I am not sure I have had any setbacks, I think if I went back to the start I would probably focus more on what I wanted to do long-term. Although having worked in a lot of different departments and sat so many exams I have acquired a lot of knowledge that other staff working in a small firm don’t have which is really useful when I am advising clients.

I would say, having always worked in practice, it would be difficult for me to move into industry or the public sector as I don’t have the experience they need.

What would your advice be to someone wanting to become an accountant?

I am very glad I trained in a mid-tier firm, it gave me loads of opportunities and from a mid-tier firm it is fairly easy to move into the big-4, smaller firms or industry. If you train in a big-4 firm you may struggle to move to a very small firm as you don’t have the breadth of experience they need and likewise if you train in a small firm it would be very difficult to move into the big-4.

If you want to work in either a smaller firm or specialise in tax, I would recommend completing the ACA CTA Joint programme because it reduced the number of exams you have to take.

I would also recommend looking at what you want to do long-term. If you want to own your own practice you probably need to work in a small practice so you have the skills and experience to advise small businesses. If your aim is to be a partner in a big firm then it is probably best to specialise in the stream you want to work in early on. If you want to move into industry, I would suggest starting in a big 4 or mid-tier firm in audit as this will give you the best foundation to be able to move into industry.

In the sixth of a series of interviews with Rebecca Wood of Fellows Finance with a focus on career development and career choices for accountants, Rebecca speaks to Sarah Greenwood. Sarah has many qualifications and a very interesting career so far; she is CPI, ACCA, and CTA qualified and has recently sat the ACA Pathways exam to convert her ACCA to ACA.

Sarah works at Whitesides Chartered Accountants in Leeds. 

Want to get involved and have us interview you about your career path? Email

You can read our other episodes here: one, two, three, four, five, seven. 

Accounting Career Trajectories - Episode 4

In the fourth of a series of interviews with Rebecca Wood of Fellows Finance with a focus on career development and career choices for accountants, Rebecca speaks to Becky Hartley. Becky is a CIOT qualified Tax Manager who is on secondment at BDO Singapore.

Which route did you decide to take to begin your career? How do you think this has helped you get to where you are today?becky

I decided to do an accounting degree first with the view of becoming an accountant but when I was at university, the module I actually preferred the most was tax. When I was looking for grad schemes, I remember generally looking for tax roles but some were ACA focused and some were CTA focused. Having the previous degree knowledge definitely helped me make the decision to do the CTA qualification as I already knew I was less interested in ACA.

BDO actually offer the training for this qualification in-house and are the only firm to do this (so I believe). It was therefore fairly easy for me to make the decision to join BDO so I was lucky to be successful when I applied back in 2011/2012 as it was my first choice. I definitely think doing a degree first helped me to get to where I am today as I would not have had the exposure to tax otherwise and would have likely pursued the ACA route. 

Why have you decided to stay in private practice?

As I worked in tax dispute resolution (UK), my work has always been varied whilst being both interesting and challenging so I have never considered moving out of private practice. I also find being in a client facing role provides the variety in the day to day work that I think I would struggle without!

How did your move to Singapore come about?

I am on a two-year secondment with BDO, still working part time for my team in the UK but also working for BDO Singapore 3 days a week. I asked if there were any opportunities to travel to Singapore as I wanted to do something a bit different and my team essentially made it happen for me even though it had never been done from my team before so I am definitely grateful for the opportunity.

What are the differences between working in the UK and Singapore?

Culturally there are a lot of differences – working longer hours, having to respond to emails immediately, the quiet office environment and the majority not speaking English in the office. The work is prepared in English though and there are a lot of expats in Singapore so you never feel too far from home. There are definitely some barriers for me (language being the main one) but I genuinely enjoy the work and the clients are equally, if not more interesting. I am working with a number of high profile / ultra-high net worth Asian families so there is also far greater exposure in Singapore. 

How do you feel that working in Singapore will enhance your career?

I feel that it already has to some extent. Having been in Singapore for nearly a year, I have developed so many new skills and learnt so many new things. I have also built up a profile in Singapore in the tax world as there are not many people here who can provide UK as well as Singapore tax advice! I also have so many more opportunities with BDO in Singapore because the size is so much smaller. For example; I assist with HR matters and am also heavily involved in business development and marketing such as organising and participating in events etc.

Missed our other interviews? You can read them here:

Episode 1, Episode 2, Episode 3, Episode 5, Episode 6, Episode 7.

Accounting Career Trajectories - Episode 1

In the first of a series of interviews with Rebecca Wood of Fellows Finance with a focus on career development and career choices for accountants, Rebecca speaks to Andrew Thomas. Andrew is an FCCA qualified accountant who currently works as a Finance Business Partner within industry.072Y43G0X

Which route did you take to becoming an accountant?

I originally completed a GNVQ/Business Studies course at college and then started studying the ACCA qualification in a small private practice on a study package. I worked in two practices over a three-year period and once part qualified decided to take a break from finance and my studies.

What made you decide to move to industry?

I personally found auditing quite dull and didn’t feel I was adding value for my clients, however my first permanent role outside of practice was in internal audit for a housing association and I enjoyed this as I could see that my findings and recommendations were making an immediate impact on the organisation.

How easy was it to transition into industry?

I found getting into industry quite hard as I had taken a break from finance for 18 months, and was part qualified with no relevant experience. Luckily, I landed a temporary maternity cover role as an accounts assistant. This worked well for both myself and the employer as I was able to gain experience quickly and become heavily involved in both the day to day transactional work and the month end processes and routines.

What were the advantages/disadvantages of your route compared to your peer group within private practice?

I had a friend who completed an accounting degree before he got a job in practice and I don’t think it gave him any benefits except for the exam exemptions, we were still doing the same work and working on similar clients. With either route you still have to complete 3 years of work experience to become qualified, so in my mind it makes more sense to do this while studying, plus I found some exams a lot easier if I was applying the same knowledge at work – not something you will get with degree studying. The other big advantage is cost, I have completed all my exams funded by my employers, so haven’t been left with a big student debt to clear.

Do you think the route you have taken has hindered you in any way or has it helped you to progress?

I don’t believe it has hindered me; some employers will specify that you must have a degree just in the same way that some will specify that you need to be qualified. The majority of the time when I have been interviewing for roles they have been interested in my achievements and experience to date rather than the qualifications I have. I do believe that starting the ACCA in practice allowed me to gain good work experience, and provided the best study support.

What advice would you have for a 15-year-old interested in becoming an accountant? What do you think the best route to take would be?

I would suggest that a young person wanting to become an accountant should start studying AAT which is widely available now through apprentice schemes, either in practice or industry. I think the AAT is undervalued and the content is challenging. It’s a good stepping stone if you haven’t got exemptions, and I would then recommend studying ACA/ACCA/CIMA afterwards depending on the career route. I don’t think there was enough advice available to me at the start of my career about the practice/industry routes, so it would be important to consider both properly.

Read episode 2, episode 3, episode 4, episode 5, episode 6, episode 7.



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