Champion Accountants Trainees: where are they now?

January 13th, 2020

Here at Champion Accountants, we’re not in the habit of standing still. We constantly look towards the future, considering how we can help shape our industry, ensure it always thrives and continue delivering the best client service that meets changing demands. Together, this means thinking about the next generation of talent – where their skills could take them beyond training, what they might look for in employers, how accounting might change with digital transformation, and much more.

To ensure that the brightest young people wanting to enter accounting can source a professional development course and long-term career pathway, we offer an ACCA-approved accounting trainee programme which covers the cost of all accountancy studies – worth £16,000 – and provides real-time, first-hand experience of working in the industry, with a competitive salary to boot.

Our programme has been running for several years, and since launching has supported hundreds of young trainee accountants to gain on-the-job skills, which they each say has been invaluable in helping them craft successful careers in the industry.

Training designed for the future

Paul Hession had studied Business Information at university before joining Champion’s trainee programme. With intentions to join a private company immediately after qualifying, Champion’s team spirit and optimum working environment saw him stay with our company for several years.

He said: “After completing the trainee programme, Champion also sponsored me to do a master’s in finance and accounting – something I just had not expected them to do having already covered the cost of my studies.

“I thought I’d enter the industry straight after qualifying, but working in such a brilliant team at Champion Accountants meant I stayed there long after I became chartered. The company has real family working, values which is something you don’t often come across.”

Paul left Champion to join various private companies, with roles including a construction accountant and a financial controller at an AIM listed business, before joining a US-owned business where he gained international experience managing a team in Manchester and a team in the Netherlands. Today, he is a Finance Director for ground engineering business, Geobear, just down the road from our Worsley HQ.

He said: “You don’t get the grounding by training in industry that you do in practice; in practice you learn the basics of double entry bookkeeping, which is essential. In industry you also only get exposed to project accounting, which is such a small remit of what a good accountant does.

“The accounting world is very different today to when I started the trainee programme; everything is cloud based and most of the management team in my business work remotely.”

Flexible training built around your life

Clare Tattersall joined Champion Accountants as a receptionist and marketing assistant before she began supporting the audit and accounts team with admin. Feeling as though this could be the right future career path for her, she enrolled with the Open University to undertake an accountancy course but Ged Cosgrove, our group managing partner, soon stepped in.

Clare said: “Ged explained that, if it was a career in accounting that I wanted, I could join the audit team. I already knew the basics, then two slots had opened up for trainee positions and he said the company would cover the cost of my studies if I joined the trainee programme. It meant I would be the group’s oldest trainee, at the age of 27, but I joined the programme anyway and never looked back.”

Champion’s trainee programme is truly flexible, allowing Clare to take time away from the company for maternity leave during her studies. Once qualified, she began shadowing Ged and taking on several his management accounts clients.

She eventually left Champion to join wholesale cloud provider IXReach, where she still is today, progressing from Management Accountant, to Finance Manager, to Finance Director.

Homegrown training for international opportunities

Some Champion Accountants trainee graduates take their experience overseas. Ben Taylor, who joined our programme, now works in Qatar.

He said: “Being a trainee with Champion Accountants gave me a solid foundation for my finance career and allowed me to gain a wide range of practical expertise.

“After two years I was promoted to the position of senior auditor, and later, to the role of management accounts manager. Here, I managed a department, giving me a greater depth of knowledge into industry, and was responsible for providing a complete range of financial solutions to a wide variety of customers, including those in the travel, manufacturing and professional services sectors.”

Following a hugely successful seven years with Champion Accountants, Ben relocated to Doha, Qatar, to join Kinnarps Project Solutions (KPS) as finance manager. KPS is a design and fit-out company providing interior construction services and the supply of furniture to blue chip clients across the Middle East.

Recommending trainee programmes in practice to anyone who may be considering it, Ben said: “I firmly believe everyone should start their training at a smaller practice which can provide you with experience of a wide variety of clients and projects. At larger firms, many people become specialists in certain areas or industries without fully appreciating the impact on the ‘big picture’.

“At a local level, Champion ensures that you really get to know its clients and understand their businesses, but its regional network of offices also allows larger projects to be undertaken, with access to a wide variety of specialist expertise that is invaluable to clients as their businesses grow.”

Here at Champion Accountants, we’re always searching for people who want a fulfilling career in accountancy. More so than a passion for numbers, we look for people who are team players, confident, motivated and instinctive problem solvers.

If you’re keen to start a flexible training programme that means you won’t be burdened with the debt of a student loan to pay off, and which offers a friendly work environment where everyone is respected, get in touch with Champion Accountants today.


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