5 tips on starting a new role as a trainee accountant in audit

My name is Tanisha Tailor, I am a Corporate Services Assistant at Dafferns.

I graduated from De Montfort University with a First class degree in Accounting and Finance in August 2021 and started work at Dafferns on 1 September 2021. 

I have experienced a one year placement with RSM alongside my degree as an Audit Assistant, experiencing all aspects from planning to completion. 

Why Dafferns?

I enjoyed my placement year, however I wanted a mixed role in preparing statutory accounts which Dafferns offered me. So far, I am enjoying learning about how statutory accounts are prepared, as well as continuing with auditing clients.

Okay, so enough about me, let’s get onto the important part…

What do auditors actually do?

Google says that auditors are ‘an independent examination of financial information of any entity, whether profit oriented or not, irrespective of its size or legal form when such an examination is conducted with a view to express an opinion thereon.’

In a nutshell, auditors check whether financial statements are free from material errors. 

In order to do this, you will be going out to client sites and performing a series of tests on client reports (which make up their financial statements) and if any potential errors are spotted, you will communicate with the client to understand why. 

Seniors will then review this and ultimately come to a conclusion. Based on the testing we have performed, can we trust our client’s financial statements are free from material error?

Now onto the 5 tips on starting a new role as a trainee accountant in audit

  1. Ask questions

Audit is extremely complex, with each business being different. It’s important that you understand what you are testing and why you are testing it.

Make sure you ask your supervisors if you are stuck (trust me, client reports can get very complicated), sometimes having a second eye really helps you find that number.

Asking your supervisor questions when you are stuck really helps you understand where the figures have come from and if there are any discrepancies, you will be able to ask your client questions with ease, having gained further knowledge from your supervisor.

There is no use being stuck and not asking anyone for help as that will make your life a lot more stressful.

Everyone at Dafferns is friendly and approachable, don’t be afraid to ask questions! You are learning and developing, and everyone is here to guide you and help you become the best accountant you can be!

2. Understand your client

As you are checking that your client’s financial statements are free from material misstatement, you need to know exactly what they do.

A quick Google search and looking at their website really helps you understand what they do, which will help greatly with your audit testing.

Dafferns also conduct planning meetings so you will be able to understand your client and ask your supervisors any questions.

3. Learn

As a trainee accountant, it’s about learning as much as you can.

Dafferns provide online training courses to enhance your technical knowledge.

There are so many laws and regulations which are constantly changing, as an accountant, you must keep up to date with this.

As an accounting nerd myself, I enjoy taking these online training courses and find that they really enhance my technical knowledge, which is helpful with audit testing.

4. Becoming Chartered

This is the end goal we all hope for, however this is a long 3 year journey.

It’s crucial that you research your qualification thoroughly, whether it is ACCA/ACA. Picking the right one for you is key as you will be doing it for 3 years.

Dafferns provide flexibility with study, you can choose which qualification and also which study provider e.g. Kaplan/BPP. I am currently doing ACCA with Kaplan.

They also release you for study on a workday (which means you don’t have to do a study course on the weekend – YAY! However, you will probably still need to revise on the weekend as the exams are intense…)

Top tip 1
Since you are given flexibility with exams, make sure you write a list of all the exams you need to do, and decide when to do them within the 3 year period… you don’t want to still have 10 exams left after 3 years once you have gained your compulsory 3 years work experience

Since you are working full-time along with doing the exams, it can get very stressful. However, if you manage your time effectively and set out a timetable of when you want to revise and stick to your plan, you should be fine. It’s a challenging but rewarding process.

Top tip 2
Don’t take all of your exemptions… ACCA/ACA is a lot harder than university and there is so much more knowledge you will need to know. If you want to do well in your advanced level exams, I’d recommend taking some of your university exams again to gain that further insight. I’ve decided to take my Audit and Assurance, Financial Reporting and Tax papers again as I am picking those subjects for advanced level and want to gain as much knowledge as I can.

So, the take home from this… yes, the exams are difficult, but in order to ace them, organisation is key.

5. Gain confidence by networking

There is a common misconception that an accountant is ‘introverted and dull’, the truth is you are constantly talking to different clients. This can be daunting at first so it is beneficial to practise your networking skills, which will help you develop more confidence.

Dafferns constantly provide a large number and variety of networking events, in person and online, which you can attend. We also have an annual team day out and various socials throughout the year. In our most recent team day, we went on a treasure hunt as a team-building game (which was hilarious), followed by bowling and crazy golf! See…accountants are definitely not boring!

I am thoroughly enjoying my time at Dafferns, learning a variety of skills and I am looking forward to becoming a Chartered Accountant. If you have any questions or would like to discuss any of the above, please do get in touch.