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How I did it: Olivia's journey to becoming an Audit Trainee

Book open Reading time: 3 mins

What was your entry route into CP?

When I was still in 6th form, I attended an open day at Cooper Parry and really liked the vibe. I actually requested to do some work experience off the back of this during year 12, where I did a day in a number of different of departments. I knew from that audit was my first choice. After going through the interview process, I joined CP as a school leaver in 2016 at 18 years old.

What subjects did you study at school?

I remember worrying about my A-Levels at the time I applied as they weren’t really ‘accountancy’ related. I studied Economics, Art, ICT and Business Studies. I am glad this didn’t hold me back from applying for CP however, as I would never have known I was good at audit. I knew my art A-Level would get me somewhere.

What caught your eye about CP to make you accept the offer?

Other than having an enjoyable work experience week, I really enjoyed the CP offices and the general ‘vibe’ I felt being there. As I didn’t go to university, I didn’t want to miss out on the opportunity to meet new people and still have that social life. As CP hire a number of people your age/ graduates at the same time, I really felt like I still had fun nights out etc that I would have had at Uni, as well as earning some money at the same time!

What has been your career path so far?

Study challenges, promotions etc. So, after I joined in 2016 I did a year of AAT level 3 (which isn’t done anymore), a year of Certificate then 3 years of professional exams. Though I was held back a year due to COVID-19, I ACA qualified in 2021 (normally does not take that long, I was just unlucky to have been affected by COVID-19). Due to joining as a school leaver, I had built up so much knowledge and experience on a number of different jobs, I have since been promoted to Assistant Manager in 2021 and Audit Manager in 2023. I now work in the Big Business team and enjoy large technical audits as well as having a role in training the audit team.

Why did you choose Audit?

A number of reasons really. I knew I wanted to be ACA qualified as it’s a great qualification to have under your belt. I also liked the idea of working with different people and different client’s week to week, as well as the opportunity to travel to the clients’ offices here and there.

What is the best part of your role?

Probably the friends I have made over the last 6 years and I don’t mean that in a cheesy way. The people I started with as 18-year-olds I still work around now, which I find really comforting. The stereotype of an accountant really isnt true at CP. I found myself joining with other people just like me. Also obviously the unlimited holiday, can’t forget that.

What didn’t you expect, but are loving about CP?

Flexibility. As I joined at 18 I really had no idea what to expect given I hadn’t ever had a job before… I had in my head starting work meant same people, same desk, same office at the same working hours every day. Don’t get me wrong, you can’t just get up and leave at any point in time as audit is all about teamwork, but I did have the opportunity to work from home when my team were too, or come into the office if I wanted to sit with my friends/ get a change of scenery.

What advice would you give someone thinking about a career in audit?

Do it! As a school leaver I am really happy I jumped straight into my role in CP. I pretty much grew up at CP and it did feel daunting to have to have been a grown up and get a full-time job at 18. I don’t feel like I’ve missed out on anything in life starting work prior to Uni. Now I have qualified, I feel the skills I have learnt over the past few years are really well rounding, and CP has set me up for life.