Youth no ob­sta­cle to pro­mo­tion af­ter di­rect en­try to pro­fes­sion

The Herald Business - - Commercial Brief -

KIRSTY Yuill may never have been able to ful­fil her dream of be­com­ing an ac­coun­tant. With the cul­ture of the time gen­er­ally re­quir­ing en­trants into the pro­fes­sion to be grad­u­ates, she could well have found her­self ex­cluded. Like many other young­sters, Kirsty sim­ply didn’t feel she was cut out for univer­sity and wasn’t sure that hav­ing a de­gree would serve any great pur­pose. But times have changed. She was wel­comed into study­ing for the pro­fes­sion straight from school, works for a highly re­spected in­ter­na­tional prac­tice, and is en­joy­ing a ca­reer which is flour­ish­ing. At the age of just 22, she has just been pro­moted to a role as Se­nior Ac­coun­tant in the Ed­in­burgh of­fice of RSM Tenon, work­ing in the Pro­fes­sional Prac­tices sec­tion ser­vic­ing clients with spe­cific needs such as GPs, sur­geons and den­tists. Kirsty points out that if she had been a grad­u­ate, she would only just now be start­ing out, with ev­ery­thing still to learn. “I went to school at Len­zie Academy and had al­ways been in­ter­ested in fig­ures but didn’t want to do a busi­ness qual­i­fi­ca­tion,” she ex­plains. “I had the op­por­tu­nity to take a Higher in Ac­coun­tancy, so I did – and I got an A pass in it. best prac­tice to en­sure change.

“For ACCA, the key is to en­sure that those from dis­ad­van­taged back­grounds are as able to ac­cess the pro­fes­sions as those from more priv­i­leged back­grounds.

“We are firmly com­mit­ted to en­sur­ing fair ac­cess to ac­coun­tancy and we wel­come the coali­tion government’s fo­cus on so­cial mo­bil­ity.

“We look for­ward to work­ing with them and other pro­fes­sions through Pro­fes­sions for Good to move for­ward the so­cial mo­bil­ity agenda.” “I didn’t really en­joy school, and if I’d wanted to do a de­gree in ac­coun­tancy, I’d have had to have gone into sixth year, then got grades to go to univer­sity, then grad­u­ate, and still have the ac­coun­tancy ex­ams af­ter­wards.” Hav­ing just turned 17 – a year too young to sit ACCA ex­ams – she left school and spent 18 months qual­i­fy­ing as a Cer­ti­fied Ac­count­ing Tech­ni­cian. That then al­lowed her to move on to the ACCA qual­i­fi­ca­tions proper, with her pre­vi­ous ex­pe­ri­ence and passes ex­empt­ing her from three of the 14 ex­ams. “I stud­ied by my­self at home for the Cer­ti­fied Ac­count­ing Tech­ni­cian ex­ams, though I went to tuition classes for the ACCA ex­ams.” Be­ing de­ter­mined, she wrote to all the ac­count­ing firms in Glas­gow ask­ing for work as a trainee. The re­sult was a lot of in­ter­views and, even­tu­ally, three job of­fers, in­clud­ing one from a small city prac­tice, which she took. “That was great – they paid for my books while I was learn­ing and it was a ter­rific ex­pe­ri­ence.I was really glad I did the Cer­ti­fied Ac­count­ing Tech­ni­cian qual­i­fi­ca­tion first as I’d really have strug­gled to go straight to the ACCA ex­ams, which were a huge step up.” She moved to a much big­ger firm, RSM Tenon, when she was part qual­i­fied. “I wanted more ex­pe­ri­ence and as a top 10 com­pany, they had a lot to of­fer me and gave me a chance to work with dif­fer­ent sec­tors and clients.” Kirsty fi­nally qual­i­fied as a Char­tered Cer­ti­fied Ac­coun­tant with ACCA a year ago. “It shows that you don’t need to go through univer­sity to be an ac­coun­tant. Of course, hav­ing a de­gree is a won­der­ful thing and we do take on grad­u­ates ev­ery year, but it wasn’t for me. “Start­ing as a school leaver gives you in­valu­able ex­pe­ri­ence and you learn ev­ery­thing. It meant a lot of hard work and week­ends study­ing but for me, it was def­i­nitely the way to go.”

ACCA is de­ter­mined to be an ex­em­plar in this area. As well as be­ing a mem­ber of Pro­fes­sions for Good, it is work­ing on a So­cial Mo­bil­ity Tool­kit, which is ad­vo­cated by the or­gan­i­sa­tion as a way of mon­i­tor­ing progress on this is­sue within the strict pa­ram­e­ters of data col­lec­tion rules and reg­u­la­tions.

ACCA’s on­go­ing work on so­cial mo­bil­ity was also high­lighted as an ex­am­ple of best prac­tice in ac­tion by the Ac­cess to Pro­fes­sions Panel report pub­lished by the Cab­i­net Of­fice in 2009.

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