Previously we detailed how you can join the firm at an entry level by utilising their trainee pathways.
In this follow up we talked with Ben Jorge-Luis. Assistant Manager of the Business Services team at Ensor’s Ipswich office. About career progression, working culture, and what you can expect on a regular basis after joining the firm.
Ben has been at Ensors for over 8 years, joining the firm back in 2014 in their Corporate Services department as a student accountant. He moved to the Business Services department in 2017, where he successfully completed his Association of Chartered Accountants (ACA) qualification and became a member of the ICAEW. Ben then went on to become an Assistant Manager of the Business Services department in 2021, where he obtained his Chartered Taxation Adviser (CTA) qualification. Receiving two professional qualifications and reaching a managerial position at one of the region’s’ most trusted and respected firms of Chartered Accountants in such a short span of time is a monumental achievement, but is something that is made accessible at Ensors because of their well thought out progression structure and available career prospects.
Your career path as a trainee accountant at Ensors is open and made easily traversable through regular talks with more senior staff. ‘Progression at Ensors is something that is very much earned. Regular catchups with the group Manager and Partner are a fantastic opportunity to discuss career aspirations, and then set clear targets to help work towards these goals.’ Ensors make sure to treat their employees as individuals – individuals with career aspirations and lives outside of the office – and ‘fund qualifications, training, and professional mentorships’ to help their employees reach their full potential.
As you look towards your future and where you might be in 8 years’ time, it is important to remember that the industry itself is progressing alongside you. Digitalisation has always been at the forefront of the changes we can expect in the next few years when it comes to the future of the industry.
Over the last few years there has been a real push towards cloud-based solutions, with live data feeds and technology such as OCR really taking off and helping to streamline businesses daily accounting functions. I am excited to see how these develop over the coming years, and how these can enhance existing solutions!
Post Covid (if I can say that!), a mixture of working in the office and at home – hybrid working – looks like it can be very beneficial for all involved and is here to stay. What I can say for sure is that there is significantly less paper floating around these days, which can only be a good thing!
As technology continues to develop, and HMRC slowly move along with this, there is a real push towards the live reporting of information between individuals/businesses and the UK tax authorities. As HMRC continues to push its “Making Tax Digital” initiative, over the next few years we will start to see things that were once reported annually being reported live on a monthly and quarterly basis.
Over the last few years, we have seen that a lot of our clients have moved towards a more regular involvement with their businesses, and not just the end of year compliance work. This is a fantastic opportunity for us to work closely with our clients on a monthly/quarterly basis. By doing this, we can assist with their reporting to ensure they have up to date and meaningful information, which enables them to make more informed decisions daily, and this is something that clients are really valuing in the current climate!
As the industry’s landscape continues to evolve, certain skills fluctuate in their importance. For instance, IT literacy skills are becoming increasingly vital as the profession transitions into a purely digital era. However, there are also some timeless skills that will benefit you throughout your career journey, from trainee to assistant manager and beyond. Ben suggests that the best skill an accountant can have honed is their ability to communicate.
Communication is key! I think this is true no matter what level you are at, or how old you are, and while I think this is an important skill for an accountant, good communication skills are useful in all walks of life.
In the financial services industry it’s extremely important that we listen to our clients and understand their needs and having the strong communication skills allows us to build the relationships with them to do this.
We are regularly working together and as part of a team at Ensors, and it’s important we can communicate with each other to iron out any bumps in the road and work towards common goals of the firm and our clients.
In every interview, we like to ask the interviewees what they know now that they wish they had known at the start of their career. Ben’s answer was ‘You’ll never know it all!’, reflecting that of our previous interviewee Chris Aniskowicz, who said that ‘working in accountancy is a career that continues to evolve and change; one that requires continuous learning and progression.’ Learning and development does not stop after earning you qualifications, or when reaching a certain level, or when earning a specific title; it is something that continues as you progress throughout your career. Ben continues, ‘I assumed that once I had finished my qualifications, I would know everything there was to know, but how wrong I was! You are always learning, and always will be, and I think that is one of the things that keep not just your career, but life interesting too. It’s a journey!’.
Do not put too much pressure on yourself to know everything from the beginning, not just at the start of your career, but also at the start of a new project, a new role, or even a new day. We cannot guarantee this advice works for all companies, but if you want to advance your career efficiently, then keep learning and be willing to ask for guidance when it is needed as this will display initiative, skill, and a willingness to admit when you are out of your depth.
Ensors state on their website that they ‘recognise that having fun together is vital for a successful business’ and often host social events for their employees throughout the year, including annual Christmas and summer parties, sporting fixtures, theatre trips and quiz nights. When we asked Ben about the working culture at the firm, he told us that there ‘is a real sense of togetherness at Ensors, with all teams working towards a common goal. There is a whole host of events run through the year, from team cocktail making, 5-aside football, and even the coveted beer challenge, which really helps to build relationships with colleagues and clients alike.’ With regular social events and well thought out career progression opportunities, it is clear to us that Ensors genuinely believe in “making you more than just a number.”
If you are interested in starting a career with Ensors Chartered Accountants, they are currently accepting applications for both their January 2023 and autumn 2023 entry onto their trainee pathways, which you can find out more about in our previous article here: https://aj-chambers.com/news/2022/08/training-at-ensors-chartered-accountants/181