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Trainee Chartered Accountant Temi Ayodeji, shares his thoughts on all things Training in the ICAEW as an ACA trainee.

Hi everyone, I’m Temi! I currently work at Barnes Roffe LLP in London and I’m one year into my training contract. Below I will provide my thoughts on all things Training in the ICAEW as an ACA trainee and I hope you will find it useful.

Student Training requirements

A year into my training contract, I’m able to now reflect on my experiences. Firstly, I have thoroughly enjoyed my first year as a trainee working mainly within Audit. I’ve learnt a lot from being in this role and hope to continue strongly in the new year. Whilst my first year has been enjoyable, it has also been challenging due to the balance that must be maintained between my job and completing exams. I initially struggled with this as a tension exists where you want to develop in your role whilst progressing with exams. However, I must say this has been made easier by the support I receive from work, my learning provider (First Intuition) and the ICAEW itself. All have been on hand to ensure I am coping with my commitments, support my learning and monitor my progress.

New ways of working

As we have entered a new way of working due to Covid-19, it hasn’t been too difficult for me to adapt. Although, I would mostly be based at a client in a non – covid world, I have a struck a balance with working in the office and from home. The flexibility of this has meant we can deem this to be the new normal and I have taken to it well. It has proved highly beneficial as it breaks up going to the office everyday which can be repetitive. I suppose the greatest challenge to working from home as opposed to the office is effective communication. Whilst there are many platforms on which enhance remote working, nothing beats face to face interaction, and I have found that challenging at times when auditing remotely. One of such challenges for me has been asking for help from more senior staff, my colleagues are extremely helpful, but a Teams call is certainly not as effective as asking in person!

Challenges to meet demands of examination structure

I think the current examination structure is simple to follow and has been developed to reflect the new way of working. For example, I have enjoyed the flexibility of taking exams in a centre and remotely at home. The choice to take my certificate level exams at either has been welcomed, but I personally prefer taking them in the comfort of my room! The biggest challenge for me is that the exams are computer based, and I personally have always preferred paper-based exams and so adjusting hasn’t been easy. Besides that, there has been a lot of support mainly from employers Barnes Roffe, but also from my Tuition provider and the ICAEW.

How can employers support students going forward?

From my experience, Barnes Roffe have been very supportive. One of the things that has been beneficial is the mentorship scheme in place. I have been under a mentor throughout my year which has been great for me. I am encouraged to be as open as I want in this space, and I can talk to my mentor about anything from exams to how I am feeling. I encourage all employees to have some sort of mentorship scheme in place for their students. It has done wonders for my wellbeing and was key to how quickly I settled in at the firm. Study and working can be very stressful at times, and so having that space to speak to a mentor is very helpful.

Future Learning opportunities and future planning

The very reason I am writing this article is because I wanted to maximise the opportunities my training contract has to offer. One of such was running for a role on the Chartered Accountants Students Society in London (CASSL). I thought it would be great to be a part of enhancing the student experience in something that I am passionate about, Wellbeing. This has been a learning opportunity that I took with both hands and am finding fun! And there are many ways opportunities to learn as part of the ICAEW through webinars, in person events etc. My immediate focus for now is progress in my exams and improving my on job technical skills in my role as an auditor. I also hope to participate in further runs in 2022!

Temi Ayodeji
Trainee Chartered Accountant
CASSL Director - Wellbeing