Steven McGovern

Trainee Chartered Accountant, Smith & Williamson Freaney

Job Trainee Chartered Accountant
Employer Smith & Williamson Freaney, Dublin
Education BA in Business – Accounting, Institute of Technology, Tallaght (ITT), Dublin (2008)

I decided to change career at 28. Originally I worked for a large retail company in a managerial role. I particularly enjoyed the accounting-related tasks involved, so I returned to college as a mature student to study for a four-year accounting degree.

I heard about my current employer through college and applied to them as part of the 'milkround' process. After completing an online application I was called for interview, which was conducted by a partner and training manager. I was asked about my knowledge of the company and what I understood an accountant's role to be, as well as what I would bring to the role; the atmosphere was very relaxed. Afterwards, I was contacted within three days to be told that I’d been successful.

Treat each application on its own merits. Cutting and pasting generic answers to the questions on the forms is not recommended, as all companies are looking for different traits and experiences from their applicants. Read the application form carefully to understand what the company is looking for. It's especially important to get good results in your penultimate and final year at college. You could lose out on the opportunity to gain an interview if your grades aren't up to scratch.

I find my job interesting, gratifying and scary all at the same time! My role involves assisting senior staff with audits and preparing sets of accounts for sole traders or SMEs. I felt that training with a 'mid-tier' firm would provide a broad range of experience on different client types and industry sectors. I have been challenged in different ways on both audits and accounts preparation assignments and in some cases I’ve dealt directly with the client.