My unconventional path to a career in accountancy

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Bradley Williams left school at 16 with few qualifications, only to wake up one day and change his choice of career to public-sector accounting. But, even after solid studying, it took old-fashioned door knocking to land a fresh start.

I am a trainee management accountant at Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals in Essex. I really enjoy arriving at work and knowing today won’t be exactly like the one before, which can be common in some accounting roles. I love working in hospitals – the nature of problem solving is a challenge and I relish that.

Like many people, I left school early and didn’t study properly for my GCSEs. I was 16 and just fell into a job thanks to my dad.

I worked as a labourer, but I soon found I resented my friends who had social lives and career plans. The job wasn’t for me. Luckily, I realised this early and found a way out.

I believed I was only good at English and maths in school. But my classmates on the business studies course said I had a knack for accounting. Numbers and problem solving have always suited me.

I had just finished a business BTEC at college and it was from that moment I decided I wanted to be an accountant.

In my current job there is direct use of things I’ve learned on my AAT course. It was great to find out what I was good at and be able to apply this in my job role.

As part of my trainee programme and apprenticeship at the hospital, I have had to pass AAT courses at Levels 2, 3 and now 4. I only have six exams left but it’s not always been plain sailing.

I struggled with some of the accounting modules that dealt with private-sector situations, because it’s not part of my day-to-day work. I couldn’t relate to tax preparation, with all the rules and regulations – it was like learning Spanish. However with commitment and consistency I overcame these barriers.

AAT Comment offers news and opinion on the world of business and finance from the Association of Accounting Technicians.

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