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Youth in accountancy series: Laurence Provost

To celebrate international youth day, The Accountant and International Accounting Bulletin asks professionals aged under 35 to share their thoughts on the profession: why they qualify as accountants, whether it was challenging and, now that they are in, how they see the profession and where it is going.


Laurence Provost
Corporate finance executive
Tait Walker LLP, UK


Becoming an accountant and working in the profession for four years or so has been an incredible experience. As an accountant you get access to the very highest parts of some amazing businesses a lot quicker than you do in other graduate roles.

I enjoy my work in corporate finance where I provide a variety of roles, from supporting partners and managers in lead advisory engagements in the M&A sector to developing good quality management information for businesses.

The profession also has led me to some great ’out of office’ experiences, various hospitality boxes spring to mind, where I have been able to develop my network and have a good time doing it!

Lastly it has introduced me to some truly brilliant people- the group of people I trained with at KPMG are now amongst my closest friends. I have also been lucky to work for some top partners and with some exceptional clients.

I had many jobs before starting my training with KPMG, fruit picker, drystone waller and tram conductor to name a few. I had always wanted to be a professional when I was a child- a doctor, a teacher or maybe a lawyer, but accountancy never crossed my mind. But when I left school at the age of 16 with minimal qualifications, my options were very limited. Every job I did in the lead up to KMG taught me something about what I wanted from a career. The walling and tram conducting showed me that although I wanted a job that involved interaction with people, I was not patient enough to deal with the general public on a day to day basis (that is doctoring and teaching out) and having hated maths as a child my degree in psychology gave me a new respect, if not love, for numbers.

Through a meeting with a London financier, I was introduced to the world of corporate finance and business. I wanted a profession that involves working with people on a professional basis and could lead to CF and bigger businesses.….. so I did what thousands have done before me and applied to audit in the Big 4. The rest, as they say, is history.

Working in practice is a real challenge, managing expectations of multiple managers, clients and colleagues is a constant juggling act.

That means time management and organisation are vital skills needed to complete my work effectively. 

On the whole my professional institution (ICAEW) provides me with the necessary information to keep myself up to date in terms of developments in the profession through the monthly magazine and training offerings.

I think there is a lack of good independent advice out there for newly qualified accountants. I think given the pooled experience of professional institutions, it should be possible to give unbiased advice based on career goals and prior experience to newly qualified accountants.

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