Hope Dance: We want a diverse group of qualified accountants to serve our clients and the wider community.
EM: How long has this programme been running?
HD: We have been offering apprenticeships for 6 years.
EM: Who is this certification targeted to?
HD: The certification is targeted at anyone looking to become a qualified accountant, whether that is a School leaver aged 18 or someone who maybe have left university and decided they wanted a change of direction.
EM: How do you select candidates and what qualifications are required to join this training programme?
HD: We ask that School Leaver Candidates have a 5 or over in their Maths and English GCSE as well as three A-Levels (or equivalent) with a C grade or above. In addition to this, we look for people who align with our values and who we think would work well with our Kreston family.
EM: How are study and working hours split?
HD: Working hours are 37.5 hours a week for all full-time staff, however students will begin to attend college for a week every 2/3 months depending on the exam schedule. Students are expected to revise outside of working hours however study leave is given to students to attend college and take exams. Students will receive a salary and we pay for their studies.
EM: What topics are covered?
HD: The first three exams are the Applied Knowledge Exams which cover Business and Technology, Management Accounting and Financial Accounting. After these exams are passed, students will then move onto the strategic professional exams which include Strategic Business Leader, Strategic Business Reporting, Advanced Audit and Assurance and Advanced Taxation. Whilst completing the exams, students are also required to complete an ethics and professional skills module. All these exams help students to understand the fundamentals of accounting and key business skills.
EM: How else do trainees learn on the job, work shadow, client offsite, CPE points?
HD: Students learn on the job alongside attending college which gives a great balance to learning. Through my time at Kreston Reeves, I have had the opportunity to work with a variety of different teams even though I work in the Accounts department. This has provided me with a variety of different skills, and I have found it really beneficial.
EM: How much do trainees earn whilst training and what are additional benefits on offer by Kreston Reeves?
HD: School leavers (No prior degree) start with a starting salary of £20,000, once they begin to pass exams, we offer pay rises to match their growth in knowledge and skill. On top of this, we pay for the studies i.e., their time at college, the books and their first exam attempt. In addition, if the student lives far from the college, we will contribute towards any additional travel that they wouldn’t normally do, on a working day. Kreston reeves offers more than just monetary rewards; we give each member of staff one day paid of volunteering each year and we encourage staff to take part in activities that we offer throughout the year, which include a firm wide Sports Day!
EM: What makes this programme for school leavers different to an accounting apprenticeship?
HD: We offer additional training beyond the apprenticeship standard which helps them to become more than a standard accountant.
EM: Where geographically are trainees recruited from, and can they work across the globe with this certification?
HD: All of our offices are across the South East of England, so that is where most of our trainees are recruited from. ACCA is globally recognised, allowing you to work anywhere in the world. Being a member of the international accounting network Kreston Global, means that students could go on secondment, after studies, to another Kreston office in the world, if they wanted to.
EM: How successful has this programme been in producing fully qualified accountants at Kreston Reeves?
HD: 95% of our ACCA apprentices have achieved a level 7 taxation and accounting professional qualification, so we would argue that this programme has been very successful.