What should I expect in a trainee accountant position?

chisypasta Registered Posts: 3 New contributor 🐸
Hi all, I have been offered (and accepted) a job as a trainee accountant. I completed level 2 AAT earlier this year and waa referred to this local accountancy firm through a friend. During the interview the partner made clear that they would start me as if I knew nothing and when I asked what to expect on my first day he stated that depending on what work they had at the time but they would try and get me started with some accounts work. What exactly does this mean? They're a medium sizd firm, 15 employees, and they seem to tackle most aspects of accounting. I want to go in prepared but don't want to harass them about what to expect so thought I'd ask some people who may have been through this already! Thanks in advance


  • CeeJaySix
    CeeJaySix Registered Posts: 645
    Congratulations on the job!

    Smaller firms can be better as you should get faster exposure to many aspects of year-end accounts prep, rather than being stuck on one task. In a smallish practice like that I would guess the main business will be year-end accounts prep and tax advice for small to medium businesses, though of course that could be way off the mark if they specialise in a certain area!

    If that assumption is correct, we usually start with a (hopefully simple) cashbook analysis accounts prep - from the client's cashbook and supporting documents analyse the various income and expenditure streams, create a working trial balance (likely using an accountancy software package), identify any prepayments and accruals, reconcile the bank, sort out fixed asset additions/disposals/depreciation and draw up a set of accounts (again the software does a large part of the actual accounts for you). You will likely have last year's file to use as a template, and a senior on hand to steer you in the right direction, but generally learning is easier by doing! Your work will be reviewed at least twice before it goes anywhere near the client, so don't worry and learn as you go. You may get to have a bash at the tax computation as well. Cashbook jobs are a good way to start as you can see the whole process from start to finish.

    Of course I'm only speculating based on how I (and the other audit/accounts trainees) at our firm start off. You can only work on what jobs the firm has in; so you may find yourself working from a client-generated trial balance, or a back-up from the client's accounting software. Alternatively you may find yourself doing bits and pieces to help a senior on a larger job they're working on. Whatever it is, don't worry; it's useful to have a basic knowledge of double-entry and how the accruals system works, but everything will be explained and there's always people to ask! Trainees aren't expected to know anything, they're just expected to be enthusiastic and willing to learn, so enjoy it!
  • chisypasta
    chisypasta Registered Posts: 3 New contributor 🐸
    Wow ceejaysix that's amazing thank you! Really looking forward to it now, only a week left at my boring old job!
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