Staff Case Study – Andrew Symons

Education, where did it all start?

I attended Cape Cornwall Secondary School in St. Just and passed the following GCSEs: Maths, Combined Sciences, ICT, Statistics, Geography, Music, English Literature, English Language, Citizenship and French. From there I went to Penwith College in Penzance and studied A-Levels in Maths, Physics and Photography.

I more or less stumbled into accountancy! Having left college I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, other than knowing that university wasn’t for me.

I have always had an aptitude for numbers and so it was suggested to me that I should ‘give accountancy a go’. While completing the AAT qualification I realised how much I enjoyed the subject, and haven’t been able to stop ‘giving it a go’ since!!

What professional qualifications have you done since joining Walker Moyle?

I joined Walker Moyle as a Trainee Accountant in 2008 and since then have been able to study for (and pass!) the following professional qualifications:

  • Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT)
  • Association of Taxation Technicians (ATT)
  • Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA)
  • Chartered Institute of Taxation – Chartered Tax Adviser (CIOT – CTA)

How has Walker Moyle helped with your studies?

Walker Moyle has always prided itself on high quality training and study support. Throughout my professional studies the practice has financed my external training, and provided paid study (tuition) leave. This has been coupled with extensive internal ‘on the job’ training which has proved invaluable in ensuring that I have both ‘textbook’ and practical, ‘real world’, knowledge and experience.

After qualifying, every accounting and tax professional has a duty to maintain their knowledge through ‘continuing professional development’ (CPD). Walker Moyle provides all employees with an extensive and comprehensive range of technical resources and literature to assist in this. In addition, I (as do all members of staff) attend a considerable number of professional update courses each year with SWAT UK; again, arranged by Walker Moyle.

What type of work do you currently do?

My work is extremely varied; I often work with companies turning over millions of pounds and small businesses turning over a few thousand in the same day. The demands of each are, of course, very different and this makes the job interesting and diverse.

The more ‘common’ tasks I undertake, include:

  • Self-assessment tax returns for individuals, partnerships, trusts and companies;
  • One-off tax planning assignments;
  • Statutory company accounts;
  • Sole trader and partnership accounts;
  • VAT returns; and
  • Management accounts.

Going forward, I will continue to specialise in taxation, particularly in technical matters.

What advice would you offer to anyone considering a career in accountancy?

Accountancy is just that; a career, not a job.

For me, not wanting to go to university, the ability to ‘earn while learning’ was perfect. By the time of completing the ACCA qualification I had achieved a professional qualification equivalent to a Master’s Degree, with the course being paid for by Walker Moyle and while I was being paid to work, rather than incurring student debt.

Accountancy, particularly in practice, is a vibrant and constantly changing topic; no two days are the same. It gives the opportunity to meet a wide variety of people and work with many varied businesses.

Despite the stereotype, the subject is far from dull being extremely broad. There are many opportunities to specialise, from tax or audit to forensic accounting and corporate finance – or stick to ‘general practice’.

The profession is rapidly advancing, this results in a challenging platform whereby individuals continue to learn and enhance their knowledge and experience from day one throughout their career.

Accounts underpin the world of finance, and are fundamental to every successful business – it is great to be a part of that.

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