I’m Maddie and I started at Simmons Gainsford (SG) in August 2015.

I graduated from the University of Liverpool with a Biochemistry degree and was not sure what I wanted to do as a career. Following 2 years of work for a distribution company and a money transfer company, I decided accounting would be a good career choice.

I started at SG with three other juniors, I found it very easy to fit in and get used to my new environment. I had previous experience working with ledgers and the finance industry, but no in-depth accounting experience. By my second week at SG I was already on study leave for my exams at Kaplan. This was followed by my first HAT Courses. The HAT courses are a great way to meet more people in the same situation as you, many of them were at the same Kaplan courses as well.

In the first week of returning from college I was placed on my first audit with a high street retail chain. I was given a lot of responsibility at a very early stage, I found this a good challenge and a very enjoyable experience. Although it was slightly daunting at first, I soon relaxed into it as my manager and senior showed me the ropes. As the audit coincided with my first exams, it was challenging trying to remember all the information being thrown at me, but passing the exams made it all worth it in the end.

As time went by I gradually gained a better understanding of the SG system and the accounting world (though I still have a long way to go). Before I knew it December was upon us. A busy month all round – with plenty of client deadlines approaching, my first professional exam, and all this coupled with the festivities of Christmas. Although trying to revise in the lead up to the festive season is not ideal it does provide some great distraction techniques – putting up the Christmas decorations, trying not to eat my entire advent calendar in one go, trying to figure out which Christmas songs are missing from my iTunes, I could go on…

Once my exam was done, it was time to celebrate. We had a fantastic Christmas party at The O2, bowling with our own private section and open bar. A lovely way to finish the year!

Within 3 weeks of coming back, I was placed on another audit. Not only was this my first audit away from home, but it was also on a company that had not been audited before. This brought new challenges as there was no work from previous years work to look for guidance. Hence I had to design the tests myself as well as working to a tight deadline. Now I have finished my first away audit and received the results from my first professional exam, I am looking forward to what 2016 will bring.