Angela Francis, Author at Reed Business School

NEW Five Fantastic Reasons to Study at Reed Business School

We’re very proud of our home in the Cotswolds and how perfect it is for nurturing success in trainee accountants. So, this week we’d like to share more about what you can expect from your study time at the manor, and why it’s so much more than a business school.

Best in class

We pride ourselves on our discursive classroom environments, which make learning complex theories and applications both pleasurable and productive. Our carefully selected and experienced tutors are not only subject matter experts, they are also fantastic teachers who will take the time to explain course content thoroughly, and make the learning process enjoyable.

We purposefully limit the sizes of our classes to allow all students time to raise questions and make sure their needs are met in a supportive, high-achieving environment.

And while our building may be old, we’ve fitted it with all the modern conveniences necessary to make it work as a 21st Century learning centre.

A home from home

In addition to the formal lessons, our manor home has several informal study areas for those who want to continue their work into the evening – either privately in rooms, or collaboratively in our lounge. We aim to make the experience of learning with us a relaxing one, enabling you to focus on what you need from your studies.

On top of that is a tennis court, private swimming pool, gardens and miles of Cotswold countryside to explore at your leisure.

Many learners choose to stay overnight with us during their studies, so you can get a good night’s sleep in our charming on-site cottages, a nourishing breakfast, and be ready to start your new day of learning in the right headspace.

Food, glorious food

Speaking of breakfast – all your meals are taken care of by our in-house catering team, led by award-winning chef, Craig. If you choose to stay full-board, we’ll cover three meals a day, while day delegates will get lunch included.

Our meals are very fondly regarded by all our students, and we think it makes your experience here more fulfilling. With good food inside you that you don’t need to worry about cooking (or cleaning up!), you can focus on your studies.

Friendly networking

Our classrooms our fantastic places to meet new people in a similar position to you – who may become friends, business associates, study buddies, accountability partners, or even friendly competition when it gets to exams. There’s always a sense of comradery amongst classmates who are able to understand and support each other throughout their journey to qualification.

Many of our students keep in touch with each other outside of their time with us, and go on to have long-lasting relationships.

The personal touch

We treat all our students as individuals, and recommend pathways that suit your individual goals and priorities. Our tutors also know that some people learn in different ways and at varying paces, while some find specific parts of the course more challenging than others. That’s why there’s always two-way dynamic communication in our classrooms, with 1-2-1 tutor time and personalised feedback on practice papers available.

A formula for success

We believe all the above is a recipe for success, and the exam results of our students consistently prove this. In the last three years alone Kalina Forbes was awarded 100% and the Little prize in her ICAEW Professional paper Business Planning: Taxation; Nick Bancroft scored the third highest mark in the region for his CIMA case study – Operational level; William Fowler placed in the top 10 in ICAEW’s 2020 Annual Order of merit, where Lily Gammon also won the Arthur Swinson prize, and Oliver Soames won the Northcott prize. Read more about all their stories here.

Want to start your journey with us? Get in touch to find out more about joining the family.

Can you transfer into accountancy?

Pathways into accountancy are more diverse than ever, so we’ve collated a series of articles following those who have joined the profession from slightly less traditional backgrounds. Here we’re sharing the first story, of Simon Fairweather, a former doctor, now retraining to be an accountant with PKF Francis Clark.

Growing up

As a child, Simon wanted to be a vet when he grew up. But upon discovering an allergy to cats, he changed course slightly to medicine. Coming from a family of doctors this seemed like an accessible and sensible transfer to make best use of his skills and interests.

“I really enjoyed medical school, and found the process incredibly rewarding.”

However, as much as he enjoyed life on the front line as an A&E specialist, the long shifts, weekends, and emotional strain of the job slowly began to take their toll.

Further education

While working in hospital, Simon showed an aptitude for ongoing learning by completing an Advanced Paediatric Life Support course, and subsequently the Generic Instructor Course. He continued to work hard, but was getting to the stage where he needed to make a change.

“I’d been in practice for a few years, and noticed it was having a bit of an effect on me – something like burnout, that sounded similar to what some former colleagues had suffered from. I always knew it was going to be tough, but I didn’t want that for rest of my life.”

Simon’s next step was to go back to university, where he undertook a Masters degree in Exercise Physiology. This helped him understand more about adult learning and gave him confidence in analysing and presenting complex data in a comprehensible manner.

Research, research, research

Knowing that whatever new pathway he chose would probably be his lifetime profession, Simon took a lot of time to research different options – thinking carefully about what he enjoyed, what he was good at, and what his future life might look like. He also spoke with several friends and family members in different careers to work out what would be the best fit for him.

“Having always had an aptitude for numeracy, my enjoyment for data analysis and applied meaning, and being able to extract the ‘So what?’ amongst vast data sets was something I wanted to be central to my new career. Having researched and spoken to friends who are further down the line in their accountancy career, I believed this pathway would afford me the opportunity to effect real change on a large scale that would match my ambitions and values as a person.”

Simon also had half an eye moving overseas, so wanted something transferable that could enable him to work ‘down under’ should he choose to.

Finding the right firm

Many people new to or outside of the profession might not fully grasp the differences between firms – from their values, sizes and working practices. Simon wanted to find a firm that had similar values to his own, so once again undertook a lengthy research process, and came across PKF Francis Clark.

“I’d recommend really researching firms you’d like to apply to, to make sure they fit with your ethos, and that their values meet yours to make sure you’re happy in the workplace and that it’s sustainable for you. I’d heard that PKF Francis Clark was very supportive and nurturing, taking on a lot of people who had moved from other careers, so I knew that would be a good environment for me to learn and progress in.”

Starting again from the bottom

Simon admits it’s always going to be tough starting again at the bottom, especially having to learn a whole lot of new things.

“I’m a year in, and it’s been a huge leap of learning so far, but I’m really enjoying it. In my role I’m focusing on Tax, and I like applying what I’ve learnt to solve problems, but I’m just very keen to learn as much as possible.”

He’s also been supported by his wife and family with the emotional and financial burden of starting again.

“We’ve had to make some sacrifices, but my wife completely understood that I needed to make this change, so was very happy to support me in this journey.”

Advice to others

Simon believes that there’s no one rule or path for people who want to make career changes.

“It completely depends where you are in your life – your interests, your passions, your financial situation.”

However, he does believe that research and giving yourself time are key.

The main thing for me was talking to people already doing the job I wanted to do, to find out what life would be like in the short term, as well as life after that. I didn’t want any surprises.”

Would you like to find out more?

Click here Courses – Reed Business School for Reed course information

And here Chartered Accountants & Business Advisers | PKF Francis Clark (pkf-francisclark.co.uk for more information on PKF Francis Clark .

Mental Health Awareness – how can we help you?

May is the time for the National initiative Mental Health Awareness Week. How can we help you at Reed Business School? Here are some pointers to consider …

  • Firstly do you know we have a Mental Health First Aider? Louise Harrison sits in the main reception office and is there to listen and chat informally in our quiet designated Wellbeing Room, if you need her, no matter what your worry or concern – please just reach out.
  • Have you recently looked at our Wellbeing Team? There are a whole host of articles there for you to have a look through, with handy tips and hints. If you ae not sure how to access this please just ask any member of staff.
  • Here is a great article from The Mental Health Foundation for the theme for 2022 Loneliness https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/sites/default/files/15-loneliness-tips-for-young-people.pdf

What do you know about apprenticeships? How do they work?

A new era for apprenticeships

Gone are the days where apprenticeships were for purely manual trades, and the only route into accountancy was via a university degree. The accountancy profession has been undergoing something of an overhaul in order to attract new talent into it, and undertaking an accountancy apprenticeship is now proving more popular than ever. But what is an accountancy apprenticeship, and how does it work?

How does an accountancy apprenticeship work?

Like most modern apprenticeships, in accountancy the apprentice will spend 80% of their time on the job earning a wage, and 20% studying. That 20% will be split between formal classroom education working towards technical qualifications, as well as e-learning, webinars and other activities.

Apprenticeships will generally last around three years, depending on the level undertaken, how quickly the apprentice completes their exams, and whether any exemptions might be applied for prior qualifications (ie AAT). Apprentices can achieve either a Level 4 or Level 7 qualification depending on their starting point.

New beginnings

Eve Pilley, Associate Client Manager at Richardsons Chartered Accountants, is coming towards the end of her Level 7 apprenticeship with Reed Business School, and started her Level 4 AAT apprenticeship after her A-Levels.

“I didn’t think going away to university was something I wanted to do, so I looked for opportunities closer to home. I got talking to Richardsons at a careers fair, and it just seemed like the right fit to start working straight away, while learning on the job. The apprenticeship pathway really works for me.”

Technical knowledge, Skills and Behaviours

The traditional view of the accountant might be someone who is excellent at spreadsheets, but lacking in some interpersonal skills. The apprenticeship, however, aims to build well-rounded accountants through not just a thorough grounding in technical knowledge, but in all the other skills and behaviours necessary to succeed in business.

Embedding the apprentice within a team of accountants to get real-life experience is a key factor in this, and apprentices will be tasked with demonstrating evidence across a number of areas, such as team work, presenting, and problem solving, before they can be signed off as qualified.

The final stage of qualification is an end-point assessment, which consists of a case study exam and a project report which showcases personal examples of how apprentices have demonstrated the relevant skills and behaviours.

Back to school?

Reed Business school has a very successful history in training accountants, with methods that we know work. For the technical knowledge and exams, apprentices will tend to visit the school for classroom learning in blocks. Each module will consist of an initial learning phase, followed by a revision and exam preparation phase a few weeks later. Apprentices can choose to sit one exam every three months, or two every six months.

Coaching for success

Apprenticeships aren’t left on their own throughout their journey. Each employer will have their own internal support systems, but Reed Business School also provides a qualified and experienced coach to guide apprentices through their qualification.

A coach will meet with apprentices approximately every three months, to check in regarding any worries and concerns, and to provide guidance with regards to the skills and behaviours elements of the apprenticeship, as well as support for the end-point assessment.

Coaches work one-to-one with apprentices to support their individual needs, and ensure they have all the relevant resources to complete every aspect of their learning.

Rob Weaver, one of Reed Business School’s coaches, says “Your coach is there for you. We want you to succeed, and you’ll get as much out of the programme as you’re prepared to put into it.”

“The role of the coaching sessions is to help develop the apprentice to improve their performance to get the results they and the employer identify (or want) and ultimately to help them be the best accountant they can be”.

Want to find out more about undertaking an accountancy apprenticeship? We’re happy to answer all your questions! Please click here How to reach us – Reed Business School to get in touch, or for more information on apprenticeships please click here Apprenticeships – Reed Business School.