Calculate Your Route to Accountancy Career

23rd March 2018

While secondary school pupils across ‘Courier country’ prepare for their May exams, and others embark on work experience, now is the time when many of our sons and daughters start to give serious consideration to their futures.

While many are contemplating further education via a college course or university degree, others will be looking at vocational routes to further learning – most commonly into trades but did you know there is a vocational route into the accountancy profession?

It’s a profession where many wrongly assume university is the only entry route, but this is a misconception which local firm EQ Chartered Accountants is keen to correct.

While offering an unrivalled training package to graduates, the firm also welcomes new recruits directly from school.

Jenny Law, HR and Training Manager said, “We are acutely aware that university is not for everyone and are keen to make accountancy accessible to school leavers and nurture them within the firm to help them reach their full potential.”

With that in mind, EQ attends a number of secondary school careers and alumni events, including a recent visit to Dundee’s Harris Academy where pupils enjoyed a fact-finding session on accountancy, exploring the career pathways involved. The firm hopes to return later this year to develop this partnership.

EQ also supports and sponsors a variety of local educational initiatives and events, from prize-giving ceremonies and ‘Maths Week’ events, to inviting pupils to attend sector-specific events.

But what about recruitment?

This year, the firm, which has offices in Cupar, Dundee, Forfar and Glenrothes, will once again offer Trainee Accountant school leaver positions.

Jenny continued, “We are always looking to invest in new talent and that talent pool extends beyond university graduates. For one reason or another, some school leavers feel university simply isn’t for them so we work directly with schools to try and identify the bright sparks who have a strong chance of thriving and progressing within the company.

“We are generally looking for applicants to have the qualifications they would need to get into university, with a minimum of three Highers, including English and Maths. A business related qualification can also be useful, where accountancy is not offered as part of the school curriculum. Of course, it’s also about identifying the right person, not just exam results, so we look for good communicators, team players and those with a strong work ethic.”

And it works! There are currently seven staff within EQ, from a Partner through to new trainee accountants, who joined the firm directly from school.

Mark Smeaton (33) joined the practice from Forfar Academy and qualified with the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants in 2008.

Appointed a Partner two years ago, Mark said, “I always enjoyed working with numbers at school so it made sense to choose a career that involved doing something I enjoyed. The prospect of earning while learning appealed to me and, though studying while working isn’t easy, it was definitely worthwhile in the end.”

Work experience is also a positive stepping stone and, each year, EQ offers work experience slots for those in school with a genuine interest in accountancy.

For more information on working with EQ, visit

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