Summer in the City: working in the Business Support Department

I’ve been working in the Business Support Department (BSD) at Chiene + Tait for the past few months, and it’s not been what I was expecting. In truth, I didn’t know what to expect, as I’ve not had any experience working in an accountancy firm before. I thought that it might be a similar atmosphere to some office jobs I’ve had in the past where it’s silent most of the time and nobody really interacts with each other. I was pleasantly surprised on my first day that everyone was very welcoming and friendly, and not just in the “smile and nod” sort of way. There’s an atmosphere of focus and professionalism, but at the same time you’re not afraid to ask for a hand with something you’ve not seen before. There’s also been several work outings since I’ve been here to places like Musselburgh Races and a ten pin bowling competition, which really helped with getting to know the people I work with (and who’s the most competitive).

My role in BSD this summer was to produce cash accounts for certain clients, but that didn’t take as long as once thought, so I’ve been doing other things that I never thought I’d get a chance to do. It may be the kind of things that people find repetitive, but since I’ve only experienced accounting from a university perspective, I really enjoyed the exposure to different aspects of accounting, from helping with VAT returns, to processing information on accounts software packages like SAGE or Xero.

Through the variety of things I’ve had the chance to do this summer in the team, I’ve been able to learn new skills on several software packages, some of which I’d never heard of before. It’s interesting to see whilst using these software packages, the contrasting styles and different areas each of them focus on. One thing that I’ve learned is that, although it’s important to know how to use these packages, it’s also vital to understand the processes they go through to achieve a desired outcome. Each package has different methods to save an accountant, and thereby clients, time and money.

I feel like this summer has given me a much better understanding of what accountancy is like in the real world. It’s clear to see that the majority of work carried out isn’t as straightforward as the examples we do at university, and an understanding of the underlying processes is vital.

I’ve really enjoyed my time here at Chiene + Tait, it’s been a great experience! I’ll hopefully be back next year!