Joseph Macwilliam – Accounting Apprentice

Joseph is a Finance Officer at Vernon Building Society and has recent completed his level 3 Accounts Assistant Apprenticeship.

How has the apprenticeship improved your life?

The apprenticeship has allowed me to keep studying after university and kept me in the mindset of continuous learning. I have been able to translate the skills and knowledge I have learned through it into the workplace, which has allowed me to continually develop and be better at my role.

How will the apprenticeship training continue to impact on you in the future?

The training has instilled a mindset of continual professional development in me, and that will be used throughout my career in the future. Continually improving myself can only lead to more benefits. The knowledge learned from AAT and the training provided will also be vital to me for qualifications further into the future.

How has the apprenticeship impacted on your organisation?

I have been able to fit into multiple different teams within the core finance team, building relationships with all of the team members. This exposure has meant that I am able to provide cover and perform tasks in all teams whenever required. If extra help is needed elsewhere I can be relied upon to provide that support. In addition, I help to provide key analysis every week that the business leaders then use to make decisions for the organisation.

How has Damar’s approach to training contributed to the impact of the apprenticeship on you and your organisation?

The training systems are easy to use and understand, and there is always a line of communication with either the AAT tutor provided or my Damar coach should I need it. On a few occasions I have asked for help with a particular question I was struggling with, or for advice on my portfolio, and I always got a swift reply in return. This was key to help my development and allowed me to be more successful in my studies.

Why did you decide to do an apprenticeship?

I had just come out of university with a business management and economics degree, and while I had the knowledge I had no previous experience or qualifications within the accounting field. I was struggling to find a job and didn’t really know what I wanted to do. An apprenticeship seemed like the ideal way for me to learn through AAT, and gain experience from working in the financial sector at the same time in an entry level position.

What activities do you do in your day-to-day role?

My daily role includes duties like completing reconciliations for our bank accounts, processing invoices, and sending payments for our customers. In addition to this, I complete monthly reports that analyse our mortgage book that enable our business leaders to make future decisions for the organisation. I am also trained to submit our payroll, as well as review our costs and overheads compared to their respective budgets.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

The investigative nature of the job is what I enjoy the most – when a reconciliation doesn’t reconcile and I have to figure out why, or investigate a problem related to recent payments. The entire process of discovering the problem, figuring out the solution and then implementing requires you to engage a lot more and, when you finally figure it out, it’s very satisfying!

What are your future career plans?

I am really enjoying my time working in the financial services sector and I am hoping to use the knowledge that I have learned through this apprenticeship and with AAT to progress within the business. In addition, and on top of this, I am hoping to start the ACCA qualification and continue on the path to becoming a chartered accountant.