Kate Bradshaw

Giuseppe Scozzaro, Head of trainee recruitment speaks with Kate Bradshaw about working and training at Goodman Jones. 

Here's the transcript from the conversation:

[KB]: So I'm Kate Bradshaw. I'm in my third year as a trainee. I joined Goodman Jones as a firm because it just felt like it was going to be a really nice fit. Everybody felt very close and it's felt like it was a good, nice working environment to be in.

[GS]: So you joined directly from the university, is that correct?

[KB]: No, I took a year out, well, four or five months out travelling, and then I worked in recruitment for three months and then I joined from there.

[GS]: So following your time in recruitment, what was it that made you decide that you wanted to go into a career into accountancy?

[KB]: I think I wanted to be an accountant before I went into recruitment. But I came back from travelling at an awkward time. So it wasn't really like the graduate recruitment time because it was April and I did a couple of applications for big firms, and they're really, really impersonal. And I was not getting through based on like multiple-choice questionnaires. And so that was quite disheartening. And so I thought I'd try something else, but then didn't enjoy recruitment so I came back to accountancy.

[GS]: So in your experiences of the recruitment process at the bigger firms, how did they differ to that at Goodman Jones?

[KB]: Oh, as I said, I didn't get very far in many of them because apparently, I'm not very good at multiple-choice questions. But it just because of that, I felt really impersonal I didn't feel like they wanted to get to know me as a person. They wanted to see what I answered on the question about my personality but isn't my personality if that makes sense.

[GS]: Yes, absolutely. What can you say about the recruitment process at Goodman Jones and what any prospective candidates could expect?

[KB]: It's pretty much the opposite of what you experience at a bigger firm, from my experience and that you are always contacted directly and it goes pretty much straight into an interview stage rather than having to go through long application forms or video interviews, which was really awkward.   I felt like the firm was wanting to really get to know me to see if I was a good fit, as much as I wanted to see if the firm would be a good fit for me.

[GS]: What tips would you give someone looking for a training position now?

[KB]: If I were looking for a training position now, I'd just want to make sure that I know what my biggest priorities are and somewhere that I want to work and to make extra sure that wherever I go to ticks those boxes, whether that's social life, work-life balance. What college you go to, how much study leave you to get? Just making sure that like all of those things are important ticked off by the firm.

[GS]: Okay. So following on from that, what can you tell me about your experiences training at Goodman Jones? So what kind of responsibilities are you given and how's the training?

[KB]: In terms of at work or at college?

[GS]: Both.

[KB]: Well, responsibilities at work I think are really good because you get a lot of responsibility quite quickly, which can be a little bit daunting, but I really liked the challenge. Like early on in my second year, I basically, the first job I did in my second year, I was doing an audit completely by myself. I'd never planned an audit, finished an audit all the way through, which was like scary, but it was so rewarding to see it all done from start to finish. And I think that's very rare to be able to do so early on in your training contract. And the support that I got doing things was absolutely fine.

So it's not like anything massively wrong and I was given the responsibility too early because everybody in the firm is so supportive and you're going to be absolutely fine anyway.

[GS]: And then moving on to your training experiences at college, what can you tell us about that?

[KB]: The college that we have is just really good. All of the tutors are always contactable. Evenings, weekends within reason, obviously. So you always feel like there's someone to talk to if you're struggling in the same way that if you wanted to talk to somebody at the firm, they'd also be happy to talk to you if you panicked about exams or anything. And the amount of support you get is really good from both sides of that.

[GS]: And how do you find sort of studying and working at the same time? How do you juggle those two?

[KB]: For me, I found it fine because I'm a bit of a last-minute crammer so because with a lot of the courses, you get a long revision course closer towards the exam and because then I could completely concentrate on college rather than worrying too much about work, it didn't feel too much like I was juggling it all of the time, but at the same time, if people know that you have exams coming up when you're in the office, they are really understanding. If you are like going home at five on the dot or to go back and revise so it's not too hard as long as you keep on top of that.

[GS]: Did you find it helpful being in sort of a small intake of graduates that are able to help each other out? Is that something that really helped?

[KB]: Yes, definitely because you become really close to the people who are in the same year as you, but you also become really close to the people in the years above, which helps even more so because they've already done what you're now struggling through.

And also seeing them succeed makes it a lot less scary because you know that it's doable and people have done it and they can help you through it.

[GS]: As much as possible and this is quite a difficult one, but can you describe what a typical day is like at Goodman Jones?

[KB]: It's quite tricky because each day is pretty different because they do such a huge range of work. One day you’d be doing accounts or you could do an audit. I've done a couple of special projects as well.

[GS]: So is it fair to say the work is quite varied and that potentially no two days can be the same?

[KB]: Yes, definitely. I'd say that even if you are spending lots of time just doing audits, even the variation from client to client can be quite big as well. So I wouldn't say that there is really a typical day in the office when you're a trainee.

[GS]: And then going forward, what are you looking forward to for the rest of your career at Goodman Jones?

[KB]: I'm mostly looking forward to leading a couple of the jobs that I did in my first year-round and in my second year because it feels like I'm completing, it's like going full circle of like each stage on that same client. 

[GS]: So what can you tell anyone that's listening about the progression, moving from what you’d have done in your first year on a particular client to where you are now? Say, for example, another client you would have started by doing the more basic aspects of the job and now you're kind of move into the stage where you're doing the more complex and challenging things.

[KB]: Yes. So say for the example of the jobs that I’ve done from the junior level up into senior,  in your first year because you're looking at income and expenditure. That's when you kind of get to know how a company works because of that and then that's good in terms of progression because then the next year you have more understanding about the company and you help the first year on it.

[GS]: You also build a relationship with the client. And I guess would it be fair to say that you’re sort of given the responsibility to liaise with the client and build that relationship?

[KB]: Yes, you definitely have the responsibility to do that and you’re definitely encouraged to do it. Right from your first day on-site, which I found a bit scary, to begin with. It came down to talk to clients, but it was good that you're encouraged to do it because then obviously when you get to your third year and you're leading it, then you do a lot of talking to clients, which is actually now my favourite part of the job.

[GS]: Absolutely. In terms of your training, obviously, you're recently exam qualified. Congratulations.

[KB]: Thank you.

[GS]: What advice can you give to any prospective candidates in terms of how to cope with the exam pressures on top of like your working day?

[KB]: My main bit of advice would just be to not panic because you have all of the resources you need to do the exams, and the worst thing you can do is like get overwhelmed and think that they've built them up too much in your head.

So, I'd always say to just try and keep as calm as possible, and you can definitely do it.

[GS]: I guess I'd like to know. What you'd say about the partner group at Goodman Jones? In your interactions with them. How do you find the partner group?

[KB]: Surprisingly approachable. That was one of the things that I like about when I first joined was that you can talk to literally anybody in the building and it feels not very scary, which is nice. So yes, I feel like I could have a conversation with any of the partners if I bumped into them in the kitchen, and so they're all approachable and always willing to help as well if you're working for them on any of their jobs.

[GS]: Can you describe what the social aspects are like at Goodman Jones?

[KB]: The social aspect of my experience has been really, really good. It's nice that the trainees are also close but I feel like everybody is quite close as a firm, as a whole. And I've definitely felt  over my two and a bit years here, I've made friends for life and that's thanks to how good everybody is socially and wants to talk to each other, which is nice.

[GS]: In terms of your client work, have there been any instances where you felt that the work has been quite rewarding?

[KB]: Every time that I find the work is the most rewarding is when I feel like I have done something to genuinely help the client. So like that can be as simple as showing them how to post appreciation properly. Or just, like when you do an AFR points and you help them with the controls and everything. Anything, I feel like I'm helping them.

[GS]: You’re contributing to them.

[KB]: Yes, exactly.

[GS]: Yes, their business.

[KB]: Yes.

Thank you very much for taking the time to listen to our podcast. I hope you found this useful and it gave you an insight into working and training at Goodman Jones.

If you'd like any further information, please visit the careers section. Alternatively, you can email recruitment@goodmanjones.com 

We look forward to hearing from you.

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