Lauren Downs

Receptionist to Audit Supervisor

My journey so far...

My experience at Goodman Jones differs slightly to other trainees since I started out on reception. Having achieved my A levels in languages and psychology and deciding against the university route (I never really fancied myself as a translator or psychologist), I wanted to begin working life. I feel as though I hit jackpot with Goodman Jones – after a year working as a receptionist and admin assistant, a role within the accounts department became available and I was offered the position, on the condition that I would complete the AAT qualification.

Of course, I accepted the offer and spent my first two years learning about the wonderful world of accounting! Following that, I was then given the opportunity to start the ACA training contract and continue my journey to becoming a chartered accountant.

Three years later, I’m now fully qualified and have begun my role as Audit Supervisor. Never did I think I’d be saying that when I accepted the role on reception all those years ago!

Going out on audit

My first client visit felt quite surreal, having only been office-based up until that point, but I was given plenty of preparation before going on site and had the support from the team throughout the audit. A few months into my life as an ACA trainee, I really started to enjoy visiting clients’ offices and working with different members of the team as I felt it helped me learn how to adapt to each job quickly and get to know my fellow colleagues better.

The beauty of working for a medium-sized firm like Goodman Jones is the diversity of clients you can work with. I’ve gone from vouching items of equipment at construction sites in full health & safety gear, to checking how much flour is in stock at a cake factory. Being able to work with such a variety of businesses is quite fascinating and gives you an insight into how different industries operate, something which I feel has proved valuable as my career has progressed.

The balancing act

Striking a balance between work, studying and personal life is a skill which you learn to pick up quickly as a trainee. Fortunately, I had some previous experience of this when I was completing my AAT training, although the level of commitment to the books certainly increased for ACA. There’s no doubt about it, the exams are hard but anything worth having in life requires some graft to achieve it right?

The saving grace is you have support from every angle: from college (First Intuition is the tuition provider used by Goodman Jones), where the tutors are not only knowledgeable but also personable, willing to help you both in and out of class should you need it; to your peer group who are there throughout the process and who you can always rely on for moral support; to Goodman Jones who provide the study leave (for both college and exam days) as well as any additional guidance on managing your time between work and studying to ensure neither your success nor wellbeing are compromised.

Life at Goodman Jones

As you might imagine, I am one of Goodman Jones’s biggest advocates (did I mention I’d been here for six years now?). Jokes aside, there are many reasons as to why I’ve stayed with the firm, so many in fact I probably couldn’t name them all. One of the best parts about working here is that it does feel like one big family – everyone is approachable and striving to help one another progress, regardless of their role within the company. Throughout my time here, from receptionist to ACA qualified supervisor, I’ve received support from peers, managers and partners – at the end of the day we all want to be successful in our achievements, but as a team, rather than individuals.

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