James Costin

"Accountancy isn’t just about number crunching. It involves analysis and forecasting for the future therefore giving a variation in the job as there are always different things happening..."

Job Title: Accounts Assistant

Employer: Story Homes Limited

Job: Accounts Assistant / Clerk

About my job

What does your department do?

The Finance departments’ role is to plan and budget future incomes and expenditures and to make payments for wages, materials and contractors working on our sites. Money must be allocated and posted on the system ready for up and coming expenditures. Any VAT claims must also be carefully looked at to make sure everything that is put forward to claim VAT on is accurate and legal to do so. We also look at things like asset depreciation, internal expenditure of the office and we organise data from other departments to analyse either with that specific department or as part of an overall analysis which the directors and the CEO will look over.

What do you do on a day-to-day basis?

My day to day job can vary slightly depending on what needs done. As an apprentice just starting out I mostly look at processes therefore I post journals for people meaning that money is allocated for expenditures. I have also been looking through bank statements for credit cards which people use in the business. I check the statements and put down on excel the VAT, where the money was spent and what was bought. After this has been checked and coded up (we use certain codes on the system which puts the payments in the correct places on the system) I will then post the payments on the system. My job can also consist of helping the purchase ledgers. This may involve scanning, helping out at the month end (usually a busy day in finance) and also help sorting and coding up invoices. Other days my job can consist of raising sales invoices, looking at property Council of mortgage lenders and legal completion dates. I have also done bank reconciliations and bank reconciliation summary reports.

Currently however, I am looking at site plans and inputting data into the system about what the house type is on plot x, what the value type is and what parking the house has.

What do you like about what you do?

I enjoy the new challenge as it is all new to me. I enjoy the work that I have been doing because it allows me to learn from other people then be able to go and undertake the task and then continue to use what I have learned regularly as part of my job. Also, I have a great interest in the workings of business and I believe finance allows me to see this as everything ties into finance and I will get to see all different workings of the business that comes to us in finance.

Why did you choose this career?

I think it is because of the idea that you get to see the workings of the business. Accountancy isn’t just about number crunching. It involves analysis and forecasting for the future therefore giving a variation in the job as there are always different things happening and as new ambitions and ideas take place, the things that are analysed change and different decisions are made.

Another thing that attracted me into accountancy is the grounding that it gives you for other careers meaning you are not just stuck in one job for the rest of your life. The different industries you can work in as an accountant all give you different experience in terms of the different ways they operate. From Logistics to Retail, accountancy allows you to work in a complete range of businesses.

Accountancy can allow you to progress through the business and can also lead to other types of accountancy such as forensic accountancy, audit/assurance and consultancy. Due to the amount of different opportunities you feel like you have options and you are not just stuck on one road as you are qualified for a whole range of things.

What qualifications did you need to get this job?

Starting out in your career I think you need to work hard in school and show a real desire to learn. I initially started my career in Story Homes doing work experience which turned in to a summer job. I was then successfully appointed in to the role of Finance Apprentice.

Is there any particular advice you would give to someone looking for a career in your area of work?

I think it is important to know what you want to do in your job early on as it will allow you time to choose how you will go about becoming an accountant. Will you go to university, night school or do an apprenticeship? What is the best way to start you career off to get you to where you want to be?

Questions & Answers

What hobbies or interests do you have?

I play the bagpipes and used to compete with a pipe band but now I just receive solo tuition. I also enjoy woodturning which is a type of woodworking. You can work different types of woods including exotic foreign woods to make things such as bowls, platters, stands, pens, pencils and ornamentation objects.

What’s your favourite type of music?

I listen to any music really, just depends on what I feel like at the time.

What’s your favourite film / film genre?

Don’t really know what my favourite genre would be but I did enjoy The Great Gatsby.