Accountancy apprentice to semi senior accountant

From Accountancy Apprentice to Semi Senior Accountant – Why Rayner Essex is a great fit

Sanya Qayyum is a Semi-Senior Accountant at Rayner Essex (RE) and is a committed and driven employee. Sanya shares her career journey in this recent interview, giving us an insight into her career path, having started out as an apprentice and reasons why she feels Rayner Essex is the right fit for her.

What was your pathway into an apprenticeship?

After completing my GCSE’s, I decided to do an AAT Apprenticeship. I joined Rayner Essex after completing my Level 4 AAT at a previous employer and knew that I wanted to go on to studying towards a chartered qualification. I also felt it was the right time to move from a small to a medium sized firm, and that is when I decided to join Rayner Essex and begin my ACCA to become a fully qualified chartered accountant. I started off as a junior four years ago and I’m currently at a Semi-Senior level working my way towards a Senior position within the firm.  

Why the apprenticeship route?

I’ve always had a passion for Maths and working with numbers, so accounting seemed like a natural career move for me. It was definitely the right choice for me to take!”

I knew that I was far more suited to a hands on, practical approach to learning and that’s what led me to take the apprenticeship route. I felt I was able to take on the challenge of working full-time, whilst gaining my professional qualifications. I was interested in learning about different aspects of business and working at Rayner Essex really enabled me to grow my experience in various sectors, including Accounting Solutions, Tax, and VAT.

What is your current role at RE and explain a typical day at work?

I’m currently working as a Semi-Senior Accountant at Rayner Essex and each day at work is never really the same. I carry out such a wide variety of duties and I find this really helps to keep the job interesting.

On a typical day, I check which jobs I have scheduled in for the day and prioritise my workload. However, you always need to be prepared to quickly switch between tasks and handle the unexpected. Being in close contact with clients, I receive several emails throughout the day, and believe it is my utmost priority to handle these queries in a timely manner to ensure our clients receive the best possible service.

Spending time helping others within our department gives me a real sense of job satisfaction, knowing that I’ve helped someone to overcome their challenges really makes me happy. Having been through the apprenticeship route myself, I enjoy giving other apprentices guidance and encouragement in their role as well assisting them with their studies.

The environment at Rayner Essex is unique because we all work so closely together as a team and this keeps an uplifting atmosphere in the office. I mean, who wouldn’t want to be at work with their friends every day!

A great working environment empowers you to achieve success

The ongoing support received from management and the team and practical on-the-job experience gained, has helped me to achieve success. The pace of learning has been in small and manageable steps. This has given me the motivation and confidence to work towards my ACCA qualification.  Rayner Essex have also been great at giving me the study support I need. They regularly check in on my progress and encourage me to excel in my studies. However they understand that there are times I may not take part in certain exam sittings. I am still able to progress at my own pace when I’m ready. It’s great to know they are behind me every step of the way.

“I’ve built a great relationship with all of the managers and partners at Rayner Essex, as well as with my team and other departments. I feel like I work in a super friendly environment with others around me who are also studying, which keeps me driven and motivates me to work harder.”

Diversity, Equality and Inclusion in the workplace – Makes RE a great fit!

Rayner Essex nurtures a culture of diversity, equality and inclusion within the firm. We welcome people from all walks of life, regardless of ethnic backgrounds, religious beliefs, gender, race or status. This culture is the driving force that empowers me to be my very best self! Our various backgrounds allow us to learn from each other and share varied perspectives, that make our company culture unique.

I feel highly respected at work and confident in my abilities. My opinion counts to my managers and the team regardless of the fact that I work in a heavily male dominated industry. Rayner Essex continue to encourage me to achieve my goals. The company is taking positive steps to increasing female representation within the management structure of the firm. This makes me feel proud and empowers me to succeed and continue to strive towards my senior management goals.

Throughout the year, the firm holds various department meetings where everyone has a chance to voice their opinions. Everybody give their feedback and suggestions on internal systems, processes and other company matters. All staff participate from apprentice level all the way up to partners and everybody’s voice is heard.

What advice would you give someone who is considering an apprenticeship?

When you finish school, it’s common to feel scared about life and your future and what to do next. Not everyone has a vocation or calling, and at teenage years, or the confidence or knowledge required for work. For whatever reason you might not be ready to go to university. Or you may not have the finances, and want to start work and enjoy the financial freedom that this provides.

If you enjoy Maths, the sciences perhaps or have 5 GCSE’s, the apprenticeship route may be for you.  You learn as you go along and have the ongoing support of your managers and team. You will find yourself in a very professional working environment. You really are valued as a member of the RE team. You can enjoy many benefits including a work-life balance, hybrid working, good starting pay, holiday, lots of social events. All of this helps you gain that stability and confidence in the world of work. You will gain the industry experience required to quickly excel in your chosen professional career.

“This is the fast-track route to beginning your career. I have friends who have graduated from university, however due to having no work experience, they’re struggling to find employment. Employers nowadays are looking for experienced individuals.”

The on-the-job experience you will gain while working with various departments means that you can quickly grow your knowledge. This means you can take your career in the direction you choose within the firm. So the sky is the limit as to what you can achieve!

So what’s next?

As always, I aim high!  I have always wanted to work my way up within a firm and a managerial role in the future would definitely be of interest to me at Rayner Essex. Especially  as I love to help others and really enjoy working with apprentices and graduates, mentoring them and helping them to grow their skills and experiences required for a successful career outside of their qualification. It’s great to be giving something back to the firm that helped nurture my success, so watch this space!

To find out more about joining Rayner Essex as an Accounting Apprentice take a deep dive into ‘Your Guide to Becoming an Accounting Apprentice’. If you would like any further information please contact me or our HR team. We will be happy to offer advice and guidance to help you access your career path.

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