Jess Jones

Audit Senior I Third Year Graduate Trainee

Spanish & Portuguese I University of Manchester

Jan 2021 | Internship


Mar 2021 | Job Offer

Job Offer

Sep 2021 | Start Date

Start date

Due 2025 | Qualified

ACA Qualified

My Story

What was the graduate assessment process like?

My interviewers looked beyond whether I had a financial background and were interested in me as an individual and where I wanted my career to go.  I wasn’t made to sit numeracy and cognitive reasoning tests or expected to have technical knowledge already.

There were maths and accountancy students at my assessment day, but the tasks were more creative, so it felt like more of a level playing field compared to others I’d been to.  This is typical of the SRLV approach and work ethic.

Did anything surprise you when you started your training?

As a language graduate, I thought that becoming an audit junior and studying for the ACA exams would feel like a big change, but I hardly noticed the difference.  There are so many transferable skills inherent to the work which I wasn’t aware of.

What work can you expect to do as a trainee?

My first job was drafting client engagement letters.  Following that, I began helping with accounts preparation and testing key audit areas, such as expenditure, cash and bank, and wages.  I worked on a number of clients which meant no audit was the same. I quickly gained experience across a variety of industries that were of personal interest, which kept me constantly engaged and motivated.

The firm trusts and respects your ability. Trainees often progress quickly and once qualified enough, within two years can carry out a full engagement under the supervision of managers and partners, which isn’t something every audit firm offers. They also consider your interests, so if you prefer auditing within specific industries, they do their best to facilitate this.

All the partners and staff know the trainees here.  It makes you feel safe and valued.  You are constantly supported; they ask how you are and do everything they can to ensure you get the right help when you need it.

Jess Jones | Audit Senior I Third Year Graduate Trainee

My tips

Do you have any tips for SRLV’s interview/assessment days?

Be yourself 100% – individuality is what this company appreciates!  As part of the assessment day, everyone gets to do a presentation about something they’re interested in.  You’re encouraged to be as creative as possible.

Be original and don’t be afraid – it’s true that they actually don’t want you to talk about hot topics in finance!  For my assessment, I did a presentation about my passion for hockey and other topics ranged from aviation to coffee production.

Was there anything memorable about joining SRLV?

The audit partners meet everyone at our graduate assessment events.  Many months later on my first day, a partner who I’d met came over to say hello.  He remembered my name and that I was Welsh and immediately introduced me to another partner who was also from Wales.  All the partners know your name here.  I have friends training at other firms who aren’t known by their partners in quite the same way.

Is there anything different about SRLV’s training programme?

The audit ACA training contract at SRLV is four years, which gives you greater flexibility to study at your own pace.  I recently took a six-month break from my exams, for example.  Although it may sound like a good idea to be ACA qualified in three years, trainees often find that it isn’t practical.   It can also feel intense when you’re studying for exams and working, so it’s important to have a good work/life balance, which SRLV encourages us in.

All the partners and staff know the trainees here.  It makes you feel safe and valued.  You are constantly supported; they ask how you are and do everything they can to ensure you get the right help when you need it.

My life at SRLV now

What’s the career progression like?

Each year you study is like a steppingstone in terms of career progression.  There’s usually an annual promotion as you gain knowledge, experience and pass your exams, along with generous pay rises to reflect your development.  There’s a good career pathway here as a trainee and afterwards, when you’re qualified. Our graduate retention rates are a great example of this.

I really like the company culture at SRLV.  They pay attention to people’s personalities and interests.  It’s sociable and everyone is encouraged to get involved.  They’re also interested in helping you shape your career path. I’d like to go into a more creative role within financial services eventually and there are so many opportunities here to do this.

What do you like most about working in audit?

It’s not all about finance and excel spreadsheets.  You get to understand how businesses work; we speak to their staff, assess their operations and assess the ways they could improve their internal controls.  Our audits create strategic outcomes for clients, which is one of the aspects of the work I enjoy most.

Unlike my degree, I’m applying my exam knowledge on a daily basis, which is rewarding and motivating in itself. It’s encouraging to feel your hard work pay off and actually be used in real life!

What’s the social life like?

I’m part of SRLV’s social committee.  We always ensure there are events that everyone across the whole firm can get involved with, including staff from our sister organisations and those who’ve just been recruited.   Once they have offers, interns and graduates are also invited to our summer socials to meet everyone before they start in September.

The partners want people to have interests and be sociable.  They’re open to new ideas and brilliant at supporting the social committee to arrange staff events and activities.  You get to know everyone very quickly and there’s a strong sense of our company culture.

It helps that there’s an emphasis on social events which are more inclusive.  Not everyone drinks, for example, so we have cricket socials, darts tournaments and sports days; activities based on encouraging people to get up on their feet and try something new.  It’s great for our mental health and wellbeing.

  • 4

    The number of years in our graduate audit training contracts.

  • 12

    The number of different industries our audit team specialises in.

  • 4

    The number of annual promotions and pay rises graduates usually receive during their training contracts.