I study Accounting and Finance at John Moore’s University, which has modules such as financial/management accounting, tax, auditing and law for accountancy. My job title at Ashfield Healthcare Communications is a project accounts assistant, and involves completing a number of accounting tasks on a regular basis including monthly agendas, client invoicing, reconciling revenue, and assigning purchase orders amongst others.
I live at home in Liverpool whilst studying at university, so the prospect of moving away for a year’s placement was quite scary to be honest. However, I soon found out that Macclesfield is a very nice and calming place to live, which made me feel a lot better about my new job. My colleagues also helped me settle in, making a conscious effort to get to know me, and within the first day I had already built several work relationships. My daily routine varies, depending on which working day of the month it is. However, every Friday (without fail), finance go to McDonalds on our lunch break, so it gives us something to look forward to!
So far, the team has given me a great insight into the world of work and what it is like working in a fast-paced office environment. Before I joined, I had no idea what it would be like working in an accounting department, as I had only worked in retail previously whilst at sixth form and university.
In the remaining few months of my placement at Ashfield, I would like to learn more about revenue and percentage of completion files, as this would help me understand how our department impacts the results of the wider business. So far, I think my greatest achievement has been consistently completing purchase order invoice tracker (POIT) to the level expected every month – this is a stressful task due to constant time pressure. POIT involves raising and uploading between three to four hundred client invoices within one working week. There are many procedures involved in our global finance system Oracle and I was happy at how quickly I picked this up when I first started my placement. Carrying out this task has helped me to improve my communication skills and build working relationships with members of Ashfield Healthcare Communications agency GCC.
When the UK was placed into lockdown due to COVID-19, I moved back home to Liverpool, taking my laptop with me. It was enjoyable being able to spend more time with my parents, as I have not seen them as much this past year. However, I was slightly worried about the possibility of my job changing because of the virus. Fortunately, I have quite enjoyed working from home and my workload has not been affected. I have a group call with my team twice a day, on which we can catchup and help each other if needs be. If there is something that I don’t understand, I can just call my supervisor or manager over skype and they are happy to help, which makes me feel more at ease. My role has been extended due to the virus, so it gives me a chance to help train the new placement student, set to start in September. Once this is all over, I am definitely going to feel the pain of not being able to wakeup ten minutes before I start work!
Hopefully this lockdown period is over for all of us sooner rather than later, but I think it has shown the company that we can successfully do our jobs, whether we are at home or in the office. I would advise future placement students to be open-minded and as flexible as possible so that they can easily adapt to different working conditions. I would also recommend that they should try and do some basic training in Microsoft Excel if they have not used this software before, as we all use it every day and it’s an important aspect of the job. Being able to use this software efficiently will also ensure that future placement students meet all of their deadlines successfully.
Overall, my experience over the past ten months has been very positive and I believe that the skills I have learned will definitely help me further my career in accounting after I graduate from university. I have met a lot of people through work, whom I am sure I will keep in contact with after my placement finishes.