Charlotte Eaton

Whilst at school I was given an opportunity to do work experience, I was unsure on which path to take but I knew I had a love for numbers. My mum is a hairdresser and her accountant offered to give me some work experience, which I enjoyed.

When I was looking for a university, I decided that I wanted to do accountancy and I really wanted to go to Edge Hill University because it’s a campus university – plus you get lots of exemptions which I knew would help me once I was out of university. 

Most of the tutors had worked for the Big 4 firms, some were even ACCA tutors with other learning providers. This led to the exams at Edge Hill being inspired by ACCA exams, which I knew would be helpful once I began my professional exams. In my last few months of university, my mum’s accountant had taken me on part time where I gained a broad range of skills from payroll to VAT returns and management accounts. Upon graduation from university this developed into a full-time role. 

After a few years of experience, I realised I wasn’t getting enough exposure to larger clients because I was working for a small local practice. I wanted more of a mixed position in a bigger firm but with audits to get that experience as I knew the audit experience would help with my exams, so I got a role at Mitchell Charlesworth in Manchester as an audit and accounts semi senior. Once I started working on audits, I realised that it wasn’t for me, so decided pursue accounts, management accounts, corporate tax and VAT. After a few years in this split role, I decided that I wanted to specialise in tax as this area is most suited to my skill set of rule application and computation calculations. I have recently accepted a position at a Big 4 firm where I will be a corporation tax assistant manager.

I’ve worked across a broad spectrum of clients – from sole traders to those just under the audit threshold – and in many different sectors including construction, automotive and nursing homes to give a few examples. I feel this variety will assist me in my next role by providing a background knowledge to multiple sectors.

I’ve been involved with my mum’s hairdressing business for many years. This gave me the opportunity to get to know the clients on a personal level and also the opportunity to discover different professions - clients included teachers, nurses, accountants and lawyers. This job was a client facing role and enhanced my confidence and interpersonal skills which I proudly possess now.

The accountancy profession is not just about accounts and business support but also to support the well-being of clients and their businesses. This was evident during the pandemic when we became key experts in respect of Government support schemes and other complex areas of legislation.

I think future accountants are going to need greater knowledge around sustainability and the environment. I’m not seeing much on those areas in small and medium practices yet, but the big practices are huge on those topics. The accountancy profession is not limited to accountancy anymore – there’s so much more to it now.