Natasha Prior

Natasha's LinkedIn profile

I studied accountancy because I was interested in going straight into work from school, rather than university. I had a friend whose dad owned and ran a private accountancy practice, which was advertising apprenticeships. It sounded interesting, especially as I knew that I wanted to do something with math’s, but I wasn’t sure what exactly. 

I’d been accepted into Nottingham University but when I got a phone call from Lishmans saying that I could start an apprenticeship here instead, and get paid whilst working, I preferred to do that.

I came to Lishmans and completed level 2 and 3 AAT. I then decided to take a break and try other career paths, as being a school leaver there were things I wanted to experience. After a while I decided that I would enjoy going back to college part time to complete the AAT level 4. After achieving the AAT Level 4 and having a few years out of accountancy, I knew I wanted to get back into it full time. I contacted Lishmans and asked for a reference. They were happy to provide it but asked if I’d like to come back instead! I was so excited about this. It felt like I could pick up where I left off. 

On my return to Lishmans I jumped straight in. I was excited to be in the office full time and put the AAT to good use. During the pandemic I stepped into the payroll department and helped lead the CJRS claims for our clients.  It was a really important time for me to be able to help our clients but also gain experience in client communications and building client relationships. 

I was made a mentor at Lishmans helping junior members of staff with day-to-day queries on accounts, VAT returns and self-assessments. I enjoyed teaching and supporting people; just as I had been supported whilst I was studying AAT. I started reviewing the work of the apprentices whilst still mentoring. The team grew to about 15 and I was promoted to review the team’s work with a couple of other colleagues. 

Some more time passed, we needed additional seniors to bridge the gap in the team. At this point, it was time for me and another ACCA member Natalie Jackson to step up and become accounts seniors. 

Currently I organise the work planning in the accounts department – coordinating the team, looking at all the work that has / is due to come in, evaluating how long the jobs is going to take, how intricate that piece of work is – I then distribute the work to the team based on the level of experience and support required.

The job role has really snowballed in the past six months, and I’ve had to learn quickly whilst also finishing off my ACCA exams which I did in March 2023. Lishmans also restructured in June, so to free up more time for the partner, Natalie and I now manage the whole team – we review the work of the team, complete appraisals, one-to-ones, check-ins, and study. 

In the last couple of months, I’ve started taking year end meetings. I’ve always had communications with clients and had ad hoc client meetings, but I hadn’t taken year end meetings until recently. It can be daunting and a little scary to explain a set of accounts to a client and be prepared for any questions that they might ask me, without a partner in the room to take the lead. So far, it’s been year-end meetings for our smaller clients and the partner always gives me time before the meeting to help me prepare so I am supported. It has been a challenging but very rewarding experience. Many of our clients are local businesses, which is nice because it means that most of the time, we can take a year-end meeting face to face.

Since becoming an ACCA member, I’ve been given so much more responsibility. I’ve started working with larger clients with higher turnovers that I’ve not had that much experience with before. 

I’m quite ambitious so I definitely want to progress in my role, but at the moment it’s still new and challenging. I’m still learning and completing new pieces of work that I’ve not done before. Now that I’ve got my ACCA, it’s like a badge that proves that I’ve done the studying. It’s now a case of getting more experience and learning on the job.