“I knew that I wanted to do a degree which involved accounting, but I also wanted to study something fairly unique. After seeing that USW offered a course in Forensic Accounting course, I discovered that Forensic Accounting is a fairly new practice and sought-after skill in the UK. The course also allowed me to cover core topics in Accounting and Finance, which meant I’d also be able to gain the same ACCA and ICAEW exemptions which would assist my future goal to become a Chartered Accountant.
I was unsure in my second year as to what area of accounting I wanted to join after I graduate. At the time, I had a little experience in Accounting and Taxation, but whilst studying Audit and Assurance, I wanted to experience what the role of an auditor involved. The USW Careers service and my lecturers helped me to secure a sandwich placement with the Wales Audit Office within the Financial Audit team.
My role in the team involved assisting the delivery of the external audits of a range of public-sector bodies including Local Government, Central Government and NHS. I had to undertake external audit work in response to audit risks in accordance to the company’s audit methodology and International Audit Standards.
The knowledge and skills gained from the first year and second year helped me with the role on the placement. We’d already studied how financial reports are prepared, investigating the areas for any misstatements and advising the clients for future preparation of the accounts, all of which I could then apply to a real life setting. In turn, on my return to USW for my final year, the experience and knowledge I gained on the placement has also been invaluable for many of the tutorials and coursework for my final year modules.
After returning to USW to complete my final year, I was invited back by the Wales Audit Office to interview for the role of Audit Trainee, which I was offered and will start in June. Going into my final year exams knowing that I have already secured a job is amazing - plus WAO will support and fund me to complete the remaining ICAEW exam to become a Charted Accountant, which is great.
My advice to other students would be - If you get an opportunity to do a fully paid placement like this, go for it! Placements like this give you a flavour of how accounting and audit organisation work and they really do help you decide what kind of career you want to do in the future."