How we grow our own

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At GSM, we are celebrating a real milestone this year: 100 years in practice. Since 1918, GSM have built a stellar reputation for excellence in the provision of its services and over the years, GSM’s expertise, experience and enterprise have helped businesses succeed, families prosper and not for profit organisations pursue their mission.

Of course, GSM wouldn’t have been able to achieve this success without the support, devotion and loyalty of its team; past and present. Indeed, with many senior staff having over 20 years’ experience in the practice, they provide invaluable knowledge and expertise to clients and to their colleagues alike.

My Story

Having graduated with a Mathematics degree in 2004, like many graduates, I was still unsure of what career path to take. Deciding upon the ‘finance’ sector, I took a scatter-gun approach to applying for graduate positions and spent the early years of my career gaining experience in financial benchmarking and analysis, quantitative and qualitative reporting, management accounts & business development.

I was happy enough – I could cover my bills and I had some spare cash for the weekends (what more do you need in your early 20s?). But I wasn’t fulfilled, nowhere near my potential, and was working to live, not living to work. I was 27 by the time I had decided to make a change. It’s easy to think of those years as lost (what if I had gone straight into a graduate accounting role – where would I be now?), but I’m a firm believer that experiences are what mould you as an individual. I would not be who I am today if I had not followed the path that I did.

So there I was. 27 years old, 6 years older than most graduates, applying for the same graduate roles as they were. How would I stand out and how would I convince a potential employer that I had not wasted the previous 6 years, that I was a good bet?

Upon researching the various accounting qualifications, the ACA stood out for me – valued around the world in business, practice and the public sector. I took it upon myself to complete the first tier of exams (the knowledge level) in my spare time, so as to prove my commitment to this career choice for any potential employers.

I joined GSM in May 2011 at the age of 28 as an ACA trainee – I felt young again! My training contract, following a 3 month probationary period, was a standard 3 year period, in which I would juggle the demands of study and work. The benefit of working in a general practice firm is the wide range of expertise in different sectors. I was immersed into the client work from day 1 of my role and surrounded by experienced seniors and managers who were always willing to assist or answer my questions. The nurturing environment and hands on training really reaped rewards when learning about accounting theory in the classroom as I already had some practical experience to back it up.

Those first 3 years flew past and I completed my final exam in November 2014. I was a fully qualified ACA! Not long after I achieved my qualification I was given the opportunity to become a Supervisor, with more responsibility for overseeing the work of the existing pool of trainees. It is here that I feel the experience gained prior to joining the practice really showed and I was able to transition into this role seamlessly, a natural progression. The partners have an open-door policy here and that example from the top really does filter down as an example for us all to follow – we are a team and in helping out each other, we can of course provide a better service to our clients.

The benefit of working at a smaller practice, is that opportunities can present themselves a lot quicker than they may do in a larger firm. Thanks to certain staff movements following retirement, I was fortunate enough to be offered a Manager role in early 2017, after showing my passion and commitment to the practice and its continuing success.

I was very proud to become a partner on 1 April 2018. Whilst the next 12 months and beyond will be a steep learning curve, it is one I face with gusto, drive and determination.

How GSM can help you

At GSM, we are rightly proud of our reputation of growing our own accountants and developing their experience alongside our clients.

To start building a new relationship with us, please contact:

rsmith@gsmaccountants.co.uk
020 7935 3793