Case study

Finance higher apprentice — Hannah Coltart

See if Hannah's work-based apprenticeship route into accountancy would suit you…

How did you get your job?

I studied for the AAT Level 4 qualification at Kaplan Chelmsford and with that was able to get on an apprenticeships scheme at Visa Europe.

How relevant is your degree to your job?

I decided to study for some vocational accountancy qualifications and do an apprenticeship after my A-levels, instead of doing a degree.

What are your main work activities?

I am currently working with our Future of Payments team, handling budgets and forecasts while comparing them with our actuals for various projects within Visa.

How has your role developed and what are your main career ambitions?

I have rotated around numerous areas within finance, starting with financial accounting areas such as accounts payable/receivable and financial reporting to now beginning to touch upon management accounting.

What do you enjoy about your job?

Being treated as though I am an actual employee at Visa, entrusted with the same responsibilities and jobs as anyone else.

What are the most challenging parts of your job?

Learning how to prioritise tasks and organising my time efficiently. This applies specifically at month end, which is always a busy time for finance with lots of deadlines to meet so organising my time is crucial to ensure everything that needs to be done gets done on time. I tend to write daily lists of things I need to do so I have a visual reference that I can tick off when things are complete.

Any words of advice for someone who wants to get into this job?

Experience is crucial. You may have all the educational knowledge you can get, but if you haven't had practical experience too, you won't have been able to put the learning into a real context. Take every opportunity to practise the skills you have learnt.

What are the best things about working in this sector?

Being at the forefront of up and coming technology for payments and getting to see first hand their development from an idea to real life application.

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