Publish Date: 2024-07-10



Embarking on a career through a School Leaver Apprenticeship, Katie, now an Assistant Manager, shares her journey and experiences. From the unique appeal of studying while working to the authentic culture at BDO and the challenges and rewards of her role, Katie provides a firsthand account of her path to becoming a fully qualified Tax Adviser at the age of 22.


Why did you choose a School Leaver Apprenticeship?

I chose a School Leaver Apprenticeship because I liked the idea of studying while working. The prospect of gaining real, on-the-job experience and earning money while avoiding debt was appealing. This path also allowed me to become a fully qualified Tax Adviser and Assistant Manager at the age of 22!

What appealed to you about working for BDO?

During the interview process at BDO, I knew it was the right place for me. I felt like I could be my true self throughout and didn’t just feel like a number. I had that feeling and gut instinct that BDO could offer me exactly what I was looking for in a career and School Leaver Apprenticeship scheme.

What does a typical working day involve?

A typical day involves preparing tax advisory memos and reports tailored to specific client needs. There's also the element of tax compliance, making December and January hectic due to tax filing deadlines. Attending client meetings is a crucial part of my role, enabling me to build meaningful relationships and provide the best possible service.

What three skills are essential to your role?

Being personable, having a keen attention to detail, and maintaining an open-minded approach are essential to my role.

What part of your job gives you the most satisfaction?

Providing clients with the best possible advice so that they can achieve their personal goals and intentions gives me the most satisfaction. In my department, we focus on building client relationships, ensuring that the general well-being of our clients is also a priority.

What are the challenges?

The challenges include complex analysis work for individuals with a non-domiciled status in the UK, which is a particularly grey area from a tax perspective. Managing workloads and priorities, especially during our busy season through December and January, is always balanced well.

Describe your job at BDO in three words.

Authentic, rewarding, and taxing (no pun intended).

What are your career ambitions?

Now that I’m an Assistant Manager, I want to develop further on the skills I have gained, become a coach/mentor to those going through their training programme, and work towards becoming a Manager in the next couple of years.

What training and development have you received at BDO?

I received a lot of in-house technical training with experienced tax specialists, as well as support from my buddy and Manager throughout the apprenticeship programme.

What advice would you give to others thinking about joining a School Leaver Apprenticeship programme?

Do your research. Find the right firm that fits in with your values and take advantage of all the amazing opportunities offered to you.