ICAS Foundation student spotlight
Consilium Chartered Accountants have been a long-term supporter of the ICAS Foundation. We believe circumstances or background should not prevent individuals from pursuing a career in accountancy.
We sat down with Hazel Smith to find out about her journey from ICAS Foundation intern to Chartered Accountant with Consilium.
Tell us a bit about the ICAS Foundation…
The Foundation is focused on helping students from under-represented communities study accountancy or a finance-related degree at university. It combines mentoring, networking opportunities and bursaries for students.
Through the Foundation you are matched with a mentor – a qualified CA professional – who supports you through your degree course and beyond. It is a really important part of the Foundation’s work as students wouldn’t normally have those contacts within their circle of family or friends.
What was it like being an intern at Consilium?
I had no idea about accountancy before I started at Consilium. I didn’t know what a debit or a credit was! But the whole team are really friendly, encouraging and made me feel very welcome.
Getting the chance to sample all the different departments was key for me, particularly because I knew so little about the profession and what my career could be like.
Why Consilium for your ICAS Foundation internship?
The partners at Consilium have a very good relationship with the team at the ICAS Foundation. They are big supporters of the foundation and the opportunities it provides, so that was an attraction.
The mix of teams and departments I could gain experience in was a big plus point. That was more exposure than I felt other firms would offer you as an intern. Often interns can end up only working in one department and not really getting a full sense of the different accountancy specialisms.
The internship is also a 12-week programme which is quite unusual. Internships can often only be 4-6 weeks long.
What was your internship experience like?
Everyone was really friendly! It went so well I came back for a second internship in my 3rd year at university and got offered a training contract.
I got great exposure to the work CA’s do. I was out at audits, working side by side with clients from early on in my internship. It really is a hands-on experience at Consilium.
Tell us about studying for your Chartered Accountancy status…
Consilium has a really good structure in place for trainees. There are students at every stage of the CA process, so there is always someone you can talk to and ask questions of. And they can really relate to your experience which is huge.
Colleagues are very open to helping and happy to give up lunchtimes to go through questions you might have or subjects you aren’t quite getting.
What is working life like at Consilium?
Everyone celebrates wins together. When I passed my final CA exams, I was overwhelmed by the kind words and messages from across the firm. You really do feel part of the whole team and everyone genuinely wants you to do well.
The social life at Consilium is great. We rarely need an excuse to have a night out! The social committee are always coming up with new things to try and there are loads of opportunities for everyone to get together throughout the year, global pandemics aside.
How did the ICAS Foundation influence your career path?
I don’t think I would have a career as a CA without joining the ICAS Foundation. I wouldn’t have had people guiding me in the right direction and the support I needed to progress through university and my professional exams. Now it has helped open the door for my dream to relocate to Australia and continue my career as a CA.