In this post, LSE alumnus Arnab Datta reveals his thoughts on the links between accountancy and business and talks about his training contract.

The classic stereotype of an accountant to many people is based around simply adding up numbers. However, in today’s modern commercial world, working as an accountant is more like being a business adviser to companies in different industries and the public sector.

I joined KPMG on the ACA (ICAEW) Graduate Training Scheme, since I thought this would give me a good grounding in business. Although I expected to spend a considerable amount of time analysing numbers and performing calculations in spreadsheets, the reality has been quite different.

During my training contract, I have particularly enjoyed the unpredictability and variety of work. Sometimes I have been working in the office and other times at clients’ sites. The work has included performing tests on various balances in the financial statements and attending meetings with clients. I have now realised how building good relationships with clients and understanding their businesses helps to deliver sound commercial advice. As I have progressed through my training, there have also been greater opportunities to manage teams.

Another benefit has been my breadth of experience. Working in Audit is interesting since I have gained knowledge of clients in different industries, ranging from Financial Services to Media and Travel. Also, KPMG has a scheme, which has given me the chance to work in Tax, Economics and Forensic. Highlights of my work include intriguing accounting investigations and also attending the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) Pre-Budget Report analysis, where journalists from BBC and ITN were present.

 Overall, the best research is speaking to current trainees to discover more about their experiences and the commitment required for the ACA exams. When choosing a training organisation, do not only consider its reputation but look for somewhere where you will be comfortable and more importantly enjoy working and learning for three years.

For further resources on a career in accountancy, visit the accountancy pages on our website.