James Bootland had always been interested in a career in finance and an apprenticeship turned out to be the best route in for him.
Having completed his AAT Level 2 Certificate in Accounting and now working on his Level 3 Diploma in Accounting, James is looking forward to further study and to applying his practical finance and accountancy skills in future employment.
Born in Huddersfield in 1995, James went to school at King James’s in Almondbury.
He then went on to study accountancy at Huddersfield New College, but switched after the first year to a BTEC course in Business and Personal Finance.
Route into apprenticeship:
After college, James started a part-time job but always knew in the back of his mind that he wanted to go back into accountancy.
“I knew about apprenticeships through friends who were taking different subjects, and I liked the idea of going to work and getting paid to learn on the job,” he says.
Although he hadn’t heard of CMS before, as soon as he started searching online, he found that the company was a training provider for quite a number of the courses he was interested in. After applying online, he was set up with an interview with Vita Hardware Ltd.
Based in Elland, West Yorkshire, Vita Hardware Ltd is a business-to-business wholesaler of window and door hardware.
James is based in the office every day, from 9am-5pm, apart from Thursdays, when he attends classroom lessons at the CMS offices in Batley.
Having started in May 2016, James is now two years into his apprenticeship. He has successfully completed his AAT Level 2 Certificate in Accounting and is expecting to finish his AAT Level 3 Advanced Diploma in Accounting this year.
“All being well, I will finish in December 2018, after passing my exams and the end point assessment,” he says.
Rather than a typical day, James follows a monthly schedule of tasks, working closely with the Finance Director and Accounts Manager at Vita Hardware Ltd.
At the start of the month, he prepares the gross profit, manager and finance reports, before moving on to helping with the preparation of the payroll.
“It’s a small team, so I work closely with the Finance Director and Accounts Manager, and I have discussed staying on to take my Level 4 qualification.”
The benefits of CMS
Attending CMS one day a week for classroom-based teaching has definitely proved useful, James says.
“There’s always the opportunity to stay behind and get extra help if you need it, which is good. If I’m ever struggling, my tutor is just an email or a phone call away, so I can get in contact straight away. No matter what the issue is, they will help to the best of their ability. Earlier this year I was struggling with accruals, so I emailed and asked for additional material. I was sent lots of model worksheets, which I was able to do and check against the answers provided, which was really helpful.”
“I’m happy to be where I am now, having accomplished Level 2 and the majority of Level 3. I hope that this continues into the future.”
Progression and the future
After completing his Level 3 Diploma, James is hoping to start his AAT Level 4 Professional Diploma in Accounting. Following that, he will assess whether he wants to work towards becoming a Finance Director or Accounts Manager.
“I’m on a year’s rolling contract and I’m happy to stay at the same firm, I don’t see any reason to move,” he says. “One of the reasons I chose accountancy is that it’s always going to be something people need, so I don’t see it as a big risk. I would definitely recommend that people train with CMS.”
Find out more in our blogs on AAT Accountancy Courses, AAT Accountancy – Advanced Bookkeeping and How passing your AAT can boost your pay.