"As part of the recruitment process I got to meet the majority of the team, including the directors, and everyone was so down to earth and friendly. To this day I can’t get over how nice everyone here is and it feels great to be an integral part of the team"
What was your background before Claritas?
I graduated from the University of Bradford in 2014 with a first class honours in Business Management. Up until this point, the only real work experience I had was an Industrial Placement in the FMCG industry with Samworth Brothers, a premium chilled foods manufacturer; if you’ve ever had a meal deal from Tesco or Waitrose, it was probably made by them. I spent half a year as a New Product Development Buyer, sourcing all kinds of weird and wonderful ingredients and then the other half of the year managing a production line of over 15 staff.
After university, I was lucky enough to get a place with Ocado on their Operations Graduate Programme, which really helped me build on my experience at Samworth Brothers, involving a lot of people and process management. Following my time at Ocado, I decided I wanted a new challenge and chose to move away from the FMCG industry. Having studied tax as part of my degree, I knew it was something that made me tick and in September 2016, I joined Claritas as a Tax Trainee.
Claritas appealed to me because of their decision to focus solely on tax and to do it well. The Graduate Programme also provides everything you need to gain the ACA and CTA qualifications, from the time off and support to actually study, to covering the cost of the qualifications in full. Lastly, having only ever worked in organisations with thousands of people, I decided I wanted to work with a smaller team so that I could build better working relationships.
A smaller firm really enables you to get to know the people you work with and this leads to a much more positive working environment. We work hard but there is plenty of office banter and we have regular work socials and team drinks nights, so we all get on really well. However, the best thing about a smaller firm is that you get much more exposure to all kinds of tax work, so you develop a lot faster and gain so much more experience in your early years. You’ll even be client facing much quicker than others who choose to go to the bigger firms.
There is so much scope for growth here at Claritas and I feel like I joined at the perfect time, so when I think about my future career progression, exposure to the various aspects of tax, support with my studies and having a great office environment to work in, I don’t need to worry.
As part of the recruitment process I got to meet the majority of the team, including the directors, and everyone was so down to earth and friendly. To this day I can’t get over how nice everyone here is and it feels great to be an integral part of the team; we’re basically like a big family, where everyone supports everyone else and nobody is afraid to roll up their sleeves and get stuck in.
I studied both personal and corporate tax modules as part of my degree and ended up doing really well in them. Moreover, I have always been interested in how businesses function and enjoy helping people solve their problems, so when deciding to change from the FMCG industry, studying and training in tax was a natural next step for me. Tax is also ever changing and to some degree it affects all of us, so it seemed like a solid and rewarding career for the long-term.
How has your experience of Claritas been so far?
I’m now just over 2 years into my career with Claritas and it has flown by! My highlights in general of course include passing my exams (the end of studying is almost in sight), being able to contribute to the success of Claritas and being recognised and rewarded as a valuable asset. However, I would say that my top three specific highlights since joining Claritas include:
- Getting some really positive feedback from a client I’d been working with regarding how I’d advised them and handled their tax needs.
- Being appointed the firm’s social secretary – I’m responsible for organising quarterly socials to encourage team building. So far we’ve been to Ghetto Golf, Digbeth Dining Club, The Escape Rooms, The Indian Brewery and also volunteered at Acorns, a local children’s hospice.
- Mentoring one of the new graduates and seeing how much their confidence and knowledge has grown in just one year!
Claritas has completely surpassed my expectations. I work with the best team of people and I’m valued as part of that team, I get involved with so many interesting projects, I have all the support I need for college, we have fun in the office, there are plenty of socials and the firm is always understanding of my personal life. Claritas cares just as much about what they can do for me and my development, as they do about what I can contribute to the firm, which is amazing.
How have you developed since working at Claritas?
Since joining Claritas, I’ve been able to further develop general transferable skills, such as working to deadlines and communicating with clients. However more specifically, I would say that I have acquired various skills relating to share valuations as well as a understanding how accounting principles interact with tax. I’ve also become much better at spinning plates, for example in December 2017 I was working full-time, studying for two professional level exams, moving home, planning a wedding and celebrating Christmas, all at the same time!
Claritas is fully supportive when it comes to gaining the ACA qualification. The courses, materials and exams are paid for by the firm and we also get the time off to attend college for taught and revision courses. I’m also being supported to gain the CTA qualification too, as there is now a joint ACA-CTA qualification route, which mean less exams overall but you get both qualifications as a result! The majority of people at Claritas have also studied various qualifications in Accountancy and Tax and so they are always happy to help with any questions as part of gaining the qualifications.
Would you recommend Claritas to other graduates?
I would absolutely recommend a smaller firm to other graduates, particularly Claritas for those interested in tax, because it provides you with exposure to so many aspects of tax, so you won’t be stuck in a monotonous role. I’ve worked on tax valuations, tax computations, research and development claims and capital allowance claims, to name a few, so you’re given real responsibility and accountability from outset.
Furthermore, you’ll really get to know the people and having a close knit team creates such a positive and nourishing working environment, which is so important when you spend a third of all your time in that environment. You won’t be treated like a number or just another employee either, you’ll be valued and most importantly, Claritas will invest in your development and your future.