"The support I have received from Claritas with my studying, work and also personal issues has been amazing and I couldn’t ask for more caring people to work with."
What was your background before Claritas?
I studied Business Management at Swansea University, achieving a first class honours and the highest mark on my course. On completing my A Levels I hadn’t known what I wanted to do career wise and business management was something I was interested in and that also covered a wide range of topics including finance and accounting. It wasn’t until my third year where I studied tax that I found I really enjoyed it and that it was something I could see myself enjoying doing as a career.
I had never wanted to work for a big firm having heard numerous stories about how you’re made to feel like you’re just a tiny wheel in a very big cog, with your efforts not being appreciated and not being able to feel as if you’re making a difference to the clients you work for. Also, my whole education of both school and university had been in small environments and I had always excelled so it made sense to continue with what works.
Claritas fitted the profile of what I was looking for. They are a smaller firm but have vast wealth of knowledge with a focus on excellence and providing the best service possible for the client. Their ethos is to genuinely care about the clients, getting to know them and fully understanding their business as well as getting them the best results they can. Additionally, it is a great group of people who all have a sense of humour and make going to work everyday fun.
I enjoy the mix and variety of work that I do across various aspects of tax such as company share valuations, R&D, compliance and also some aspects of international tax. I love working with numbers but would be bored if all I was doing was crunching numbers everyday. Tax and working at Claritas gives me the opportunity to combine my love of numbers with so much more.
My job involves liaising with clients, both on the phone and at meetings, to understand their business and get to know them. This really feels as if you are making a difference for them and are helping them achieve their goals. Additionally, I spend time writing reports to submit to HMRC as well as undertaking research on technical points to ensure we completely understand the clients situation and have a fully supportable position.
Furthermore, I work with data, analysing it and manipulating it in order to prepare claims to submit to HMRC. As no two clients are the same and I’m always doing a wide variety of things I’m always kept on my toes which keeps the job interesting and enjoyable.
How has your experience of Claritas been so far?
The environment at Claritas is that we are genuinely cared about as staff with it being recognised that life isn’t just about work and it’s important to have a life and enjoy yourself as well. Obviously there will be times when you have to work late to meet a deadline but this doesn’t happen very often. When it does, the fact you stay late and get the work done is always very much appreciated.
When it comes to studying for exams it is obviously harder to find that work life balance however everyone is different regarding the amount of work they feel they need to put in to studying. I’m very much the sort of person that puts life on hold to make sure I do all I can to pass my exams but even then it’s only for a short period at a time and you have to remember that the overall result will be worth it.
My biggest personal highlight has been completing my ACA and becoming a Chartered Accountant. After all of the hard work and hours spent studying it was a massive achievement. Regarding client work, the biggest highlight was completing an R&D claim which secured the client over £1m in cash. For a start up business developing a brand new innovative product this made a massive difference to their ability to keep trading and developing.
Other highlights are getting feedback from clients about the fact I do a good job and they enjoy working with me as well as being part of a great team who I thoroughly enjoy working with.
Claritas have more than passed my expectations. I never expected to be so involved with client work straight from my first day with me attending meetings within 2 weeks of being with Claritas. The environment and team spirit is also great to the extent that I love going to work everyday (not something many people can say!) The support I have received from Claritas with my studying, work and also personal issues has been amazing and I couldn’t ask for more caring people to work with.
Also, the time everyone gives you as a trainee is second to none with everyone taking the time to fully explain things to you and answer any questions you have, ensuring you fully understand the purpose of what you’re doing as well as the technical aspects of it. This undoubtedly ensures that you learn as much as possible and will ultimately make you a better tax adviser.
How have you developed since working at Claritas?
There have been numerous skills I have acquired as well as skills that I have improved as a result of the experiences I have been given and training received. My communication skills have improved significantly whether that is liaising with members of the team about deadlines and progress of work or communicating with clients.
Additionally, my report writing has improved as has my ability to concisely convey a message in a simple way so HMRC / the client understands what is being said. I have also learned how to undertake technical research and to filter this information so that I am only dealing with the bits that are relevant to what I need.
I couldn’t have asked for better support in getting me through my exams. This has come in numerous forms such as if I haven’t understood something in the notes someone is always willing to take the time to explain it to you. If I have needed to go and see a tutor for help this has never been a problem as it is recognised that the exams come first for the trainees.
With studying at home in an evening / on the weekend it gets tiring but this is recognised and it is ensured that you aren’t overloaded with work in the office as well. Additionally, moral support is essential sometimes to get you through the exams and the studying and anyone in the office is always more than willing to lend an ear and offer support when it is needed.
Would you recommend Claritas to other graduates?
The main reason would be the experience that you gain. A small firm gives you the opportunity to be hands on from the beginning, getting involved with client work and also learning the technical aspects of the job. You are also made to feel like a valued member of the team and it feels as if the work you do actually makes a difference to the client. You grow much more technically and gain so many more skills which will only serve to benefit you in the future.