With a strong set of Higher results under his belt, Josh Meldrum (23) made an eleventh-hour decision to turn down his place to study accountancy at University in favour of a job at MHA Henderson Loggie. The direct entry route to becoming a qualified chartered accountant is becoming increasingly attractive to school leavers who want to earn while they learn. Josh takes up his story:
“I was all set to go to university to study accountancy when my teacher at Menzieshill High School in Dundee showed me the job at the local office of MHA Henderson Loggie. It seemed like a no brainer to me. I knew I wanted to be an accountant, and to go through the university route would take seven years, four of which I would be racking up student debt. By joining an accountancy practice straight from school I began earning money immediately. I am now a fully qualified CA and leading audit teams on client assignments after just five years.
“It’s fair to say I found my first year quite challenging. Even although I didn’t have to sit any exams I was thrown into the deep end of office life and full time work for the first time. By the time I was into my second year, things began to click into place and I had my first set of exams. As a direct entry candidate, you go at a slightly slower pace than graduates and complete the ICAS exams over four years instead of three.
“I’ve been asked if I regret missing out on university life, but as I wasn’t planning to move out of Dundee anyway it hasn’t been an issue for me as far as my social life is concerned. Most of my friends have taken up some form of an apprenticeship or on-the-job training. I don’t think it’s widely known yet that direct entry into accountancy is an option, but I would recommend it to anyone seeking a career in finance. I enjoy working as an auditor, and have so many choices now in how to develop my career.”
Josh is the first member of the MHA Henderson Loggie team to qualify under the direct entry route and the firm has continued to recruit both graduate and direct entry students as part of its annual CA trainee intake. Gavin Black, MHA Henderson Loggie’s Head of Audit, believes a mix of different backgrounds, skills and experience is important in building a high performing team.
Gavin said: “Josh is an asset to our business and a great example to our current and future trainees. He has achieved first-time passes in all his exams and developed a wide range of hands-on experience during his 5 years with us. We have three more direct entry trainees working their way through their training contracts at the moment and are seeking to bring on a new cohort each year. The firm’s client base is varied and we constantly strive to attract and retain the best people to allow us to continue to offer our clients what they need and expect from a leading Scottish independent firm of accountants.”
The programme for the 2020 intake of school leavers seeking a direct entry route to qualifying as a chartered accountant is now open.