Hilary Adams is approved by the Institute as a training organisation.

The standard for trainees (and trainers) is ferociously high – and you get the benefits.
But training is vital not just for “trainees”. It’s important for everyone.
We all continue to train, to go on courses, read what’s new. And not just technical stuff – all learning is important. It doesn’t much matter what you learn – anything that exercises the brain is good for you. (And who knows when Rachel’s Spanish course might be of use.)
Keeping up to date is a skill. But it can also be fun – reading the Revenue’s manual before the poor harassed Inspector can often give you an edge.

Michael’s Memoirs

About the firm

So, being brutally honest, what are the characteristics you think of when you consider the term ‘Accountant’? Suit? Tie? An unhealthy interest in stationery? Well, although we do ensure our desks always boast a wonderful array of post-it notes, we like to think we’re not the stereotypical firm of accountants. We take our work seriously, but adopt a less formal, more personal approach to our work, meaning that, by the time deadline day rolls round, we’re not on the verge of a breakdown.


So what about training, I hear you ask. Well, this is comprised of 2 elements. The first is on-the-job training. We believe in ‘throwing you in at the deep end’; from day one of employment with the firm, you will assist in the preparation of accounts, VAT et al. But, not to worry, fellow staff members will act as your armbands (to continue with the swimming theme) from the off.

Once settled into the job, you will learn how to deal with clients and handle basic queries; as your training develops, you will take on more responsibilities and will deal with more technical and complex areas of the job. There will always be a more experienced / senior member of staff to deal with further advice and tax issues.

The second aspect is linked tuition. At various intervals during the year, you will have the opportunity to delve into the wonderful world of the reception staff’s stationery box (I’m not doing much to quell some of those stereotypes, am I?) in order to secure enough materials to last you through a period at residential college. These equate to roughly six months’ worth of time spent in lectures over the entire 4-year contract, broken up into 1 or 2 week blocks. Although this can be very intensive, the lecturers are always more than willing to spend extra time after lectures going through any troublesome matters. They can also be contacted in the periods between study block for any extra guidance.

Home study is a vital part of gaining your qualification. I used to spend around 1-2 hours studying most evenings. This will, of course, vary from person to person. However, it is also important to stress the need for a positive work-life balance; I always ensured I set aside a certain amount of time each week to relax and socialise and, from time to time, venture outdoors, away from my desk. Don’t forget: we’ve all been through the same process; if something doesn’t quite make sense, or the pressure of study is taking its toll, we’re always there to lend some friendly advice (and normally all for the measly reward of an iced donut)


There are six knowledge-based computer assessments, ensuring the theory is built surrounding each module of the Professional Stage. This stage is split into six exams, usually attempted in sets of two

You will then progress onto the Advanced Stage, structured of 3 exams which consolidate and build upon the modules taught at Professional Stage. These are normally attempted in one go, although there is a degree of flexibility about this.


After the mandatory congratulations from all and sundry, along with swathes of pride and relief, you’ll take on more roles and deal with more complicated issues. The learning never stops, however, as it is necessary to keep up to date with ever-changing rules. You’ll finish with a highly sought-after qualification to be proud of, meaning the world is your oyster.

Hilary AdamsTraining