6th March 2023

NCW2023: James’s career goes full circle

Throughout National Careers Week, we’ll be shining a light on various roles within our business and the range of routes our employees have taken to get to where they are.

Meet James, our Finance Assistant who joined the business in 2022 following a career change.

James initially wanted to join the construction industry when he left school. However, following a change of heart he moved into the animal sector where he worked for several years.

He decided he no longer wanted to peruse a career in this industry, so enrolled on an AAT (Association of Accounting Technicians) qualification to follow his passion to become an accountant.

James was keen to join a well-established, growing company to support his career development and due to his previous experience in the industry applied for a role with Van Elle.

James is now gaining vital experience, training and qualifications as part of his journey.

Looking for a career in finance or fancy a career change? Read more about James’s journey below.

Tell us about your career journey so far.

Upon leaving school I completed a National Certificate in Building Construction & Technology. I originally wanted to pursue a career in Building Surveying. I had a change of heart and moved to Essex where I completed a degree in Animal Science.

After completing my degree, I moved back to Nottinghamshire and began working in the pet industry for around 8 years. Most of which I worked as a Kennel Manager in a boarding kennel establishment.

I knew I didn’t want to peruse this as a career in the long term and decided to enrol on to a AAT qualification as I wanted to become an accountant.

Due to my previous experience in the industry, I applied for a role with Van Elle. I knew this was a well-established business and would be an excellent company to support my career development.

Tell us about your current job role/duties.

My current job is very different and varied. My main duties are cash reconciliation, payroll & credit card spend analysis, preparation of payments and generally assisting the finance team with anything else as required.

What does an average week look like for you?

Busy! Outside my normal duties, I can be asked to assist other divisions with reviewing costs and providing financial information.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I’m lucky to work with a great team of people, who are all very supportive. My role is varied and it’s very interesting to see how everything in the business comes together to form the complete picture.  

What education or training do you need for your role?

Understanding the basic principles of accounting is essential. Having or working towards your AAT qualification is certainly advantageous. As someone who has had a big career change, I wouldn’t have been able to make that change without the knowledge gained from studying towards my AAT.

Why did you choose a career in construction?

I guess I have gone full circle. Most of my family work in construction, it was something I have studied previously, and I know it is a diverse industry to work in.

What are your career aspirations?

I would like to complete my CIMA Professional Qualification which is a tough target but one I want to aim for.

What advice would you give to somebody looking to get into the role?

For someone who was in my position looking to change careers, you have far more transferrable skills than you realise. It’s not all just about numbers! It can be daunting to make the first step to changing your career into accounting, but It’s worth it and extremely rewarding when you do. If you are interested in becoming an Accountant and don’t have any previous experience, an AAT qualification could be the perfect way to kick-start your accounting career.

Visit our careers page for more information on Van Elle opportunities, and for more information on career guidance visit National Careers Week.