2015As we start 2016 it seems like a good time to reflect on the past year. The focus of the year has been the advanced level exams. I, like most people my age, have had an exam every year since I was 13 (Year 9 SATS). Passing the three ICAEW advanced level exams would lead to freedom – forever! These exams have a reputation for being tough – it turns out with good reason.

Eleven hours of exams within three days, the last of which was 4 hours long and the most time pressured of them all. After all this, the highlight of the year has to be reading the email saying I have passed! RELIEF!!!! I still have moments of giddiness when I remember that I don’t have to sit in an exam room ever again. This has resulted in my promotion to Auditor grade (from Assistant Auditor), a pay rise and 5 extra days leave! It was a tough year, but this has made it worth every second!

Despite seeing my last exam, 2015 also saw some firsts. This year I started my first role as an engagement lead. I completed my first planning visit. And I had my first crazy golf game in which I scored both a hole in one and a hole in 19 within a single game!

I have been lucky enough to work with some brilliant teams this year. In our area we spend many weeks away, 15 in Bristol this year alone, which led to highlights of Lebanese feasts, selfies with a tank and a Chinook (tandem rotor helicopter), though unfortunately the latter was from quite far away.

This year has also had lowlights, such as exercising to DVDs in my hotel room in an attempt to ensure the desk office job doesn’t mean a new (and larger) wardrobe each month; spending hours cooped inside revising for the previously mentioned exams; sitting in a suit looking at spreadsheets in an un-air-conditioned room without windows during an unusually hot July… melting is an understatement – thank goodness for Costa Fruit Coolers!

Plans for 2016? Well, my New Year’s resolution – to drink less tea – was dropped quickly. So, leaving only sensible plans: this is a transition year, I will ask questions and absorb information, learn as much as possible to get as strong a knowledge base as I can in preparation for the future!

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