SkylineMy first year is over as a trainee and my transition from an AA1 to AA2 complete. I managed to fit quite a lot into a single 12 month period; 6 exams, interim and final audit, one Christmas party, 2 office quizzes, 2 cluster lunches, numerous socials, 9 weeks away from home and a year older. As I write this I have just passed my next 3 exams and have a month to go until my final 3 of this year. The pace hasn’t let up since I arrived but it certainly hasn’t been boring.

Moving to London was my first, and possibly one of the biggest, obstacles that has come about due to my role at the NAO. But it is certainly not something to discourage people from outside of London. What. A. City. They call New York the city that never sleeps but with the night tube our great capital will give it a run for its money. Admittedly, it has been a complete shift in lifestyle – no one travels at a leisurely pace, Monday night is a perfectly reasonable night out, flexible working is encouraged and Citymapper is king. Make the most of the opportunity to live in one of the most vibrant, historic and atmospheric cities the world has to offer.

Onto less leisurely subjects: my portfolio. It has developed throughout the year and now I have a wide variety of projects to work on; even though they all relate to a single client they vary greatly. This has resulted in me leading two separate audit areas; one financial and the other an innovative value for money (VFM) project. This is giving me a wide overview of the department and is allowing me to gain an understanding of the complexities that my client faces on a day-to-day basis.

I have learnt a great deal in my first year and been included in everything the office has to offer; sport, social, work, learning, drinking and eating. I feel like I have finally cracked double entry (I don’t care what anyone says it is not understandable in the first two weeks) and used it to begin my journey working out why we do different audit tests and how they relate to other audit tests someone else has done, seeing what this demonstrates and why it’s important to our opinion.

If you think learning is over when you leave university you are gravely mistaken. There hasn’t been a single day working for the NAO that I haven’t been taught something new, which is fascinating and engaging when lots of roles today have people repeating the same process over and over until they retire. Audit is interactive, divisive and INTERESTING. That’s the real shocker right there. I definitely did not see myself arguing over the necessary double entry for an incorrect journal entry and whether it materially effects my opinion of their financial statements. I didn’t even know what materiality meant before I began at the NAO and now I calculate it, apply it, consider its implications and understand it. Now for the second year, who knows I may even spend my time somewhere more exciting than Southend, but deep down we all know there is nowhere more exciting…

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