Hello, my name is Annabelle Simmonds and I am currently a third-year business apprentice in EY’s International Tax and Transaction Services Team.
So, what does this all mean? Well, I am currently three years into my apprenticeship, in which I am studying for both the ACA (the UK qualification to become a Chartered Accountant) and a Level 7 Apprenticeship (equivalent to a Masters) in Accounting & Taxation. At the same time, I am working a full-time job at one of the largest professional services firms in the world, gaining invaluable work experience.
As part of the ACA, I must sit 15 exams with the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England & Wales (ICAEW), 10 of which I have sat and all successfully passed first time! I am expected to qualify and become Chartered in July 2023 – not long to go! The Level 7 Apprenticeship is achieved through participating in a series of “off the job” learnings and trainings.
In my day-to-day role, I specialise in International Tax Advisory services. This entails providing tax advice on billion-pound acquisitions/investments that some of the largest global companies are looking to make. The experience that I have been able to have, at the age of only 20, has been truly incredible. I have been on calls with CEOs of global corporations, liaised with EY offices and clients of all over the world, and provided tax advice on other transactions that I have simultaneously been reading about in the news. I particularly have a very strong interest in the Wealth & Asset Management industry and have pursued this interest through aligning myself to projects that work with a variety of funds – private equity funds, credit funds and hedge funds, to name a few of many!
I completed the first half of my apprenticeship (the first two years) in EY Parthenon’s Turnaround and Restructuring Strategy (TRS) Practice, whereby I specialised in formal insolvency. Here, I was able to help turnaround several businesses, but also work on some of the largest administrations that there have ever been. I even found myself, at the age of only 18, at the Head Office of one of the UK’s largest national airlines, during the days in which they went into administration.
What I have particularly enjoyed about working at EY so far, is how all of the opportunities I have had, have been as a result of my hard work and commitment to my role. If you put the effort in, you will be rewarded very well.
I have also participated in a lot of extra-curricular activities at EY, which I have thoroughly enjoyed. This includes becoming the Co-Chair of the EY Jewish Community, in which I have organised outreach speakers to present to over 400 EY people, participating in several of our EY Outreach Initiatives, including speaking to schools about what I do, recording videos for our social media channels and becoming a mentor to sixth-form students. I also ran a nationwide EY Parthenon TRS competition, to help encourage sixth-form students, who perhaps didn’t have the opportunity to do so, to experience the day in the life of a TRS apprentice.
Through my work in International Tax, TRS and my extra-curricular roles, I was nominated for the Target Jobs National Apprentice of the Year, in which I made it through to the final of the top 10 in the country in 2021. I have also featured in several newspaper articles including: Career coach: Straight from school | ICAEW, as a result of my work.
The achievements and experiences I have had at such a young age, I could never have imagined having when I walked through the doors to EY on my very first day, at the age of only 18.
When I was at school, I was always of the opinion that an apprenticeship wasn’t an academic route and that in order to be successful you must go to university. However, now I would encourage anyone to consider an apprenticeship! You can earn whilst you learn, and experience some truly wonderful things.
So, for anyone considering an apprenticeship, I would say go for it! I turned down offers from some of the top universities in the world to do the EY apprenticeship, and I can honestly say, I haven’t regretted it once.
If anyone has any questions about the EY apprenticeship specifically, please feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn and drop me a message.
Annabelle Simmonds (Class of 2019)