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Employers and clients alike seek out ACCA-qualified members to lead their businesses to sustainable success. ACCA members are strategic thinkers with high ethical integrity, strong financial know-how and incisive business acumen.

That is why, at Howards, we invest heavily in training to ensure we can offer our clients the best financial and business expertise available in Stafford and the surrounding area. Six of our team are currently studying for the ACCA Chartered Certified Accountancy exams. We are so proud of them. Sophie May (2nd left in photo) is now fully qualified and Nathan, Dave, Joe, Jenna and Oliver (left to right) are getting there! All of them have passed their exams in the most recent ACCA sitting.

This qualification sets and maintains the high standards that businesses need to progress. But the path to becoming a qualified professional accountant isn’t easy. The ACCA route includes 11 exams, taking students to the equivalent of a Masters level qualification, and requires three years’ practical experience plus achievement of performance objectives. The initial exams cover applied knowledge and skills which develop the broad and practical finance skills required of a strategic professional accountant in any sector. Meanwhile, the later strategic professional exams prepare students for future leadership positions by developing strategic vision.

As a company we have been recognised our investment in our employees, both in terms of training and time. We recently achieved ACCA platinum employer status and were recognised in various business accountancy industry awards last year. We scooped a special, Highly Commended accolade at the prestigious British Accountancy Awards after being shortlisted in the Independent Firm of the Year – Wales and Midlands category. We were also a finalist in the Staffordshire Chamber of Commerce & West Midlands Finance Awards, achieving a highly commended citation for our quality and outstanding practice.

In 2018 heralded the best set of exam results our firm has ever seen and we believe that our internal training policies are delivering a really strong performance. Most important of all is what our investment means to our most valuable asset – our employees. Here’s what they have to say:

David Bates: (completed SBR)

“This exam was by far the hardest I have sat to date. The study for the module was quite intense, however as Howards has joined the Level 7 Apprenticeship offered by the government through Kaplan, I was able to benefit from additional online revision sessions which helped me massively. It also helps to have so many experienced members of staff in the office to bounce questions off from day-to-day when you are stuck.

“I have now completed 7 of the 10 exams I am required to complete until I am ACCA qualified. Getting SBR, which is arguably the most difficult, out of the way is a huge relief. I think my girlfriend will benefit more than me, now that I’m not constantly moaning about exam results!”

Sophie May: (Now fully qualified having completed all 11 exams)
“I found studying for the exams quite hard, especially when trying to balance having a social life! Having a lot of staff at Howards to ask for support really helped and reduced some of the stresses of studying. Howards also offers a generous study leave package, which helped a lot.

Having an ACCA qualification has already helped me to develop my accounting skills day-to-day and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. I think that it will have opened up a lot of doors for opportunities also.”

Oliver Woodward:
“Studying for the exam takes a lot of dedication and is a big commitment in terms of time and pressures. Howards provides the financial assistance, the training and the time off to allow for study and revision. Studying ACCA provides greater knowledge in a variety of areas of accountancy and will provide a recognised qualification that will, all being well, be lifelong.”

Joe Dimambro:
“Studying for the exams took a lot of hard work but Howards gave me the time and support to enable me to pass. By passing the advanced tax exam I feel more confident about advising clients in more complex areas.”

Nathan Milburn:
“Studying for the exam was difficult at times to find the motivation, especially finding enough time after work and at weekends! Howard’s gave us time off in order to take the course over five days and then a further two days for studying and the exam.

I took advanced taxation which is already proving massively beneficial due to being able to explain the tax implications of various accounting transactions to clients and any planning opportunities available so that future tax liabilities can be minimised where possible.”

Caption: Six employees at Howards passed exams in the most recent ACCA sitting (from left to right: Nathan Milburn, Sophie May, David Bates, Joe Dimambro, Jenna Hands, Oliver Woodward