Five years, 17 exams, one AAT qualification – and there’s still more to come for Tax Apprentice Brogan Clarkson.


After joining our team in October 2015 to complete her Level 4 Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) apprenticeship, Brogan has juggled working in our Middlesbrough office with gaining qualifications, and is now working towards the next stage in her career of achieving Chartered status.


In this two-part series, we’ll find out more about Brogan, her role at Chuhan & Singh and her journey as an accountancy apprentice so far…


When did you start your apprenticeship at Chuhan & Singh?


I started my apprenticeship just over five years ago! I joined the team straight from college after completing my A-Levels.


Why did you choose to do an apprenticeship?


After sitting my A-levels, I wasn’t entirely sure what I wanted to do next. I was looking for an alternative to university that also meant I didn’t have to completely leave education – that’s when I came across an apprenticeship.


This would give me the opportunity to start employment, while also working towards a qualification. The apprenticeship route offers learning in a more practical setting which seemed better suited to me.


Why did you choose to go into accountancy?


I’ve always liked working with numbers so I thought I would enjoy a role somewhere within finance. Accountancy can be challenging & fast-paced and there’s always something new to learn with the ever-changing legislation. Some jobs can feel incredibly monotonous, but accountancy brings something new every day.


How much time did you spend at college and in the office during your apprenticeship?


As part of the apprenticeship I was given 20% off the job training – the rest of my working hours were spent in the office. While studying for my higher apprenticeship, I would have a set day out of the office each week.


What was your role in the office during your apprenticeship, any regular tasks etc?


For the first couple of years, I was solely in the VAT team helping to prepare and calculate quarterly returns.


After this I moved into the tax department where I have remained since. This involves reviewing all types of income and expenditure and applying relevant tax rules in order to compute self-assessment tax returns for clients.


How much support did you receive from the Chuhan & Singh team during your apprenticeship?


They’ve been so helpful to me by giving me the time I need to study and supporting me throughout. The work I do within the office has also helped with various parts of my exams due to the experience I have with these subjects on the job.


How did your apprenticeship change over the years?


The increase in content for each exam has been the most noticeable change between each level, but it’s been useful to start with the building blocks of accounting and to make my way to the more intricate rules and processes, especially those that I don’t often come across day-to-day at work.


By organising my workload and meeting deadlines, I’ve also been given far more responsibility in my job role throughout the course of my apprenticeship.


What did you enjoy most about your apprenticeship?


I really like leaving the classroom knowing that I’ve gained a greater understanding of a topic that will be useful and benefit me later in my role at work. It’s always nice to be able to put new things into practice when needed.


What would you say to anyone considering an accountancy apprenticeship?


It’s definitely a logical choice as there are so many different accountancy qualifications that you can do as an apprentice, depending on what area you want to specialise in.


It also helps to see how things work in practice so you can understand what you’re trying to achieve in the exams. The skills you learn in the workplace are transferrable into the classroom and vice versa.  


Stay tuned for part two of Brogan’s journey as an apprentice!