During March 2016, John Taylor High School took two teams of sixth form students to the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) BASE Business and Accounting competition in Nottingham. The competition was held at Nottingham County Football Club, with schools from all around the local area attending. Upon arrival, we were invited to take our places in the main room, where we were given a welcome speech from a representative from ICAEW, which set out the events of the day.
We were then given a case study for a business, and told that we would be acting as their accountants throughout the course of the day. First of all, we were told to complete an analysis of the business’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. This was to get us to look into the background of the business, and prepare us for the other tasks.
After this, we had to advise the business on a strategic decision; whether to be unethical, but make a lot of profit, or be ethical, and lose out on the opportunity. This was a tough decision, as the business prided itself on its ethical standing, but was in desperate need of a profit.
At the end of the activity, we had to present our findings to a panel of judges, who were acting as the board of directors for the business. We had to back up our decision with company data, using our presentation skills in order to persuade the judges of our point of view.
After this, we were introduced to employers from the local area, and given an opportunity to network. This enabled us all to find out about the different routes into the financial industry, by talking to people such as the chief financial officer for Capital One in the UK, which was a valuable experience.
Then we were called back into the main room for the finishing speech, where they rounded up the day, and then moved onto the presentation, which the Year 13 team won. This means that they will represent the Nottingham region at the National finals at the end of June 2016 for a chance to be National champions.
Overall, the competition was a great way for people with an interest in business and accountancy to get an experience of what it is like to work in the financial sector, using real case studies, and with time pressure, so I would recommend it to anyone who wants to go down a similar career path. It was also useful for helping to us to decide what we want to do in the future, whether that is as a graduate, or as a higher apprentice, there was something for whichever option you wanted to pursue.
by Joseph Marlow