5 minutes with…our trainees

At Carpenter Box, we are proud to offer a Platinum accredited trainee scheme and each year we welcome a new cohort to join our team.

We recently caught up with three of our newer trainees to find out more about them, including a typical day in their role and what keeps them busy outside of work! Say hello to Lewis, Sara and Matt.

Lewis (second from left) at an event in Chichester

Tell us about yourself

Lewis: My name is Lewis Castello and I am part of the cloud team within the Business Services Group at Carpenter Box. My Job title is a Digital Solutions Specialist, however I am also training to become ACCA qualified. I was born in Hillingdon (North West London) and lived there until I was 20 where I then moved down to the South Coast with my family. I have not always been in Accounts as my first full time job was working at USC in London as a retail assistant before moving to River Island in Chichester when I moved down here in 2015. Alongside this I attended Chichester College where I studied AAT and became Level 4 qualified in 2019. Between this time I left River Island and gained an Accounts Trainee position in a small Accounts Practice where I then became an Accounts Assistant. After 3 years I decided to move to Carpenter Box where I have been since April 2021.

Sara (centre front) and Matt (middle row, second from right) with some of our other 2021 trainees

Sara: I’m Sara Williams, a Tax Trainee at Carpenter Box. I studied biology, chemistry, and maths with statistics at A Level and then did the first year of biomedical science at university. However I soon realised I lost my passion for science and saw it as more of a hobby. So I completed some personality quizzes and each one suggested accounting, statistics or bookkeeping! I then undertook an apprenticeship for five years at FRP Advisory LLP, an insolvency firm, and studied AAT level 2, 3 and 4 – qualifying as a bookkeeping (LVL3) and an accounting technician (LVL4). I did personal tax and business tax as my level 4 optional units, obtained my highest scores and realising my strongest areas in accounting. When my apprenticeship ended, I looked for tax-based positions and here I am!

Matt: I am Matt Roberts, and I am a trainee within the Assurance and Advisory Group within the Worthing office at Carpenter Box. I was born in Worthing, so haven’t ventured far! I initially joined Carpenter Box on a placement year from University in July 2019 which I thoroughly enjoyed. The outbreak of the pandemic meant that my lectures transitioned online for my final year, which enabled me to stay on at Carpenter Box on a part time basis whilst I completed my degree. I then joined on a full-time basis again as a trainee in May 2021.

Describe a typical day for you in your role

Lewis: Working within the cloud team my role differ from day to day as we respond to internal and external queries from colleagues and clients. These can vary between many of the Accounting software solutions we use such as Xero, Quickbooks, Dext and more. We provide training to new and existing clients on the software that we use which allows them to gain a good understanding on how to make best use of the software on offer. I am also beginning to learn about the wide range of integrations available and will implement these to comply with regulations and to improve efficiency for clients and staff internally.

Sara: The Tax Services Group is split mainly into two areas – Private Client Services (PCS) and Advisory. PCS focuses on client tax returns whilst advisory covers a broad range of share transactions such as transfers, reductions, and subdivisions as well as the client advising (at senior level) and niche specialisms such as EMI and R&D. Both sides have elements of methodical approaches and bespoke tailoring. Each day is varied and unique as you end up juggling both kinds of work due to deadlines and client challenges.

Matt: Being an audit trainee, my role mainly revolves around the preparation and audit of financial statements. We are often required to visit client’s premises to undertake audit testing procedures. This provides a nice change to days in the office and offers the opportunity to see an array of business’s operations first-hand. This is something I always find interesting as you get to meet a lot of new people and each week is always different!

What is the best professional advice anyone has given you? 

Lewis: The piece of advice that I will never forget and will stay with me forever is “treat everyone with kindness“. I am a huge advocate of this in the workplace as whoever you are, regardless of position, you should always treat people with kindness as anyone can be fighting a battle you cannot see.

Sara: There are no such things as mistakes; only learning opportunities.”

Matt: I recall a family friend once saying to me “Nothing will work unless you do”. This very much resonated with me and reinforces that without hard work you’ll never achieve your full potential.

Outside of work, what keeps you busy?

Lewis: I love socialising with friends and family, going to different and new places, especially for the food! The last few years has definitely limited me to this so there is a lot of catching up to do. I travel up to London a lot to where I used to live and spend many hours of my life watching sport, most preferably football. I am a huge Chelsea fan so with any free time I have I try and make sure if I am supporting my team.

Sara: Definitely studying! But outside of that, I love to walk along the promenade or around nature parks/trails and ‘awwing’ at people’s dogs. I also enjoy drinking tea and have started a teapot and loose tea leaf collection. I am a casual gamer; I love anything with a good story or being the ‘support role’ in multiplayers. I do read occasionally – I am currently reading through ‘The Original Folk and Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm’.

Matt: I’m a big sports fan, so a large portion of my time is spent spectating and taking part in various sports. As well as socialising with friends where possible.

What are your plans for the future?

Lewis: The aim at the moment is to gain as much experience as possible while I am a trainee and to hopefully become ACCA qualified within the next 3 years. From there who knows. I think I will just take it a step at a time as you never know what is round the corner as we have recently found out!

Sara: I first would like to qualify as a member of the ATT, then eventually CTA. I will then play all the games I’ve bought on offer and never got around to completing!

Matt: My career aims going forward are to keep working hard and strive towards completing my ACCA exams to achieve qualified status.

Trainee scheme 2022

Our 2022 trainee scheme is now open for applications! This year, we have exciting opportunities across all our departments:

  • Business Services Group: who help businesses to obtain a thorough understanding of their financial position. You will study ACA & ACCA.
  • Assurance and Advisory Group: who check our clients present the information about their financial position in a way that is true and fair. You will study the ACA & ACCA.
  • Tax Services Group: who focus on compliance-based work as well as advising on planning for future tax responsibilities. You will study ATT and CTA.

Find out more about our trainee scheme and apply here:

Apply for our trainee scheme

Thank you to Lewis, Sara and Matt for sharing their stories and we wish them all the best with their respective studies and continued journey with Carpenter Box!