Audit Careers: Hannah Van Ross

It is incredibly common for someone to begin the early stages of their accountancy career at one type of firm, then after gaining a better understanding of the industry, change to another. This is often due to the realisation that their career goals will not be met if they stay where they are, or that a salary increase is just too tempting!

Whether you are career-hungry or money-minded, considering a career in audit is a fantastic way to move one step closer to achieving your goals.

But don’t take it from me…

Hannah Van Ross now Partner at Shipleys LLP, began her career the same way as many other accountants, in a very reputable local firm. After completing her ACA qualification in 2014, Hannah was promoted to manager, though her hunger and drive for success were not done there. 

After a short spell in the seaside town in which she had trained, Hannah opted for a slightly different setting and moved to London where she joined Shipleys LLP in March 2016 as an audit supervisor.

Although Hannah’s audit exposure was limited to date, she had performed audit testing as part of a larger team, giving her a base level of training that could be easily built upon by the team at Shipleys.  Shipleys LLP is a top 60 firm with offices located in Central London and Surrey.

Hannah aspired to join a firm like Shipleys to increase her chance of future progression and shortly after her move, Hannah’s theory was confirmed! She was promoted to Assistant Manager within her first 9 months and hasn’t taken her foot off the pedal since…

Why did you choose to join a larger firm and how does the environment compare?

I always hoped to work in the bright lights of London after qualifying in a small town on the South Coast. I knew that I did not want to go to a ‘Big 4’ firm as I wanted a place where I would have both partner and firm-wide engagement and be able to build my knowledge and expertise across a broad service offering. I also wanted a great work-life balance what with moving to London for the first time.


How has this impacted your career progression?


It was scary moving from a small boutique practice with limited audit experience, however going to a mid-tier firm with approachable colleagues across all levels, really helped me to progress and grasp the role as an audit supervisor. 6 years on, I have been offered a partnership and I could not see my career anywhere else.


Success looks different to everyone, what does it look like to you?


It’s not all about money and the tangible benefits, but being happy and waking up each morning doing something you enjoy and want to do. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think anyone growing up said they wanted to be an auditor, but helping clients, and colleagues, seeing businesses grow and develop, overcoming challenges…that’s what gets the mind motivated and striving for more and achieving those things you set out to do – that’s a success.  


What are the benefits of being a woman in a senior management role?


From differing skill sets, imaginative perspectives and varying standpoints having women in senior roles helps bring a new sense of awareness and culture. A diverse workforce brings new experiences and perspectives and ultimately much-needed innovation to a lot of businesses.  For the up-and-coming generation having diverse senior management gives them role models to look up to who can guide and help them to progress in their careers. Communication is also enhanced enabling better efficiency and creating a sense of clarity.

What advice would you give to someone considering a career in audit?

My one piece of advice would be to make the move, grasp it with two hands and enjoy it. You do not realise what you are capable of until it is presented in front of you. The experience I gained in the practice outside of London gave me a wealth of knowledge and firm background which I was able to build on in my move to London.

There are many avenues to explore when it comes to audit and as an ACA-qualified myself, I am well placed to understand the key drivers and possible hurdles that you currently face in your role or what you are perhaps looking to achieve in your next job. At Harvey John, we pride ourselves on helping people know their options as well as their worth. If you would like to have a conversation about a career in audit or if you want to find out the current audit jobs available in your area, get in touch.

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