Rising Stars: Tom Scott

07th Apr

Tom Scott started his assistant accountant apprenticeship with Encompass in 2019, and since then he has achieved amazing results in his AAT Diploma exams, with his first three results being 93%, 95% and 97%.
Tom has also proven that he is an asset to the business in many other ways, as he has single-handedly created processes and interactive spreadsheets to make Encompass function more efficiently and profitably, while maintaining value for the client.  
Tell us a bit about your background before Encompass
I used to work in IT, more specifically, in internet filtering for kids in foster care; there were a few different branches, e.g. SMEs, foster care. Foster carers’ homes would have our internet software on their home laptops/computers to stop kids going on different sites or monitor activity. We worked closely with councils and police, and part of the feature would be a filter to look for certain words, such as drug-related slang, it would then flag up for intervention.
Why did you want to come to Encompass?
The company I was working for moved, so I wanted to look for a job closer to home. I had also been there for quite a while and wanted new challenges. Initially, I was employed within the data and compliance team at Encompass, but I moved from data to accountancy as I wanted to progress in Encompass and utilise more of my skills. I had always been interested in accounting; leaving school I initially wanted to go into accountancy but was easier to get into IT at the time, so I’m happy that Encompass provided me with an opportunity to pursue that.
How is the AAT portion of the assistant accountant apprenticeship helping you with your day-to-day job roles?
I have an amazing tutor called Claire; her teaching style fits my learning style so that makes everything so much easier. A lot of the time I learn how to do something because I need to do it within the specific role for Encompass; the AAT provides the theory behind it but also very transferrable knowledge for anywhere else if you were to move on. I find that I understand a lot more the “how” and the “why” we do things the way that we do with the knowledge I’ve gained so far on my AAT Diploma. With my background being in IT, I like that it is problem-solving and black-and-white. There are no two ways about many things in accounting; it’s very logical.
What qualities do you believe are essential to excel in your field?
I think obviously you need to be comfortable with thinking logically, but also you actually need the ability to switch off from everything around you. Sometimes you have to do somewhat repetitive tasks and for that you need to be able to focus, but you also need to understand that everyone else is not always going to be on the same wavelength as you; accounts isn’t for our benefit as accountants, it’s to present to everyone else in the business. It’s to help them make a decision, so you really need the ability to think from someone else’s perspective and how best they would like the data presented.
What value does the assistant accountant apprenticeship bring rather than just doing a standalone AAT Diploma?
I know you can do the standalone diploma while working, i.e. outside working hours, such as distance learning or evening classes, but when studying it via an apprenticeship it becomes part of your 20% off the job, it also gets your employer involved and your line manager can help things click a lot more with practical examples. It’s actually my fourth apprenticeship right now, I completed a business administration apprenticeship when I first started with Encompass, and each one I have learned new knowledge and skills to progress in a business environment. I see it as if someone applied for a job at my company, and I was the person interviewing them, I would more likely pick the candidate who had done the full apprenticeship rather than the candidate who had just done the diploma, as the apprenticeship gives real-world experience and proof that the individual can perform that job role to a high standard.
What are your aspirations for the future?
Looking forward to moving on to my level 4, taking it one at a time, I’ve been doing this a while now but it’s still fairly new. Still enjoying it. Keep on smashing out the exam results.
A final bit about you, what do you like to do in your spare time?
I’ve been over to America twice now to work in a summer camp, helping run the outdoor pursuits section. You spend four months over there where your primary day-to-day role is to look after kids on camp. Personally, I ran different sessions on high ropes, fire-building, archery and climbing, I was part of the resource, which is like the SMT of camp; making sure counsellors can fully and effectively look after their kids. It’s a charity-type camp, there’s a big fund that we all raise money for in summer; kids who want to go to camp but whose families can’t afford to pay just pay what they can and camp pays the rest. It really gave me more confidence and helped mould me into who I am today. I also have co-hosted a business podcast with my friend, I’ve done about five episodes now. The podcast focuses on discussing business-related hot topics, interviewing special guests, and the re-telling of stories that had happened to the panel between episodes. It’s called the My Journey podcast by Matt Johnson.
A quote from Abigail Garrod – management accountant
I know I’m biased when it comes to thinking that accountancy is a great profession, but every accountant needs to have efficiency for numbers and logical thinking skills, so the role truly suits Tom and his capabilities. Tom’s background in data provides a holistic knowledge of the business and from this, he has a lot of great ideas on how to improve old policies and procedures. The company’s size, vision and values offer a forum where Tom can provide his many ideas and gives him opportunities to pitch them straight to senior management and directors. I think this is really a testament to how we work company-wide, with ingenuity and empowerment being two of our core values, allowing everyone to have input across different departments.
For more information about Encompass, visit encompass-consultancy.com

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