From work experiencer to manager

F ew people's first work experience leads to their chosen career - but that is exactly what happened to one Fakenham woman.

F ew people's first work experience leads to their chosen career - but that is exactly what happened to one Fakenham woman.

In 1991, 15-year-old schoolgirl Sharon Kirk first walked through the doors of chartered accountants Larking Gowen in her home town - and earlier this year she was promoted to manager.

A typical day might see Sharon visiting clients on auditing work and learning about their businesses, or in her office appraising members of staff or meeting with other members of the Fakenham management team.

This is all a far cry from when she first decided that accountancy was going to be her chosen career.

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“Those two weeks of work experience gave me a great insight into what being an accountant was all about - I was hooked,” said Sharon. “I went back to work with Larking Gowen in the school holidays and it convinced me more than ever that accountancy was the career I wanted.”

Following A-levels at Fakenham College, Sharon went on to study for a foundation accountancy course at Norwich City College before joining Larking Gowen full-time in 1995 where she set about training to become qualified.

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“The studying is very challenging, but the training was great and the people were so helpful and encouraging. It was a combination of attending courses in Norwich, home study and on-the-job training.

“It was worth all the struggle as I qualified as a chartered accountant in 2000.

Once qualified there are many options open to you and, as an internationally-recognised qualification, it brings job opportunities around the world, Sharon explained.

“As well as working within an accountancy practice you could equally follow a career in industry as a finance director,” said Sharon - and she is quick to dismiss anyone who is brave enough to suggest accountants are boring.

“There are just so many facets to being an accountant today. It is far more like a business consultancy. It is about getting under the skin of companies, seeing what makes them tick and providing practical help and suggestions to make them perform better.”

Sharon does her bit to shake off the image by being an avid rock music fan who loves nothing more than going to see her partner play guitar with a local band.

She also believes there are advantages in working for a partnership such as Larking Gowen.

“You have constant contact with clients which is very stimulating and there are excellent career prospects,” she said. “One of the things I really enjoy is helping those who are just starting with the firm. I want to make sure they are offered the same opportunities I was lucky enough to enjoy.

“I started at the very bottom and have worked my way up to manager, but my ultimate goal is entry to the partnership. It won't be easy but I am determined to get there.

“Today I am convinced more than ever that when I was 15 I made the right career choice - how many 15-year-olds can say that?”

t Anyone interested in a career in accountancy can contact HR manager Julie Best on 01603 624181 or visit

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