Churchill Spotlights The AAT & Financial Qualifications

At Churchill, we’ve always been at the forefront of developing people, and helping them to flourish into the professionals we know they have the potential to become. It’s part of our continued commitment to a People First approach – one of our core virtues – and our firm belief that the right environment can lead to great things.

All of our management team have experienced that in some capacity, and each member of our leadership team wants that for everyone else who works here at Churchill, across all of our departments.

Today, we’re looking in more depth at the financial sector, and the routes our diverse and exceptionally talented team have taken to get into the industry. It’s one that can often be difficult to decipher from an outside perspective, but we take great pride in ensuring that the opportunities we afford our team are as multifaceted as they are.


Looking At The AAT & Its Impacts

One of the most pivotal qualifications across finance and accounting is the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) apprenticeship. Established in 1980, its long been the flagship qualification for high-grade accountancy and financial positions, and is arguably one of the most popular routes into the field.

Split into 3 levels (From Level 2 up to Level 4), the course encompasses multiple core aspects of the accountancy profession, including:

  • Bookkeeping
  • Costing
  • VAT calculations
  • Advanced accountancy
  • Management accounting
  • Financial statements

Its impacts are often far-reaching, outfitting students with the necessary skills, expertise and understanding of the complex world of finance to ensure they’re able to complete a huge range of different roles across multiple sectors.

At Churchill, we’re proud to have that essential qualification represented by a huge complement of our in-house Finance Team. But, there’s also other areas where we feel we truly excel, too.

Of course, while the AAT is often what many immediately think of when it comes to financial qualifications, it’s far from the only option. Here at Churchill Support Services, we’ve got the full spectrum of financial qualifications represented, including:

  • Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA)
  • Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA)
  • Association of Taxation Technicians (ATT)

Of course, each of these certifications offer their own, individual routes into the financial sector, providing a unique insight into what’s often a complicated field. The old adage holds true, in that no two qualifications are the same.

That’s something we believe is a huge strength of ours here at Churchill. Our talented team comes from a wealth of experience, backgrounds and academic roots, meaning we’ve always got someone who can provide sage advice and wisdom on the complete gamete of finance.


Our Team & Their Diverse Backgrounds

Of course, our words only speak so much to the team’s strengths, so we took the time to get their views on the qualifications they have, and how that’s helped them establish a highly sought-after career in finance.


Louie Court, Our Accounts Apprentice

I’m Louie, the newest member of the Finance Team here at Churchill. I’m currently undertaking my Level 2 AAT, with the Level 3 and 4 firmly on the horizon. I’ve always found finance to be an interesting and diverse field, and it’s one that I’ve always harboured a passion for.

I can definitely see myself progressing in the future, especially as I learn and grow over the course of my AAT qualifications, and I’d love to work as a Head or Director of Finance in the future. That’s something that’s already been recognised in my short time so far at Churchill – it’s such a supportive and welcoming atmosphere, and I love the collaborative aspect of the finance team.


Jade Lorimer, Accounts Receivable Clerk

As someone who’s progressing between the Level 3 and Level 4 AAT qualifications, I’ve got my eyes set on a future in finance. While my degree was in Sports Therapy, I’ve truly found my passion in finance, and that’s something I’ve been allowed to hone and develop here at Churchill, and that I’ll definitely be taking forward into the future.

My ultimate aspiration is to progress to a directorial position, leading my own department and shaping the future of finance at wherever I’m working. I’m already starting that journey here at Churchill, with the hands-on experience and collaboration with highly qualified professionals that my job affords.


Amy Thorogood, Accounts Assistant

Finance for me wasn’t the first option, but it’s something I’m so glad to have found. I’ve now completed both my Level 3 and my Level 4 AAT qualifications, and not once have I looked back. I’ve been given the chance to gain practical experience, and put into practice the expertise I’ve gleaned from the AAT courses.

I’ll definitely be continuing with this, taking on new challenges in transactional finance and management accounting, as well as finding further real-world applications for my more academic experience. Churchill have been instrumental in that – I’ve already started to learn profit/loss analysis and budgeting procedures – and I’m so excited to continue that trajectory!


Francesca Lloyd, Payroll Supervisor

It feels as though finance has always been in my fate! I began in credit control, where I learnt the sales ledger before moving across to purchase ledger, all while dealing with front-line accountancy and finance. It’s there that I began my Level 3 AAT apprenticeship, before progressing onto the Level 4 that I’m currently underway with.

It’s a rapid progression I’ve been on, especially since starting at Churchill, but it’s one I’m keen to continue on. I foresee myself leading a dedicated Payroll department, and cultivating the same work ethic and culture that have seen me achieve the role I have. All of that’s been possible with both Churchill, and with the incredible team I have around me.


Rachael Adamson, Accounts Receivable Controller

I’m slightly different to many of my finance colleagues, in that I don’t have those same formal qualifications. I began working in finance as a pursuit of passion, and soon found that the amount of transferrable skills and expertise were a strong basis for a career in which I could progress.

That’s a trend I’m keen to uphold going forward, continuing to refine and hone the skills that have served me so well in my financial journey so far. That’s become part and parcel of the culture here at Churchill, where there’s challenges and opportunities in equal measure, and I can put my practical experience and skills into practice across a variety of new scenarios.


Vicki Worthington, Head of Finance

My journey into finance actually began adjacently, with my passion and firm interest in business. I’d long since decided that I wanted to be involved in the corporate world, and finance naturally became a way for me to become a part of that.

That really kickstarted with a place on an AAT apprenticeship at a prestigious accountancy firm in Manchester. Of course, this was a massive opportunity, and one I didn’t squander – I gained a huge amount of practical experience, and my fledgling finance career took me to new heights in a field I’d only grown to love more.

I completed every level of the AAT (up to Level 4), before properly focusing on what it was that drew me to finance in the first place. I took this an academic route at first, studying with the ACCA for a professional qualification, before deciding that I’d be best suited to finding my place in the complex world of finances.

Thus began a whirlwind ride, where I transitioned from larger accountancy practice, to smaller firms, and finally into industry as I gained a clearer understanding of what I truly wanted to do. That encompassed a huge range of sectors, too, all of which I feel made me a much more rounded individual and professional.

I arrived at Churchill with an already comprehensive skillset, but it’s there that I’ve really grown to adore what I do and truly find my niche in finance. I work alongside what you’ve already seen is an exceptional team with complimentary areas of expertise, and that’s one of the true advantages of a company like this.

I’ve been afforded the chance to pass on my own expertise through mentorship and guidance, helping to shape the learning and development experiences of my colleagues, and ultimately aiding them along that same path that’s served me so well in my time in finance.

I feel as though we’re an enterprise that’s at the forefront of changes and growth. Spearheading that with a Director who truly understands me, and a team that seamlessly blends together, is an exceptionally exciting time, and one that I’m keen to grow alongside.


David Parsons, Group Finance Director

As the Group Finance Director here at Churchill Support Services, it’s natural that I’d have the qualifications to support that. My academic journey began with a GNVQ in Advanced Business Studies, where I first discovered that I was best suited to the world of finances. Of course, with that realisation came the revelation that I needed to supplement that with the right qualifications, experience, and wisdom.

That started with the prerequisite AAT qualifications (all the way up to Level 4) with an accountancy firm, gaining a fundamental understanding of key accounting concepts and practices. From running a Payroll Bureau and calculating personal and business tax, to bookkeeping and preparing management accounts, AAT proved to be the perfect academic accompaniment, providing the technical theories and techniques to compliment the practical day-to-day of working in an accountancy practice.

I then transitioned over to a larger firm in order to complete my ACCA professional examinations, the next logical step in the path towards formal accounting accreditation. This armed me with a wealth of theoretical knowledge and practical experience across multiple sectors, Enough on that, though.

Throughout this time, I discovered something that really attuned my skillset, and allowed me to explore the strategic impact a well-rounded and commercially-focused finance function can have in supporting business growth. It’s a common misconception that finance is a very cut-and-dry sector, and I found that to be far from the truth – it’s an industry that demands a certain sense of curiosity and desire to find creative solutions.

That’s what I seek to do in my role as Group Finance Director. I want to embody and encourage that curious mindset, that impetus to discover more about what’s traditionally viewed as black-and-white or simply a regurgitation of numbers. I want to drive the excitement that leads to growth and spectacular results.

It’s not just about financial growth, though. In my time in senior finance roles, I’ve actively sought to cultivate an environment that allows people to grow, to develop, and to become the professionals and the people they were always destined to be. It’s the key reason I place so much emphasis on Leadership – I want to lead from the front, and help people achieve the same level of career fulfilment I’ve had.

I’m a firm believer that you never truly reach your full potential without finding the right environment, and that’s what I’ve sought to build within the Finance department. Here at Churchill, I pride myself in being able to offer career paths that allow others to find the same level of accomplishment in their careers that I have. I’m so proud and privileged to have the team that I do, and I’m incredibly excited for the future!

John Melling

Group Chief Executive Officer

John has a proven track record for motivating and leading high performance teams and has helped mentor and develop many people at Churchill who now hold key or senior positions within the business. John is committed to delivering only the finest services, exercising compelling leadership, maintaining good internal morale and striving to resolve any challenges efficiently and effectively.