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    The social side of being a trainee – it’s not all work!

  • Posted on June 14, 2017 by


    When people ask what the best thing about the NAO is, my usual response is to say that it’s the people. For me in particular, it’s the 70+ new trainees that start with you when you start the scheme in September.

    I graduated in July 2016 and like most of my university friends started a new life in London. I have noticed for some of my friends it has been difficult starting a new job when there are either no or few people your age working there. This is not a problem at the NAO.

    The majority of trainees are twenty-somethings and the 2016 intake is a keen bunch. When we’re not scattered across the country at our clients, we usually spend Friday evening in the pub, drinking a few lemonades or cocktails, chilling out and playing a few games of darts (potentially the worst group of darts players you’ll ever see).

    At lunchtime in the office, there’s always someone to sit with in the office canteen. There’s a big group that will be there everyday. At the same time, there are those that may eat with their smaller teams, or in peaceful tranquillity. Everyone is catered for.

    College is a time to make friends. In your first three months, you’ll spend six weeks going to college with your intake. We were split into two groups of 30 and I won’t lie, it was hard work and there were days I was completely clueless. We were in it together though. You’ll bond over debits and credits and other accounting jargon thrown at you. No matter how badly the morning goes, you can go out for an unwinding lunch together. I’ve made some great friends at college.

    Of course, being part of a big social group is not for everyone. Smaller groups form and some trainees are happy to turn up for the job, or college, and have a life completely outside of NAO colleagues. The scheme is a great opportunity to meet new people, no matter how introverted or extroverted you are. In your audit teams, there will be people of varying ages. You’re likely to find friends no matter where you are in your life.

    Outside the working week, a number of us have arranged fun activities. A big group of us went to the CASSL ball together and almost all of us went to the office Christmas party, where we filled the dancefloor and packed out a karaoke booth. I arranged white water rafting for my birthday and put a team together for a mixed netball tournament and a colour run. Earlier in the year, I played in the tag rugby team. In the netball and rugby, we didn’t win much – but it was so much fun regardless!

    It’s been great to meet so many new people and we’re always looking for new, exciting events and activities to do. I’m currently trying to do every Olympic sport before Tokyo 2020 so if you do join the NAO – get in touch if there’s something you’ve always wanted to try. 

    I hope this gives a flavour of how you can make the most of your time at the NAO and in London. Use the comment boxes to ask any questions.

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  • The First Ten Weeks

  • Posted on November 21, 2016 by


    My first ten weeks at the NAO have flown by. It only feels like yesterday when I stumbled in to the office on my first day all in a fluster due to a transport mishap!

    To give you a snapshot of my fledgling NAO career to date, here is a list of things I’ve done since starting with the Newcastle office back in September, in no particular order. I’ve studied, sat and passed four computer-based exams contributing to the Certificate Level of the ACA, (namely Accounting, Assurance, Tax and Law) with two more (Management Information and Business and Finance) to come before Christmas. I’ve taken two week-long trips to London as part of my trainee induction, where I’ve had ample opportunity to meet colleagues from across the organisation. I’ve also been on a two-night audit-planning visit to the sunny seaside resort of Blackpool, home to one of the many Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) offices, where I’ve assisted in interviewing clients.

    When not in college, London or Blackpool I’ve been settling in to life in the NAO’s Newcastle office. As a newbie to the North East, this has meant learning my way around Toon talk; including learning to refer to my lunch as dinner, embracing the regional culinary delicacy known as a “Parmo” and debating whether to pronounce Primark “Preemark”. I’ve also attended the Newcastle office’s 10th birthday party, experienced the office’s much-hyped Pop Quiz and signed up for both the annual Christmas Cup (football competition) and the Christmas lunch. Fun galore.

    All in all, it has been a very enjoyable and exciting start to life with the NAO. I wonder what the next ten weeks will bring!

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  • One night on Audit… Followed by another 364.

  • Posted on November 11, 2016 by

    SkylineMy first year is over as a trainee and my transition from an AA1 to AA2 complete. I managed to fit quite a lot into a single 12 month period; 6 exams, interim and final audit, one Christmas party, 2 office quizzes, 2 cluster lunches, numerous socials, 9 weeks away from home and a year older. As I write this I have just passed my next 3 exams and have a month to go until my final 3 of this year. The pace hasn’t let up since I arrived but it certainly hasn’t been boring. more… One night on Audit… Followed by another 364.


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  • A quick guide on how to apply

  • Posted on November 4, 2016 by

    Our graduate training scheme is currently open for applications. If you are still to embark on the application journey, here’s a quick reminder on what to expect over the next few weeks. Good luck!

    ApplicationApplying for a job can be a very daunting task. I can still remember, during my final year, staying up late into the night trying to find the right words to express my desire to work for Company A. In order to make these times a little less stressful for you, this post will hopefully provide you with a quick guide on how to apply to the NAO. more… A quick guide on how to apply


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  • Onwards and upwards (or, my only regret is Colin Firth)

  • Posted on September 9, 2016 by

    The end signOver the next few weeks, my intake are due to sign off our ICAEW training files and officially complete the ACA. We’re going to be issued Audit Principal contracts and many of us are moving teams. more… Onwards and upwards (or, my only regret is Colin Firth)


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  • About this blog

    The NAO graduate blog is here to help students prepare for a place on our graduate training scheme. Find out what it's like to work at the NAO: We are a team of six current trainees giving you a real insight into our roles. Feel free to add your own comments or questions to our posts!