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The unique structure of our Accountancy Graduate Programme allows us to do things differently. Instead of asking you to choose a specialism from the outset, you will rotate through five different departments in our firm, giving you the chance to experience a variety of roles, including opportunities in both Fund and Corporate Accounting. Following an in-depth four-month induction, each placement will give you real responsibilities and deliverables. You’ll work as a valued member of each team, learning how our business operates and how your accountancy skills can be applied in different ways.
To us you’re more than just a number, and our focus will be on getting to know you as a person. This starts from the moment you apply, as there are no psychometric tests or online assessments - we prefer to see you face-to-face. Throughout the application process, you’ll get to meet the managers and team members you’ll be working with. And once you start the programme we’ll provide dedicated support and training, so where possible, we can tailor the programme to your individual interests and skills.
There’s time to study for your CA qualification too. Although we work hard, we don’t believe in long hours. To give you as much support as possible we provide generous study leave and a dedicated Training Principal to offer guidance throughout the programme. Once qualified, you’ll be guaranteed a permanent role with us. And it doesn’t stop there! There are ongoing training opportunities and the chance to pursue a variety of career options.
Our Accountancy Graduate Programme runs for three years, with rotations across five different areas of our business. You will be based in our Edinburgh head office but have exposure to geographic challenges in each department. Each core placement will run for at least four months, giving you the chance to gain an understanding of each department and take on real responsibility. The five areas are:
Through two distinct placements in our Financial Control and Financial Reporting teams, you’ll gain exposure to all facets of accounts preparation and reporting, from data entry and reconciliation through to statutory accounts, tax, regulatory returns and board papers. We’ll also give you exposure to our geographic spread of corporate entities and their reporting requirements.
In this department you will be involved in the management and support of a portfolio of clients. Responsibilities will include recording and reconciling transactions, compiling reports and invoicing.
European Fund Operations
On this placement your responsibilities could include checking quarterly client reporting, working with third party vendors and supporting internal departments to ensure we provide an effective service to shareholders.
North American Fund Operations
Working in this department’s Financial Reporting team, you’ll experience a variety of day-to-day Fund Accounting tasks, such as reviewing financial statements and regulatory filings from our third party vendors.
This department provides accounting information and administrative services for Baillie Gifford's investment trusts. Your placement here will involve creating reports, attending board meetings and completing regulatory and VAT returns.
In order to gain the broadest possible experience of our business, between your longer-running placements you’ll spend shorter periods in other areas of the firm, such as Internal Audit and Compliance. For the final few months of the programme, you’ll also deliver an accountancy project based on a live business need.
“The range of experience across client facing and business accounting roles provides a great opportunity to learn about many different aspects of practical accounting, backed up by the CA qualification.”
As a graduate trainee, you’ll join the firm in August before completing the ICAS book-keeping course. You’ll then start your four-month induction, which will include an introduction to the firm, our investment approach and the different departments across the business, as well as an overview of the investment management industry as a whole. You’ll also get the chance to attend professional training courses, such as networking and effective collaboration skills, and start ICAS tuition for your first CA exams in October and December. (We do not rely on any exemptions, so all of our trainees are expected to pass ICAS Test of Competence.)
Throughout the programme, you’ll meet regularly with your line manager to discuss your progress, and have the support of your Training Principal, who will be available to answer any of your queries or to share experiences. On each rotation, you’ll also have a placement host to ensure you settle into your new team and are on track with your ICAS competencies.
In the final year of the programme, discussions with your Training Principal and line manager will become more tailored to your career goals. For example, you may have the chance to experience some leadership responsibilities and explore technical areas that interest you. Once you’ve achieved your CA qualification and join us in a permanent role, you’ll be able to continue your development by exploring opportunities in the different areas of our business.
Whether you've always wanted to be an accountant or only just started to think about a career in finance, our Accountancy Graduate Programme is open to people from all backgrounds who have the key skills below.
We don’t mind what you studied at university, as we like to work with people who are curious and passionate about a range of topics. Our minimum requirement is a 2:1 degree in any subject.
We’re looking for people with a proactive approach. People who like to ask questions and solve problems. From an early stage, and as you progress with the firm, you’ll be expected to add value and bring new ideas to the table, so you must be comfortable with responsibility and happy to take ownership of your own projects.
Other than that, just bring your individuality. It’s your unique viewpoint we need. So, don’t be afraid to be yourself and give us your own take on things.
You will complete a short online application form, which will help us assess whether you have the skills and attributes we’re looking for.
You will be invited for a first interview with members of relevant business teams. We’ll discuss your life experience, skills and qualities, as well as your passions and interests.
The final stage will dig a bit deeper. You’ll attend an assessment centre with other applicants, which will include a second interview and group exercise. There’s also an opportunity to speak to those who have recently qualified and members of the teams you might join.
University of Stirling, Business Studies with Mathematics.
I’m a Financial Accountant within the North American Fund Operations department that looks after our US and Canadian Pooled Funds. Alongside my day-to-day responsibilities of providing senior accounting and valuation oversight across the funds, I’m heavily involved in the Accountancy Graduate Programme and manage the 2021 intake of trainees. It’s a unique programme that offers the chance to become a Chartered Accountant whilst rotating around the different operational accounting departments of the firm. So, you don’t need a fixed idea of where you want to specialise – the programme can help you figure it out.
The sheer variety of teams and roles makes Ballie Gifford a really interesting place to work. A highlight for me has been establishing our current Financial Reporting and Oversight team and growing it over the last five years. It started off with my manager and I, but now we have a team leader, four analysts and an accountancy graduate trainee on rotation, and the work has evolved too, as we’ve taken on a wider remit. It’s great to feel you are part of something constantly developing.
This year was the return of the Baillie Gifford Dinner Dance, after a year’s pandemic pause, when it went virtual. All staff are invited with a plus one – it’s a hugely popular event and I look forward to it each year. I dusted off my heels and tried on half of the dresses in the UK before finding one that was as comfortable as the sweats I’ve gotten used to wearing on my working from home days! From the champagne reception to the speeches, from the meal to the band, the night was amazing: just another thing that Baillie Gifford do to make you feel valued.
I’m excited to see what the incredible pace of technological evolution means for our day-to-day roles. I almost envisage us working alongside artificial intelligence and shifting our focus to oversight, analytical reviews and practical application of what the bots produce. It’s exciting to think how this will change not just life at Baillie Gifford, but the structure of the whole industry.
Bayes Business School (formerly Cass), Accounting & Finance
In my final year at university, part of my coursework was about investing money in different portfolios. I was looking for the top-20 best performing funds for long-term investments. Six of the top-20 funds I identified were managed by Baillie Gifford, so when I discovered they offered graduate trainee accountancy contracts, I was immediately interested. After some more research, the firm’s focus on people development really appealed to me, so I decided to go for it.
I applied to a number of other large accountancy firms, but the application process felt more personal at Baillie Gifford. It was far more welcoming, and I was interviewed by a person that I would go on to work with. At many of the larger firms, trainees move on quite quickly. But Baillie Gifford really look after their employees – they cover all your training costs and give you paid leave before the Chartered Accountancy exams. So, it’s no surprise that staff turnover at Baillie Gifford is very low.
My work on the programme has been very varied. One of my training projects involved looking at different aspects of setting up a new entity in Shanghai: putting together a business licence, preparing cashflow, estimating a five-year budget and creating a business plan for the regulator. This helped me really understand what’s involved in setting up a business. I was also responsible for the regulatory and financial reporting of our European businesses in Ireland, Germany and Switzerland. Since qualifying, I’ve been able to take the lead on projects, chair meetings and take questions, which I think shows a clear progression in my skills.
There have been a lot of new opportunities in our team recently as we adapt to the dramatic growth of the business. I’m now a Financial Planning & Analysis (FP&A) Assistant Manager in the FP&A team, which is a new sub-team of the Financial Reporting team. Our new FP&A team will focus on business partnering, long-term financial planning and provide insightful information to the firm’s management across boards, regional teams and departments. The team will support decision making and help shaping the direction of travel in an area that is of strategic importance to the firm.
There are so many options to consider when it comes to my future here at Baillie Gifford. I could stay in the Finance team, move to Client Accounting or one of the Fund Accounting teams for North America or Europe. Baillie Gifford is really growing in Asia and the company provided a personal tutor for me to learn Mandarin. It’s been fantastic to be supported in this way and, after two years of lessons, I can speak the language fluently!
University of York, Biology BSc, Developmental Biology MSc
I was drawn to the rotational aspect of the programme, as it allows me to gain a deep understanding of how the firm operates and helps me build a diverse network. Without a business or finance degree, having the opportunity to explore different accountancy roles within the business was appealing. In addition, my background in science has been advantageous, particularly the development of strong critical-thinking skills, which have proven to be invaluable when analysing large data sets.
The application process at Baillie Gifford is refreshingly different. Many other firms have multiple online interview and test stages, whereas Baillie Gifford is much more personal. The interview was about getting to know the firm and for them to understand you too – it went both ways. Having had a stammer since primary school, I’ve found it best to be open and upfront about my disability. The recruitment team at Baillie Gifford were very inclusive and accommodating throughout the process. For example, they scheduled my interview at the end of the day to avoid any time pressure on the discussion.
The ICAS qualification is challenging but fortunately, Baillie Gifford is understanding and supportive. We always get the maximum ICAS study leave allowance for exams, which helps our chances of success. The teams are mindful of my workload, even in busy periods, enabling me to finish promptly and study for the CA in the evenings.
My first placement was in the Expenditure and VAT team within Financial Control, during which I was fortunate to experience two-year ends: the subsidiaries in March and the partnership’s in April. Outside of core tasks, I have relished the challenge of managing projects, for example streamlining how team members respond to queries from auditors in Client Administration. I leveraged connections in other accounting departments to understand how this process functions elsewhere and provide recommendations. The project culminated in a report and presentation to senior members of the department. This tested my technical knowledge and put into practice learnings from the personal effectiveness training we receive during our graduate programme, such as communication and influencing skills. More recently, I enjoyed building relationships with and learning from subject matter experts during department reviews while in Internal Audit. This placement was a great opportunity to apply ICAS knowledge when monitoring the operating effectiveness of key controls and suggest process improvements to reduce risk.
University of Strathclyde, Electrical & Electronics Engineering
When I left university, I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted to do and took a year out to travel. I decided a career in engineering wasn’t for me, and I was ready to take on a new challenge. During my degree, I developed strong analytical and problem-solving skills that are very transferrable to a career in Finance, and I particularly liked the structure of the Accountancy programme on offer at Baillie Gifford. The opportunity to rotate around several different business areas meant I could find the best fit for me. Studying for the ICAS Chartered Accountant qualification was also really appealing, as it is so highly respected.
Since joining the firm, I have gained experience through multiple roles covering aspects of both fund and corporate accounting. I have completed placements in various parts of the business including the European Funds Operations Department and the North American Funds Operation Department as well as spending time within the company’s Financial Control Department. I have been made to feel welcome in all the teams I have joined so far and treated like a real member of the team. They have all provided extensive on-the-job training that has allowed me to become competent in a wide variety of tasks, including preparing interim and annual accounts, daily fair value pricing, expense analysis and completing corporate tax and VAT returns
I’m a big people person, and I’ve really enjoyed the opportunity to build strong networks across different business areas in the firm. I’ve been lucky enough to have one-to-one meetings with some of the heads of departments, and I’ve attended careers fairs to share my experiences with students interested in the firm. During each of my placements, I’ve also reached out to different teams within the departments to get an overview of what they do. Everyone I’ve approached has been really open to this, giving an hour of their time to meet with me, explain their roles and answer my questions.
I have just started a new placement in Investment Trusts where I will be spending four months in the assistant accounting team. I will then move on to my final four-month placement in the company’s Financial reporting team followed by two shorter placements in Compliance and Internal Audit. In the long term, the opportunities are endless, and I’m not restricted to a career in one team. As Baillie Gifford has invested so much in my personal development, from training on team building and presentation skills to leadership development sessions, I am confident that it could be a long and rewarding career here.
University of Glasgow, Law
I had always assumed I’d be a lawyer, but then changed my mind in my final year, as I thought an accountancy qualification would give me more options. I didn’t have a particularly numerical background, just Higher maths, but it was the business side of accountancy that really interested me. Before joining Baillie Gifford, I qualified with a Big 4 firm. I made the move to Baillie Gifford as I liked their long-term philosophy, and this role offered the opportunity to build relationships with both external clients (Boards) and a variety of colleagues across the firm.
I’m currently working as an assistant investment trust accountant with responsibilities across several Investment Trusts. There are lots of stakeholders – the fund managers, the Trusts’ Boards and the shareholders. It’s my job to produce the annual and half-year reports for the trusts I work on. On a typical day, I might be answering queries from internal teams, doing forecasting exercises for the fund managers, reviewing board papers, or migrating all the accounting and administrative records of a new Trust onto our systems.
Law is like accountancy in that it teaches you to be very analytical and logical. Both disciplines involve understanding technical issues and problem-solving. In my role, I provide both accountancy and company secretarial services to the Trusts. I was attracted to the opportunity to do both, and my background in law means that I’m used to interpreting regulations and reading legislation.
I think that staff turnover at Baillie Gifford is low because they treat their people so well. Everyone here is very supportive, and there’s a real commitment to quality and getting things right. We are all ambitious and want to do well, but we work together to achieve our goals. There’s the space and time to learn too. I was allowed to do the Investment Operations Certificate within my first few months of joining. The tutoring, books and study leave were all provided by Baillie Gifford and gave me a good grounding in investment operations and the wider context of what I do.