Applications have now closed for the 2022 intake
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 in Edinburgh. Each placement will run for at least four months, giving you the chance to gain an understanding of each department and to take on real responsibility. The five areas are:Finance
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.Client Administration
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.Additional placements
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 presentation 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 the ICAS Test of Competence.)
Throughout the programme, you’ll meet regularly with your line manager to discuss your progress, and have the support of a dedicated mentor, 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 and a Higher/A-level or equivalent in Maths.
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, discussion topic 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 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. I’ve also had great support from the teams I’ve been working on, with countless offers of help. In my previous placement, the team were also mindful of my workload, even in busy periods, enabling me to finish promptly and study for the CA in the evenings.
My latest placement was in Financial Control in the Expenditure and VAT team. In my four months there, I became immersed in the team and had my own responsibilities to fulfil. These included preparing VAT returns, processing invoices, and performing expense analysis for various areas across the business. I also had the opportunity to shadow the Deputy CFO as the firm prepared a response to an FCA consultation paper. During this time, I was fortunate enough to experience two year ends, the subsidiary’s in March and the partnership’s in April, which were great opportunities to learn and apply my ICAS knowledge.
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 had 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 January, I’ve been completing my first placement in the European Funds Operation Department, working as an Assistant Fund Accountant. The team are responsible for providing high-quality accounting and administration services for Baillie Gifford’s UK Open Ended Investment Companies. From the day I joined, I was made to feel welcome and like an actual member of the team. They’ve provided extensive on-the-job training that allowed me to become competent in a wide variety of tasks, including preparing interim and annual accounts, daily fair value pricing and helping with corporate tax 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 my current placement, I’ve also reached out to different teams within my department to get overviews of what they do. Everyone I approached was really open to this, giving an hour of their time to meet with me, explain their roles and answer my questions.
I’m just about to move on to my next placement in the Client Administration department for four months, and then I’ll move onto Financial Control for a further four months. 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.
I joined Baillie Gifford on the first day of the lockdown, which means my whole experience here has been virtual. Baillie Gifford sent me a laptop, an extra screen, a desk and a chair, so I had everything I needed. I had a comprehensive induction with the other new joiners in the firm, and there have been loads of networking events to help me get to know everyone. There’s a coffee catch-up every month and a ‘speed-dating’ type system where you can organise short meetings with people around the firm. There are also monthly social events like wine tastings and cocktail evenings, which are great fun.
I’m a project accountant, which is a unique role within the department. I’m currently involved in about four different projects. One is looking at how we set up a new structural entity. These are the vehicles the firm uses to sell our investments to clients. I’m part of the team that deliberates on how we account for the new entities and ensure that everything complies with the wider regulations and reporting requirements. I really enjoy my role because I will often sit in four or five teams across different projects. I also help with the Business Operations graduate training programme by organising the trainees’ placements and making sure they reach their goals.
One of the highlights of my role so far has been a large piece of work that I ran by myself. The Finance department uses a lot of different vendors to provide its systems and services. I set up a vendor management oversight group to ensure we managed our supplier contracts as effectively as possible. I started by working with the firm’s Third-Party Oversight team, who look after the firm’s main contacts. I learnt about their best practices and the lifecycle of oversight. It was then about adapting these processes to the Finance department.
Before joining Baillie Gifford, I was lucky enough to attend one of the firm’s Dinner & Dance events as a guest. This year the event was online, and I didn’t think it would compare, but I don’t think they could have done it any better. We had a four-course meal delivered to our home, a cocktail before dinner and wine. Then we were all able to log into live entertainment especially booked for the event. The firm made an effort to find entertainers who have been out of work because of lockdown. They do it because it’s the right thing to do, not because they want to publicise it. I really like that.
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.
University of Glasgow, Mathematics
My first role was managing a client accounting/administration team of around 30 people, reporting on our pooled funds. From there, I became the Treasurer or Principal Financial Officer of our USA Mutual Funds, with responsibility for various operational matters for our Canadian and USA based funds, including new product and fund launches. I’m also involved in overseeing how we value our funds and investments, sitting on three different valuation committees and groups.
I really value Baillie Gifford’s approach. Unlike other firms, there are no timesheets and there’s no need to account for every minute of your day. It’s just about focusing on doing your job well. If you want to do something or to try something new, you are will be supported. There are regular social activities and groups that are free for all employees, and if you can’t find something for yourself, you’re encouraged to set something up. Before Covid-19, I also got to do a lot of travel, visiting the US and Canada five or six times a year, as part of my role.
The early stages of the Chartered Accountancy qualification give you the technical skills, while the final stages ask you to assess the problem and learn about it. It teaches you to stand back and look at things in a different, more analytical way. You think about what can be done better. You learn not to be daunted by a large problem and how to break things down and narrow your focus. These are invaluable business skills.
Due to the accountancy programme’s rotational nature, by the time you finish, you’ll be a specialist in the financial operations of an investment management firm. Baillie Gifford looks to make a long-term investment in their trainees and actively work to retain people after they qualify by giving them lots of different career opportunities. We want people with fresh ideas who are willing to get stuck in to learn and to work hard.