Our Accountancy graduate trainees are more than just a number to us.Applications for our Graduate Programmes are now closed and will open again in the summer of 2021.
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 a comprehensive 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 – there are no video interviews because we prefer to meet 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 mentoring, so where possible, we can more closely 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 flexibility as possible, study leave is provided and there are dedicated study areas within the office. Once qualified, you’ll be guaranteed a permanent role with us, as well as ongoing training opportunities and the chance to experience a breadth 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 between four and six months, giving you the chance to gain an understanding of each department and to take on real responsibility. The five areas are:Finance
You will work in our Financial Control and Financial Reporting teams. You will 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. Baillie Gifford has a geographic spread of corporate entities and you will gain exposure to their unique reporting requirements.Client Administration
You’ll take on an Assistant Client Administrator role, which involves the management and support to a portfolio of clients. Responsibilities will include recording and reconciling transactions, compiling reports and invoicing.European Fund Operations & North American Fund Operations
You’ll complete a placement in both of these departments as an Assistant Fund Accountant. This involves checking quarterly client reporting, working with third party vendors and supporting internal departments to ensure effective service to shareholders.Investment Trust
This department provides accounting information and administrative services for Baillie Gifford's investment trusts. As a Trainee Investment Trust Accountant you will create reports, attend board meetings and complete regulatory and VAT returns.Additional placements
In order to gain the broadest possible experience of the business, between your longer-running placements you’ll also spend two weeks in other areas of the firm, shadowing business teams including Settlements, Internal Audit and Compliance.
“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 December.
During your placements you’ll have the ongoing support of your Training Principal, who will meet with you every eight weeks, and your placement host or ‘champion’, who is responsible for ensuring you settle into your new team and are on track with your ICAS competencies.
In the final year of the scheme, discussions with your Training Principal will become more tailored to your particular career goals. For example, you may have the chance to experience some leadership responsibilities and explore areas that interest you. Once you’ve achieved your CA qualification, you’ll be offered a permanent position within the firm. However, your development doesn’t stop there, as there’s the opportunity to broaden your career across different areas of our business.
Whether you've always wanted to be an accountant or if you've 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. 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 both our business and HR teams. We’ll discuss your academic and professional choices so far, as well as your own interests.
The final stage will dig a bit deeper. You’ll attend an assessment centre with other applicants, which will include a second interview, numerical test and group exercise. There’s also an opportunity to speak to those who have recently qualified and members of the teams you might join.
You get the opportunity to be involved in varied work at Baillie Gifford. My role as an accountant in the Finance department involves everything from projects to accounts preparation, forecasting and regulatory work. In my first year I sat within a Finance team looking after our US subsidiary, but I now sit within the European Funds Operations Department as a corporate accountant for the manager of our OEICs, investment trusts and Canadian pooled funds. There are plenty of opportunities to get involved in department-wide projects too. I was recently part of a project to update the accounting system used across finance.
I’ve really enjoyed developing and progressing through the firm. When I joined my current team five years ago there was only myself and my manager. Due to the continual growth of Baillie Gifford, our team has since doubled in size and I’m now a line manager, responsible for delegating and reviewing work. I’ve been encouraged to take on more responsibility, but always at my own pace. The whole process has felt very organic and has given me confidence in my skills and abilities.
Although already a chartered accountant, I had no experience of working in investment management before I joined Baillie Gifford. However, the firm sent me on a range of training courses and I’ve spent time with a variety of different teams, learning how everything fits together. I’ve had the opportunity to study for and achieve my Investment Operations Certificate (IOC), which was a great introduction to the industry. Even though I’ve been with the firm for nearly six years now, I still feel like I’m learning all the time. My role is constantly changing and developing, which keeps things interesting.
Many employees have been at the Baillie Gifford for a long time - this gives you a real sense of security. There’s also a great work-life balance here. In previous roles I’ve had there was an expectation to regularly work extra hours, but in my first couple of weeks at Baillie Gifford I was asked why I was still at my desk at 5.15pm! You’re expected to be focused and work hard, but you’re given realistic workloads and support to manage these within your working day. That’s so refreshing.
When I arrived at Baillie Gifford, the firm supported me to complete my Investment Operations Certificate, which was a great introduction to the investment management industry. As I completed my Chartered Accountant qualification at another firm, I didn’t even realise the role of ‘Fund Accountant’ existed, or what it entailed, so Baillie Gifford has shown me there are more opportunities out there.
My first role in the firm was as a Fund Accountant. A big part of the job is the preparation of interim and annual accounts for our 34 UK funds, in line with regulatory requirements. Because period ends are staggered, we’re always working on different accounts. The funds are varied with many different investments, so the role is always interesting.
Baillie Gifford really supports and encourages internal moves, so there’s lots of opportunity to take on new responsibilities and move into different areas. Until recently, I was a Fund Accounting Manager. This involves a great deal of responsibility, such as signing of the prices that clients are buying and selling at. Another part of my remit was representing the UK funds on the Global Tax Review Group and I also managed our Business Operations Graduate Programme for nearly four years. Recently I moved to a completely new role as Investment Department Training Manager, working with graduate trainees and experienced investors alike.
The world of Fund Accounting is very different from that of Corporate Accounting, partly because of FCA regulation. There’s plenty to learn and I had to get to grips with a lot of new terminology. The training I received really helped to build my knowledge, and I also had the opportunity to attend an ‘Introduction to Fund Accounting’ course in London, which was very beneficial.
I was attracted by the accountancy traineeship role because of the varied range of work that it offered. And that’s proved to be true, as so far, I’ve worked in both Corporate and Fund Accounting roles in the Finance and North American Fund Operations teams. I’ve also had the chance to spend time working on secondment in the Internal Audit, Compliance and Client Administration departments, where I was exposed to live, client-facing work. It’s been really useful to understand what different teams do and to gain some insight into the wider business.
When I was studying for my accountancy qualification, Baillie Gifford organised course tutors and we were given plenty of time for revision before our exams. My managers were really supportive, helping me to structure my workload around my revision. The recently qualified graduates in the firm were also on hand to give me their guidance and my mentors, from various disciplines, were always willing to act as sounding boards for my ideas.
As well as studying for my accountancy exams, I’ve also had the opportunity to do more general training and have been on various courses for presentation skills, networking skills and time management. My role involves presenting financial data to people around the business, so the presentation courses were especially helpful!
I’m really pleased with my progress within the company so far. I’ve just been offered a line management position, which has come quite early in my career. I’ll be managing two people in the Finance team and, looking further ahead, I can see so many different opportunities in the company, working for a variety of different teams. It’s definitely a place that nurtures you, and there’s a real sense of camaraderie amongst my fellow graduates from across the organisation.
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 that they offered graduate trainee accountancy contracts, I was immediately interested. I didn’t realise that an Investment Management firm would offer accountancy training. I did some more research and the culture within the firm sounded really appealing, so I decided to go for it.
I applied to a number of other large accountancy firms, but the process seemed far more personal at Baillie Gifford. With Baillie Gifford, it’s different. The process was far more welcoming and I was interviewed by a person that I would go on to work with. With many of the larger firms, trainees move on after qualification, but I was encouraged to discover that the staff turnover at Baillie Gifford is very low. To me, this shows that they really look after their people.
My work on the programme has been very varied. One of my training projects was to look at different aspects of setting up a new entity in Shanghai, including putting together a business licence, preparing cashflow, estimating a five-year budget and creating a business plan for the regulator. This has helped me to really understand what’s involved in setting up a business. I’m also responsible for regulatory and financial reporting of our European businesses in Ireland, Germany and Switzerland. Since qualifying, I’ve been able to really take the lead on projects, chairing meetings and taking questions, which I think shows a clear progression in my skills.
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 has even 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!
After studying Electronics at Edinburgh University and working in semi-conductor design for a few years, I realised I wanted to broaden my horizons. That’s when I started to explore accountancy, which gives you a wide understanding of business and finance. I qualified as a Chartered Accountant and, after a six-month secondment with Baillie Gifford, I applied for a permanent position.
The structure of the Finance Department here is appealing. It means that you get a really varied set of challenges. I’ve worked as a Risk Officer and also as a Financial Controller for one of the firm’s subsidiary companies, managing the accounts as the company was set up and during its first year of business. So getting that first year of accounts signed off was very rewarding!
If you’re interested in opportunities at Baillie Gifford then, to an extent, the onus is on you to explore this. You always have plenty of support from your line manager, but the company encourages self-driven development and ongoing career discussions. It’s up to you to drive your career forward in the way that you want. Training is encouraged and managers will always listen if you approach them about a training course that you think is interesting and valid.
You shouldn’t be put off if you don’t have an accountancy, or even a numerical, degree. I’ve found that what matters is the desire to learn and a willingness to take advantage of the variety of opportunities available. Often, the job is not about accountancy at all, but about advising. For example, one of my colleagues is an expert on regulatory requirements and advises the firm on how these should be interpreted. It’s really important to have an open mind about your role and to be willing to take on different challenges.