“I jumped straight in the deep end when I finished school at 16 – I had always been adamant that I wouldn’t go on to college or university, but instead work my way up the career ladder gaining qualifications on the way. Just two weeks after my school prom I had bagged an administration apprenticeship and started work at an insolvency firm.
I stayed there for two years after gaining my Level 2 apprenticeship, but had a sudden change of heart. I woke up one day and questioned if I wanted to be in an office for the rest of my life – so I left and began home to home care. The job was so rewarding and I absolutely loved spending time with the clients and building relationships, but one thing was certain – I missed the office!
That’s when I decided to take a look online to see what was about in the area and saw the Financial Administrator job advert for Para-Sols. I immediately knew this was perfect – the best of both worlds! Back to admin work, organising and doing what I loved, but with the social interaction, laid back atmosphere, and push to always better yourself (not forgetting the dogs in the office). If I’m being honest, I didn’t have the first clue about pensions or investments – but I decided to take the plunge and go for it, and I haven’t looked back since.
I was buddied up with an experienced co-worker and given full training on the basics of data gathering, pensions, and investments, and immediately knew this was going to be something I loved. My main role at Para-Sols is to collate information on client’s pensions and investments and to input this into spreadsheets and word documents for the paraplanner to then use in order to write the report. This can consist of ringing providers for further information, emailing to request documents, and speaking with the advisers directly to ensure that we gather the information in the most effective way. The data gathering team is a small bunch and we all have areas we’re more knowledgeable in, so we are always able to teach each other and help out.
Some cases aren’t straightforward and it may be that the paraplanner requires additional information in order to complete the report – it’s my job to get this. No two days are the same and the ever-evolving rules and regulations of finance mean you are constantly learning and moving with it. We are also now offering further admin services as a company, which is very exciting and means understanding even more of the processes involved in this area of finance. For me, that’s one of the best things about the company – not standing still – Para-Sols are ALWAYS looking to expand and grow and it’s an amazing thing to be a part of.
Although I had always wanted to work in finance – initially more on the accounting and bookkeeping side of things – it’s not been without its struggles. I loved Maths at school but it wasn’t the easiest of subjects for me as I have Dyscalculia (like dyslexia but with numbers). I think this contributes to my eye for detail, always checking my work to ensure its 100% correct.
When doing my Level 2 AAT in Bookkeeping the world of finance seemed very male driven – but this pushed me further into knowing that this was something I wanted to do and I wouldn’t be held back by stereotypes (I have two older brothers so I learned early not to just be pushed around).
If you’re thinking of taking the leap into finance I would urge you to, finance is nothing like you would expect it to be – so go find out for yourself! You won’t look back.”