Journey to Partner – Caryl King’s story

Journey to Partner - Caryl King celebrates promotion

Journey to Partner – Caryl King’s story

After her recent promotion, Caryl King shares her story and advice she’s learnt throughout her career journey to Partner.

Joining in 2008 to start the audit training programme, Caryl’s path at Wilder Coe spans nearly 14 years.

Although Caryl’s degree from the University of York is in Economics and Finance, becoming a chartered accountant wasn’t always her goal.

“I always knew I wanted to work in either finance or law. However, after shadowing at a crown court during a work placement, I realised that that path was not for me. There were lots of options available to me and, through talking with different people, it was only at the end of my degree that I decided to choose the accountancy route.”

Previously working in a close-knit finance department, Caryl always knew she wanted to work in an organisation that wasn’t too big with the right environment.

“What made me choose Wilder Coe was the interview that I had, which was with one of our current Audit Partners, Chris Gent and a colleague who’s now left. She bought the wrong CV for the interview, which broke the ice, and it was just fun. After chatting to other trainees and getting a tour of the building, I came away with a positive feeling and knew then that Wilder Coe was where I want to work.”

The challenges of training

Joining Wilder Coe for the three-year audit training contract, Caryl reflects that having a supportive set of seniors to lean into helped her confidence and personal development.

“The partners and managers are approachable, and so generally, I felt like I knew quite a lot of people across the organisation, which helped to feel part of the team.

Communication is an essential skill I have learned during my training. As a trainee, you believe that the biggest challenge is learning the technical aspects of the role, and whilst that’s true, that comes naturally with doing exams and through practical work experience. Communication is an area that is challenged throughout your training contract, as you work with a wide variety of people and clients.”

“I think that everyone who goes through the ACA hits a wall at some point, usually in their second year. It’s a training contract, and there are development and training implications. It is supposed to be tough.

As everyone has been through that themselves, you’re talking to people having experienced the same things. Really listening to their advice and moving forward helps build your resilience.”

Moving to manager

Qualifying as a Chartered Accountant in 2010, Caryl moved into supervisor and manager roles taking on a varied client portfolio. Caryl found opportunities that allowed her to get involved in other initiatives across the firm, including staff development and technology projects.

As a manager, it is the first time you are in a role with a lot of personal responsibility, especially with your clients.

Learning your boundaries is a big lesson in management. When you show you are capable, you receive more work. It can be overwhelming, and you need to learn at what point to say, “No, I can’t do all of this and be effective at all I do.”

Don’t be afraid to use the support networks and relationships around you, which, as a firm, is where Wilder Coe excels. I genuinely appreciate the help and guidance from my peers over the years. “

Journey to Partner

Wilder Coe’s Partnership Development Programme helped Caryl understand the larger business picture and consider the whole firm.

“As you step up and become more senior, you learn risk awareness. Understanding how the firm works and strengthening relationships across departments to provide the best overall service to clients has been a big learning curve.

If you look at my background over the past 14 years, it’s not one specific area that I enjoy. My portfolio is very general and varied. I relish the variety of lots of different disciplines.”

Achieving goals

Caryl’s focus is the technology and looking at how best to leverage the tech available to streamline internal processes to enhance the quality of audit work for the industry. Especially in terms of the final product for our clients.

“What I love most is working with people towards a common goal. I’m passionate about helping others achieve their goals, this could be facilitating clients to achieve their objectives, streamlining firm processes or guiding our team to meet their aspirations.

It is all about working with people. Honestly, this is the future of accountancy.”

As an ATOL-licensed practitioner, Caryl will also look at helping the travel industry in Wilder Coe’s latest specialist business area.

“I think the professional, proactive service we provide at Wilder Coe is an exceptional strength of ours.  It’s designed with the needs of our clients in mind, and we have a strong background in compliance and understanding regulatory matters.”

Aspiring others

As Audit Partner, Caryl has gained valuable experience over the years and wants to help those taking the same steps to achieve their aspirations.

“Something I always say to trainees is to ask questions. Ask lots of questions and, don’t worry if you think they are silly questions, ask them anyway. It’s the only way you learn, and remember, you always have a support system in place if you struggle.

Don’t be afraid to challenge and push yourself. Don’t forget the soft skills either! Technical knowledge comes with time, so focus on developing your soft skills as this helps build essential relationships.”

“For professionals in a management position, make the most of the opportunities that come to you but learn your boundaries and don’t be afraid to say no. Again, be aware of the support that is around you, develop strong peer relationships as they are the people who will help you work towards your goals.”

Has Caryl’s journey to Partner inspired you to step into the accountancy industry? Look at our current vacancies.

Are you moving forward in your professional career and want to find out about our Partnership Development Programme? Or want to expand your network with our Step: UP initiative?

You can either send Caryl an email or connect on LinkedIn.

Please get in touch with us if you have any questions.

Caryl King
Partner at Wilder Coe
Caryl is experienced in the fields of Audit and the preparation of financial statements, having worked with a variety of businesses across a large portfolio of clients.