Life at The Lead Agency: Meet Finance Assistant Joanna Walmsley Finance assistant Joanna Walmsley joined The Lead Agency straight from sixth form three years ago and is on her way to becoming AAT qualified. Here, she tells us about her time at TLA so far. What were your first impressions of The Lead Agency? Really positive! When I started here everyone was so lovely and welcoming. The team made it really easy for me to fit in, despite how shy I was to begin with. What lead you to this role? I’d worked in a shop for a little while once I had finished school and was ready to move on, but I knew that University wasn’t the right option for me. So, I decided to look into apprenticeships. I started at TLA doing a general apprenticeship in financing that required an industry work placement. Three years later, the company has given me the opportunity to sit my AAT exams and develop a career in finance. I will finish my current qualification in September, after which I hope to complete the final year to become AAT qualified (Association of Accounting Technicians). What three words would you use to describe your role? Challenging but interesting! It can be stressful at times, but I genuinely enjoy it. What sort of responsibilities does your job involve? I look after the cash-flows, invoicing, and many other day-to-day tasks. My role also includes other responsibilities such as looking after the payroll – basically keeping everyone happy by making sure they’re all paid on time! How have you found balancing studying with your full-time position? It’s hard at times when I have an exam coming up as I put a lot of pressure on myself to balance work and studying. When I have an exam coming up, our financial controller Sam Reaney ensures that my day-to-day tasks include areas that I will be tested on in the exam. That’s really helpful as I can learn in the role and understand it before I even begin my online classroom time! What would you say to others that are thinking about doing an apprenticeship like this one? Do you have any advice? If it’s what you really want to do, go for it! It takes dedication, but it’s worth it. Have you been able to take on more responsibilities and progress within the business? If so, what? Yes, definitely. I’ve progressed a lot whilst working here. At school I was good at maths and thought I would do well working in finance, but when I started working here I knew literally nothing about finance or accounting. Step-by-step, I’m handling more responsibilities and that means I’m always facing new challenges. I’ve learnt everything I know about finance by working here alongside Sam, and I’m really grateful for that. TLA invested in me as an 18-year-old and gave me a great opportunity. Since then, I have grown so much, both as a person and in the workplace. What’s the culture like at TLA and within the team? I love it! Everyone is welcoming, sociable, friendly and supportive too. It’s a lovely place to work. I like how chilled out it can be, we all make sure that we get our work done but we laugh along the way and make sure to enjoy ourselves. We’re hiring! To find out more about our career opportunities, visit our careers page.