Dear Future Accountant - Lee Manning's Story

Monday 25 October 2021

Written by Lee Manning

Dear Future Accountant - Lee Manning's Story

Dear Future Accountant,

Many years have flown by since I first started my career as an Accountant, I feel that it would be good to reflect on my journey from where I started and look at where I am today.

When I was younger my dream was, surprisingly, not to be an accountant. My big dream was to be a police dog handler, however, my stepdad persuaded me not to get into the profession. That decision left me to figure out what else I was good at. 

I did my O levels and that already makes me feel old, O levels aren’t even a thing anymore, but I was studying accounts and commerce, and this opened my eyes to accounting. I hated accounts at first, but as soon as I started to understand them, the rest was history. I did well at school, finished with A grades, and then moved on to college where I studied business studies and finished with a distinction. I didn’t bother with university, looking back, university wasn’t popular then. 

Once I left college, I went to work for a small accountancy firm in Holborn, where I studied alongside working in practice. I hated those three months at Holborn, studying and taking the tube constantly but being in London town was a huge benefit. Becoming an accountant was a lot of hard work, a lot of studying, and a lot of time but I am glad I put those hours in because I qualified quickly. 

Fast forward to age 22 and I’m a qualified accountant working for Raffingers, where I still am today as one of the eleven partners. 

The AAT qualification is a great choice to see if you like the profession. If that all goes well then you can move on to the ACCA qualification. Being an accountant is more than numbers, it’s about your personality and the way you communicate. Many people to this day think I’m a maths genius just because I’m an accountant but to be a great accountant yes, you should be able to add up numbers, but you should also know how to use excel well, have great communication skills, and be a team player. I’ve been in my job a long time, and the most rewarding thing is that every day is different and, I get the opportunity to change people’s lives through my advice. Being an accountant does get a stigma that we are boring. Accountants aren’t boring, we are far from that, people who claim this stereotype should see our Christmas parties, they’re always a knockout!

From when I started, the industry is hardly recognisable. I would say that being an accountant has made me see the world change ten times faster because we constantly must be aware of new laws and legislation changes. I started when everything was manual, we used typewriters (those machines with a keyboard in the old movies) and computers were only used for payroll. It’s no surprise that the future of accountancy looks extremely digital.  

Back when I started, I would have never thought that I would be helping our marketing team and using IT so regularly, but I do. It is crazy to see that the world is constantly changing. One of our newer teams is the cloud accounting team that has become invaluable due to the changes in technology. They do everything we do but through cloud accounting software.

Working in a practice is something I enjoy, as I said, no day is the same. But if I enjoyed a routine then industry work would’ve been more suitable. Working for Raffingers and learning from peers has been an important part of my journey and for the young employees here it is important to observe the more senior members of staff and feed off our experiences, as this is not something you can study.  

To all the future accountants, if you are committed, willing to challenge yourself, keen to progress and want to help businesses then accountancy is for you.

Lee Manning,


Find out more about our culture, current vacancies and how you can join our team here. To hear the career journeys and gain advice from the other partners here at Raffingers please click here!

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