My Story

From trainee to partner: Jon's story

When Jon joined BKL as a school leaver, he was already studying for an AAT accountancy qualification. Ten years later, he became our youngest partner. In 2019, he achieved 3rd place in Accountancy Age 35 Under 35 rankings.

While Jon’s client work focuses on the financial services sector, he also oversees the firm’s assurance service, as well as supporting the trainees following in his footsteps.

Finding my way here

I decided to leave school at 18 despite being offered places at university. I had made the decision I wanted to become an accountant and found out about the AAT Fast Track route as it was called at the time, which suited me better as I could learn practically whilst on the job alongside the theory. I started studying the first level myself before I had found employment.

After qualifying in AAT and then ACA, I continued to gain audit experience, including the majority of BKL’s largest clients.  Understanding the issues that businesses face, and the importance of supporting their people through these challenges, gave me skills and instincts I needed to progess in my career: when I became a BKL partner at the age of 29, I was ready.

But it was never about ‘making it’ to partner level and then sitting back. I’m continuing my professional growth: my most recent qualification was the Diploma in Company Direction in 2018. I’m also developing my interest in, and work with, entrepreneurs in blockchain and other fintech areas.

  • Joined in 2004
  • Manager in 2012
  • Partner in 2014

Trust, support, growth

Like a lot of trainees who end up choosing BKL, I had initially applied to larger firms in the City of London. After talking to some of their existing trainees during the recruitment process, I felt a medium sized firm would be better for me, allowing greater exposure to more experienced senior colleagues as well as clients at an early stage. So I looked to BKL, knowing that what I really craved was responsibility as early in my career as possible.

At the BKL assessment day, I got to meet range of people in the firm, including existing trainees like Myfanwy Neville, now also a partner here. Everyone was extremely friendly and genuine, which gave me confidence that I’d be joining a team where honesty and learning opportunities were priorities.

BKL’s people, as well as motivating me to join, have motivated me to stay. Even now as a senior colleague, I still have the opportunity to continue learning, developing and growing as a professional. It has also led to me being responsible for the progress and development of colleagues which is challenging but extremely rewarding.

Challenges and rewards

What makes BKL such a good place to work is how I’ve been supported not just professionally but personally. It’s helped me appreciate the importance of being open, honest and genuine with people. The key to making a firm work effectively is all based on trust, being comfortable in both giving constructive feedback and also receiving feedback about yourself. I’m especially proud of the importance given to wellbeing here: supporting people who aren’t feeling their best and making sure we face challenges together.

And even though some days are more challenging than others, I always find a reason to smile. It’s great being able to guide a client through a problem and help them reach a solution or take advantage of an opportunity. It is also rewarding watching colleagues grow and moving to different levels of thinking as they progress through their careers: knowing, from my own experience, the rewarding journeys ahead of them.


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