A positive and productive year at Proserv
“My time at Proserv has helped me realise I want to pursue accountancy as a career path after university and to undertake my chartered accountancy exams, so it has been a highly influential experience for me.”Chloe Chapman
People Stories: Chloe Chapman, Finance Placement Student
Last August, Chloe Chapman, currently a student at Robert Gordon University, joined our finance team at our corporate headquarters in Westhill, Aberdeen for a one-year placement. Chloe tells us about her time at Proserv and how it has helped her gain new skills and experience, as well as guiding her future career choices.
How did you come to spend your placement year at Proserv and what were your expectations before starting?
I had completed the second year of my accounting and finance degree at Robert Gordon University (RGU) in Aberdeen and I needed to find and secure a suitable one-year placement. Proserv was advertising a student opening on the InPlace platform and I was attracted by the opportunity available. So, I submitted my application and was interviewed by Steven McCreery and Nicola Runcie, two managers within the finance function. I had a really positive feeling about Proserv afterwards, so when I was told a week later that I had been selected, I was excited about getting started.
My goal when I arrived last August was quite simple: to learn. Not just about the process and methods of a globally facing finance function but to become familiar with the dynamics of working in a team within an office environment to benefit me after I graduate. Proserv has represented a fantastic experience. I have learned something new every single day, I have been so welcomed into the team and the company has a great culture and set of values.
What tasks have you been performing within the finance team and has the experience broadened your knowledge and skill set?
Before I joined, I assumed that I would probably be undertaking quite repetitive tasks day-to-day, but I have been given some quite challenging responsibilities and this has been very constructive. It has expanded and transferred my knowledge from university into real-life situations. I have been able to take text book theories from my studies at RGU and apply them into actual examples of accounting and finance.
Proserv has given me such a wide exposure to a variety of different accounting tasks that I feel I have learned so much here. I have worked with the tax team, the accounting team, the Accounts Payable team, as just a few examples.
Equally, the support I have received from Steven and Kriss Melvin, within my immediate team, has been very valuable as they are always on hand and available to give guidance whenever I have taken on a new challenge and needed any advice, and that is vital when anyone is learning new skills.
Proserv follows a clear set of values, with supporting your colleagues and good communication integral within those, and I have seen how the whole finance team reflects this philosophy.
My time at Proserv has helped me realise I want to pursue accountancy as a career path after university and to undertake my chartered accountancy exams, so it has been a highly influential experience for me.
Now that your year is coming to an end, what are your immediate plans and what advice would you give to other students embarking on a placement, either at Proserv or elsewhere?
I have thoroughly enjoyed this past year at Proserv and so I am going to continue on a part-time basis, two days a week, with the rest of my time back at RGU. I would then like to study for my chartered accountancy exams after I graduate, but completing my undergraduate degree is my focus for now.
For anyone joining Proserv, be that another student on a placement like me or someone new to the permanent team, I would say the company has such a positive and vibrant culture.
For instance, there is a great social connection within the various teams at the Westhill HQ where I am based and this helped me get to know people so easily. Just two weeks after I joined, I took part in an organised ten-kilometre run with the CEO Davis Larssen one of the keenest participants! This was part of a global drive to encourage healthier habits as the world was still gradually emerging from the impact of the pandemic and the challenge of regular lockdowns.
I have also benefitted from taking part in Proserv’s mentoring programme. Again, personal development is an inherent component of Proserv’s identity at all levels of the company, and any new starter can access this valuable resource to extend their learning and gain insights from experienced senior colleagues.
More generally, I would say to any student about to start a year’s placement at a company – make the most of every moment. Be completely open to learning, not just from any new tasks and challenges, but also from not being afraid to make mistakes – these can be constructive regarding building your knowledge and new skills.