You get the best of both worlds on national tax firm, Qubic's, brand new graduate programme: the big city atmosphere of London and a close-knit working environment in Newcastle.
Plus, thanks to thorough training and plenty of opportunity for professional development, you don't need a numerical degree to apply either.
But what does day-to-day life look like for a graduate at Qubic?
We spoke to two graduates, Peter and Emma, about their experience so far at Qubic and what it takes to succeed at the company.
Peter studied History at Northumbria University and now works as a Tax Associate at Qubic. At first, Peter was concerned that not having a background in numbers would hold him back.
"I wasn't sure how relevant my degree was going to be; History and Tax aren't particularly similar," he tells us.
However, he soon discovered that the abilities gained from his degree, to digest and analyse vast amounts of data as well as to write competently, have proven useful in the role. He's also not the only History graduate in the company. "Funnily enough, our Finance Director has also got a background in History," he says.
It was the varied nature of the programme that appealed to Peter. Describing his average working day, he explains: "It's never the same thing. I've got a caseload of clients that I deal with directly, so I prepare paperwork for the client and assist with any queries. But you never know who's going to ring or send you an email."
"When you first start there's rigorous training to make sure you're in a position where any query can come your way and you'll be able to handle it effectively and to a good standard"
Emma studied Maths at the University of Newcastle before joining Qubic a few months ago. Although, like Peter, Emma has no previous experience in tax, she praises the thorough and ongoing support she's received from day one for getting her tax career at Qubic off to a strong start.
"When you first start there's rigorous training to make sure you're in a position where any query can come your way and you'll be able to handle it effectively and to a good standard," Emma tells us. "There's never going to be moment where there won't be anyone to help - we're a small firm so if I do have any queries I just turn around in my chair and ask Peter," she adds.
Being part of a small company is something that both Peter and Emma really value about Qubic. “We’ve got a fairly small office and we have a lot of back and forth with people talking across the office,” Peter tells us.
This close-knit atmosphere lends itself to a working environment that relies on teamwork and chipping in wherever you can. “We’ve had people in other departments come and help us in my department as and when it’s busy. In the past I’ve helped Marketing and I’ve been at graduate fairs.”
"I sit opposite one of the Associate Directors, we work closely on a day-to-day basis"
It also means that Peter and Emma work closely with the company’s directors at a very early stage in their career, an opportunity that’s often rare at larger organisations. “I sit opposite one of the Associate Directors, we work closely on a day-to-day basis – I’ve taken some of his clients as he’s moved into other things,” Peter explains.
Emma notes that working with director level staff motivates her to create work she’s really proud of: “Some adhoc tasks are coming from the Director so producing work that you’d be proud to show them is important.”
Whilst Peter and Emma are based in Newcastle for the programme, they make the most of Qubic’s London office in the Gherkin building too. “It’s nice to go down to the Gherkin every so often and see the guys down there – we’ll go for a drink in the restaurant at the top of the Gherkin and then go out to various other social events,” Peter explains.
“We’ve also done events like The Cube where we go down [to London] and do team building exercises…we’ve done the Crystal Maze, an Escape Room, quarterly events where people in both offices have the chance to socialise together,” Emma explains.
Qubic make sure their graduates are rewarded for their hard work when they’re up in Newcastle too. “I do enjoy the team lunches on the last Friday of every month. The office pays for us to have lunch together, whether that be pizza, or Nandos, or a burrito,” Peter tells us. “Dress down Fridays are always appreciated too, only having to do four shirts in a week is definitely better than five.”
"You're going to be working closely alongside people...it's important to be friendly and build good relationships both internally and externally early on"
When asked what skills they think are important to succeed at Qubic, Peter says, “Confident communication skills – I think that’s really important [in order] to have a relationship with a client.” Emma also notes the importance of teamwork at Qubic: “You’re going to be working closely alongside people…it’s important to be friendly and build good relationships both internally and externally early on.”
To finish, we asked Peter and Emma what advice they’d offer graduates intending to apply for the programme. Peter says, “The most important thing is to stand out as a person. People who’ve lasted a particularly long time here and thrived have the tendency to not just be a great candidate on paper but are able to put their reasons across as to why, and be quite sociable.” Emma agrees: "I think it goes a long way to get on with the people you're talking to and to show passion, especially for the work. [Also] showing that willingness to learn and help out in any way – I think that will take you far.”