Meet Laura Forsyth - Trainee Accountant
One of the best things about my role is…
Being given the space to take responsibility for my own workload and time. I have worked in previous roles where my manager would be constantly involved in my work, to an extent that it became over-bearing. Having worked in more than one role here I can say that this just does not happen at LPF. Managers are obviously here to help when needed and are kept as up to date as is required but I am able to plan and carry out my own work without interference.
What are the biggest challenges facing the pensions industry?
Aside from the obvious political issues that are impacting financial markets, specifically in the local government pension industry in Scotland the biggest challenge is what the outcome of the current consultation regarding potential merging of the pension funds will be and what impact it will have on the funds. There is also ongoing uncertainty on how the outcome of the McCloud case will impact the local government pension scheme overall. For the accounts team our current challenge (along with all the normal day-to-day challenges!) is the implementation of a new investment front office system and dealing with the various changes to our work that it will bring.
Take us back to your early life, your aspirations and how you got into accountancy.
At school Accounting & Finance was one of the subjects I was best at and was one that I enjoyed. I went to university and studied Psychology as it fascinated me, with a view to joining a graduate scheme to move into accounting afterwards. Unfortunately I graduated in the midst of the last recession and so in order to enhance my job prospects I studied for a Masters in Accounting & Finance, and soon after graduating I applied to be a Trainee Pensions Administrator with LPF to gain experience in the financial sector. Luckily for me just as I was coming to the end of my pensions administration training LPF began a recruitment exercise for a Graduate Trainee Accountant. I leapt at the chance to not only move into my intended career but to stay at an organisation I enjoyed working for. I applied and was offered the job and am now just one exam away from being a qualified accountant.
What have been your main challenges in your role, and how close do you feel you are to solving them?
A real challenge in my role has been completing my ACCA qualification alongside my day-to-day work. I’m very lucky that LPF allow me to take weekday classes for the exams (I’ve met lots of people at the classes that have to take annual leave or take weekend classes) but there is still a significant amount of studying to be done outwith the classes, particularly as I have progressed to the more challenging levels of the qualification. This problem is almost solved as I have almost completed the qualification! The other main challenge in my role has been increasing my knowledge of the more investment based side of my work. As I started working in LPF as a pensions administrator I came into my current role with a fair amount of knowledge of what the accounts team does in relation to the pensions side of things, but my investments knowledge was more limited. I wouldn’t like to say that this is close to being solved as there is always more to learn, but I am much more comfortable with this side of my role now with two and a half years experience under my belt.
What do you do (in no more than three words)?
Pay the pensions!