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The newest member of the Merlin team, Nikola Szymkowiak, has well and truly got her feet under the table since joining Giles and Karen at Merlin’s Exeter HQ. So, let’s get to introducing her…

Name: Nikola Natalia Szymkowiak
Role: Accounts Assistant Apprentice
Duration: Since January 2023

Q. Tell us a bit about yourself?

I am Nikola and I joined the Merlin team in early January (2023) to undertake an accountancy apprenticeship.

I was born in Poland, but moved with my parents to England when I was four years old. Growing up in a Polish house in England, has given me the gift of bilingualism – I can speak both Polish and English fluently.

Attending schools in the UK, I applied myself and strived to be successful in my academics, and I felt accomplished when I scored well in my assessments and exams. The drive to do well and to better myself pushed me to pursue professional skills from a young age. I’ve gained various experience in different sectors including hospitality, customer service, and business administration.

Now six months into my accounts assistant apprentice role, the skillset I have developed over the past few years is expanding in new ways. And I feel that what I’m gaining from the role, the team, and our clients is benefiting me on both a professional and personal level.

Q. What does the working day look like for you?

Each day starts off with a sip of my morning cup of tea – never underestimate the power of the morning ritual – then I get on with reading my checklist. There are the daily tasks like email management, transaction allocation, and diary planning, as well as regular client visits. However, as an apprentice, every day is truly unique for me as there’s always something new to learn.

Q. What do you enjoy best about your job?

Working with different personalities is what I enjoy best – it’s nice to work with a range of people who have different ideas and aspirations for their businesses. I love supporting our clients on their financial journeys and helping them achieve their goals and a better work/life balance.

Q. What are your aspirations?

I want to become a fully qualified accountant and take my academic journey to the next level. I’ve just (June) passed my first Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) exam which goes towards my apprenticeship.

In the future, I’d like to undertake further qualifications and focus on building mentorship skills; I think being in an educational/mentorship role within the accountancy sector would be fulfilling.

On a more personal level, I’d love to travel and be able to experience the different cultures and communities of the world.

Q. What opportunities have you benefited from?

I guess the biggest opportunity – so far – is the apprenticeship. I love learning about all of our clients and their unique businesses, it makes my work experience much more exciting.

Giles and Karen are always there to lend me a helping hand, and although I’m also learning through college, I must admit that I am learning so much more at Merlin. And it’s all thanks to Karen, she is an outstanding teacher.

Q. What’s the best thing about working in the sector?

The best thing about working within the finance sector is the insight you have to the range of opportunities businesses have, as well as what different businesses prioritise. I am constantly learning as accounting is always changing with new technologies and processes.

Q. What are your interests and hobbies outside of work?

I enjoy long walks with my friends in the summer – embracing nature and a positive mindset. It really helps me to clear my head and reset for the week ahead of me.

Quick fire

What’s your favourite drink? Any fruity cocktail!
What’s your favourite place? My favourite place isn’t really a place, it’s whenever and wherever I am with my best friend.
What gets you through a tough day? The thought that there are always people experiencing worse – a bad day is not a bad life.
What’s the weirdest thing on your desk? A big bag of Hamburger Cheetos
Tell us something few people know about you… I’m fluent in Polish and English


To find out more about our approach to helping clients achieve their goals, please contact us on 01392 272972 or email

No question is too small, it’s what we are here for, our clients say that it’s useful to have a numerate friend prodding their thinking, especially one who understands the issues. You will find us a good fit if you’re looking for an accountant as an investment – rather than just a cost.

Nikola Szymkowiak enjoys travel when she isn't helping Merlin clients achieve financial freedom

Tel: 01392 272972 Email: