How did you start out in your career?
My choice for a career in finance started during Year 11 work experience week at High School which I completed at an accountancy firm and found really interesting. It led me to study Accounts at A-level which I also enjoyed therefore confirming that it would be a suitable subject to study at University. I specifically chose a combined degree of Accounting and financial management to ensure I gained knowledge across a breadth of areas.
Why did you choose to study CIMA?
By working at both an accountancy practice and in industry whilst studying my degree I found that industry appealed to me more. CIMA complimented the path I had chosen due to the variety of topics covered by the professional institute. Not to mention that most of the finance department was CIMA qualified!
How has your organisation supported you through your CIMA studies?
Babcock International Group sponsors you to become a management chartered accountant, so not only do they give you financial support in order to complete the exams but also the experience you gain along the way is relevant to getting that status. Therefore at the end of the graduate scheme you can become a chartered accountant who has gained experience in areas of your choice across a number of divisions and business units.
Tell us about your current role and what’s great about working for your company.
Currently I am working at the business unit headquarters which differs to previous roles I have completed as part of the graduate scheme as I am based on site with the customer. Babcock ensures its finance graduates rotate across the company due to the range of services it provides ensuring each individual gains a breadth of experience. Working in the defence industry is exciting and challenging. I am involved in a range of ongoing projects so no day is the same, as a result variety and the nature of the work I do is what makes my current role so different.
How do you see CIMA contributing to your future career progression?
It’s a door opener - CIMA is a globally recognised institute which means that as a member I can continue to work in finance in a number of locations and will hold a qualification that is recognised across the world. It’s common to see job specifications stating minimum requirements to be CIMA qualified. By gaining the CIMA designatory letters it informs employers that I have gained knowledge on certain areas through passing examinations and obtained a specific level of experience to become accredited.
Do people have any misconceptions about your role and your profession in general?
Generally some may consider the accounting profession and the role of a management accountant to be repetitive and boring however my role has been the exact opposite. Management accounting is not all about number crunching and driving spreadsheets and the CIMA qualification can act as a basis for variety allowing CIMA professionals to assist and manage in departments other than finance.
What advice would you give to anyone thinking of studying towards the CIMA qualification?
Due to the recent changes in examinations it would be worthwhile doing some research initially. As finance develops within organisations CIMA also aims to evolve, hence the change in examinations and the proposed changes in experience requirements. I would also suggest that they keep a healthy work, study and social life as it can be easy for revision to take over free time.
What’s next for you?
After submitting my experience log I will be focusing on progressing within Babcock as it continues to successfully grow in both the UK and overseas. I am sure there will be an opportunity for fellowship accreditation in the near future too.
If CIMA was a holiday destination where would it be and why?
New York as it’s a well-known city which has a good reputation for providing opportunities and has a friendly community.