What made you consider this career path following your studies?
I was unsure on which career path I wanted to follow when I began searching for roles. All I knew was that I loved numbers and wanted to utilise my degree.
Once I started reading into job descriptions more, I soon realised that the ones which excited me the most combined maths and technology, enhanced my employability, and offered plenty of opportunities for progression and expanding my knowledge.
The Finance Graduate role at Experian ticked all of these boxes, offering the chance to analyse numbers using a variety of systems, whilst simultaneously working towards becoming a qualified accountant through an apprenticeship, at an innovative multi-national company committed to growth and process improvement.
What does your day-to-day role involve?
In the Finance Team, we work in monthly cycles, so the work I do tends to change throughout the month. At the beginning of the month, we are focussed on ‘closing the books’ for the previous month and updating forecasts for the remainder of the financial year. The latter part of the month tends to be more project-focussed, working on process improvements and other tasks which don’t have strict deadlines.
The majority of my tasks involve variance analysis – looking at unexpected or large changes from month to month, or year to year, and finding the reasons why these changes have occurred – but there are plenty of other tasks too, such as posting journals, testing that controls are working effectively and loading data into our systems.
In my first year I have supported and lead a variety of projects, from automating labour-intensive processes to creating models which track and forecast some of our largest costs and have been able to see some of the positive impacts my work has had on the business.
Alongside the BAU (Business as Usual) tasks, I am studying for my CIMA qualification as an apprenticeship through Experian, so I have time set aside each week to complete learning and revision. There are also a whole host of training, networking and social events organised by the Finance and Early Careers Teams which are great ways to work on personal development, get your name out there and have fun!
What stood out about Experian and why did you apply?
Having completed my studies in Nottingham, I loved the city and wanted to stay in the area. Before applying I had used Experian to see my credit score but had no idea about the other (much larger) side of the business, developing technologies and products to help businesses and consumers alike.
Being such a large, global company means that Experian are able to offer plenty of opportunities for development, progression and sometimes international secondments, which really appealed to me. They were also offering the opportunity to become a Chartered Global Management Accountant as part of the role (for free!) which was a huge selling point.
How do you feel the Early Careers Development Programme has helped with your learning journey so far?
Having never worked in a ‘proper’ (9-5 office) job before, the Early Careers Development Programme has been the perfect steppingstone between studying and the ‘real’ world of work.
It offers opportunities to rotate through different areas of the business, so I can see where I feel most at home and offers support with all the things that can feel really daunting on your first day in a professional office environment.
Once you’re past those initial scary few weeks, which weren’t scary at all, the Early Careers Team provide a range of workshops and sessions to meet other Graduates, share experiences and develop soft skills. In particular, the Personality Workshops have been a great way to understand yourself, and the ways you work best, whilst also having opportunities to network, present to a small group and work in a team.
What has been a key achievement/stand out moment so far?
In my first rotation, I shadowed and supported a process which involves sending our OCF (Operating Cash Flow) position to senior members of the Global Finance Team. Before starting at Experian, I had never even heard of Operating Cash Flow, but within a few months I was able to understand the process and investigate certain variances, speaking to colleagues across the business to understand the changes.
When a colleague was unexpectedly out of office, I was trusted to lead the process, looking into some unexpected movements, and providing a high-level summary to senior stakeholders, despite not even being 6 months into my time at Experian. It was nerve-wracking but felt empowering that my line manager believed in me and my ability.
What's one thing you now know/ like about Experian that you didn't expect before you started?
How amazing the culture is. Everyone who I have met and worked with has been so friendly and supportive from day 1, always there to help you if you are struggling, support you with development opportunities or just to have a chat! The company as a whole is extremely flexible and employee-centred, with the focus being on the quality of work, not how or where you do it.
Why did you pick an apprenticeship over other higher education study routes?
The CIMA qualification I am studying as part of the apprenticeship is a Level 7 qualification, which means I had to have already completed a degree, which I did at university. I chose to continue studying on an apprenticeship because I love learning new things and deepening my understanding. This programme offered a unique opportunity to gain an additional qualification and boost my employability without having to pay for it and being given time during working hours to study and sit exams.