Degree: Economic and Business Finance (Brunel University)
Job title: Investor Relations Manager, Barclays Plc
What was your first job? I did some contract work in an investment bank, and whilst it gave me a great insight into the workings of a successful business, there was no formal qualification I could take and no real career progression. I looked at several alternatives and spoke to friends and family about possible options. Chartered accountancy and specifically studying for the ACA appeared to be the best option because it is a world-class business qualification with a huge array of career options available once qualified.
How did you chose where to do your accountancy training? I specifically chose a medium-sized accountancy practice, Baker Tilly, in which to train for the ACA as I wanted to have the opportunity of being involved with both smaller and larger clients in a range of business sectors. I was also keen to interact with a range of individuals from the book-keepers right through to Managing Director level which working at a mid-sized firm allowed me to achieve.
What did you do on qualification? I took some time out to travel abroad once I qualified, and having the ACA behind me gave me the security and confidence that I would be able to come back to England and get a good job.
Where do you work now? I joined Barclays in 2004 and have had the opportunity to be involved in a number of roles within finance since. Most recently I moved into the Finance Control team in November last year, working within the head office finance function. Within Barclays Financial Control I am one of the Business Relationship Partners working with Barclays Capital, the investment banking arm of the Bank. This has involved working closely with Barclays Capital to ensure that the reporting of their business within the Group numbers is accurate. Although it sounds simple there is plenty of work involved including; fact finding, validating statistics and figures, contextualising the statistics of the business and ensuring smooth communication between the finance teams in the business and the group centre.
As part of my role, I have also been making use of some exciting new technology. Microsoft Sharepoint has helped our team to communicate more effectively with other internal business units, reducing the administration time and paperwork involved in our work and enabling us to provide communications with greater added value. Ultimately it is helping the team deliver a better service to our stakeholders.
Tell us what you work you have been involved with: One of the big projects I have been involved with was the transition to IFRS culminating in the 2005 Barclays Annual Report, which I have recently finished working on. It has been one of the most interesting areas I have worked on as well as one of the most challenging. We had to follow new processes and procedures, understand and communicate the practical application of the many new disclosure requirements, while working to some tight deadlines. I received great support from the Barclays Finance Academy, including comprehensive IFRS training which helped me develop the skills and technical knowledge required. It has taken a few months of dedicated work and new learning, but the end result looks great and I’m really proud of what myself and the team have achieved. I love the challenge and the fact that Barclays enables me to work in a dynamic and fast-paced environment full of great people.
I chose to mentor a student currently studying at my old University, Brunel. This allows me to give something back to my University, help others and in turn allows me to develop some new skills as part of my continuing personal and professional development.
What advice would you have for people considering the accountancy profession? My advice to those thinking of becoming an ACA would be to consider all your options carefully – you don’t necessarily have to train for the ACA in an accountancy practice, in fact there are some great opportunities available outside of practice and I am supporting a colleague studying here at Barclays. Having the ACA under my belt opened up the doors at the start of my career and it continues to do so.