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Post Info TOPIC: Career Advice and Next Steps


Newbie

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Career Advice and Next Steps


Hi All,

I'm after some career advice from the community, anything would be a great help.

I've been working in finance now for over 10 years, and I'm currently a Financial Controller and part of the senior management/board for a tech company. The company has grown from a 3m to 10m turnover in my time. I am the most senior Finance member of staff. I have an Accountancy Degree, and I am currently studying my CIMA exams. I have passed one so far (E1).

I love what I do and love where I work, but I have two none work related situations that have brought me to a crossroads, hence the reason for the post. The first is a recent health issue, having been diagnosed with Epilepsy, I had my first seizures over the last few months at 33, having never had any signs or symptoms previously. The second is my eldest child has a Severe Learning Disability which means he requires a high level of care and support. He is coming towards the end of primary school age, and I am conscious that he will require longer term support over the next 5-10 years and onwards.

All of this has brought a sort of lightbulb moment for me, and made me think about what I'm going to do long term.

Without blowing my own trumpet (something I don't like to do), I am well skilled in what I do, hence where I have got to so far, without doing my exams. I was a finalist of four in the North West Finance Director Awards 2019, and have developed a wide range of skills, having worked with and alongside some fantastic individuals throughout my career. I've built in depth financial models and presented to senior executives internally and externally (our bank's feedback on a our recent CBILS presentation was that it was the most impressive they had seen)

I have full faith and confidence in my abilities, I'm just unsure on what are the next steps for me, and where I go with the skillset I have developed. I think long term, I harbour desires of doing something on my own, whether that be financial/business consulting, bookkeeping, or something of that mold. I want to be able to do something that will allow me to give my eldest the best opportunities in his own life. Money is a nice to have, but its far from the most important thing to me, nor is it my biggest driver.

I'd be keen to get others thoughts on where I could potentially go next, any advice on whether CIMA is the best route for me, or whether I should look at other qualifications. Ideas on reading, podcasts, and other useful information. Or anybody who would be interested in being a mentor or adviser.

Thanks in advance

Sam



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Sam



Forum Moderator & Expert

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Hi Sam,

I taking it that you are prioritising the freedom of working for yourself over having more time. I work as a business consultant / data analyst / process improvement analyst on financial systems (there's a couple of dozen different job titles that are all basically the same thing) and it's quite common to be working 05:30 to 23:00 6-7 days a week but be paid on a professional working day basis for five days a week. The money is very good but you basically live the job which is not what you are looking for.

Companies tend to want you for 1 to 6 months to resolve their issues before training their own staff to use the improved processes and system before moving on. When IR35 is changed next April it is likely to make that way of working obsolete... Interestingly the one's set to gain from that are the larger management consultancy forms who were the one's who advised Tony Blaires Government when they came up with this crazy, punish anyone who shows initiative, legislation. The Conservatives promised to repeal this nonsense but sharing power initially with the libs it never happened.

I digress, for looking after your child bookkeeping is the more user friendly of those options but you still need to work around the needs of your clients. Generally thats not an issue but be aware that for many its not a nine to five type of mentality. And a for holidays, those become periods of enforced non payment. lol.

Cima, like ACCA is a life choice. Its not so much a qualifiation that you take but rather the person that you decide to become. If you speak with consultants the phrase is always "I'm Cima" or "I'm ACCA" it's not that they simply have the qualification they are the qualification. It really does take over your life that much. (Personally I'm ACCA).

For bookkeeping or small business accountancy a better option may be AAT which has a very practical focus and is a little less soul destroying than the advanced papers of the higher bodies. That said, achieving CIMA/ACCA does make a statement about your level and later in life it will open doors when you decide to the workplace. One nice thing about ACCA is that it can also lead to a Masters in Accountancy with one of the worlds top ten Uni's and since going back to consultancy I've found that opens more doors than the professional qualification which to some extent seems to have simply become expected of anyone applying for jobs in finance.

ACCA though can put severe restrictions on what you are allowed to do so if you looked at that path ensure that you understand the implications of regulation 8.

Sorry, no time to be a mentor or advisor but just keep postting questions here and one of us will respond.

kindest regards,

Shaun.




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Shaun

Responses are not meant as a substitute for professional advice. Answers are intended as outline only the advice of a qualified professional with access to all relevant information should be sought before acting on any response given.



Master Book-keeper

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Posts: 3600
Date:

Welcome to the forum Sam.

Can't help with any suggestions, but best wishes for whatever future path you go down.



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John

Any advice given is for general guidance and professional advice should be sought applicable to your circumstances.



Guru

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Posts: 653
Date:

Hi Sam,

I started (initially just) bookkeeping a mere 21 years ago for very similar reasons. At the time I had been working full time, had recently had a baby, and wanted control over my own time and flexibility to take time off around the needs of that child (who now has her own child!!). What I found was that unless you have a very clear and enforced plan of how you want to work, it can quickly absorb your whole life and every waking minute!

That aside, self employment has been the best decision I have ever made. I have been able to do lots of different things along the way and you may find a niche that you particularly enjoy for instance working in the charity sector, or temporary/fixed financial director positions, financial troubleshooting, adhoc management accounting positions etc. There will always be work for people who can do numbers.

Personally I've never had a desire to be chartered, I know many see it as the holy grail, and Shaun is not wrong when he says it can open some doors. I've taken clients from many chartered firms over the years and found them to make as many mistakes (and in some cases right royal messes) as anyone else. Actually it's more shocking when they make a mess because they have a qualification that's meant to mean the best of the best yet evidently have no understanding of basic bookkeeping or accounting principles!

From your post it sounds as though you have a wealth of experience to offer, and if management accounting is your passion that may well be the way to go.

Best of luck with it all



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Jenny

Responses are my opinion based on the information provided. All information should be thoroughly checked before being relied on.



Newbie

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Posts: 2
Date:

Hi All,

Thankyou so much for the responses. There massively appreciated, and it means a lot that people have taken the time out to respond.

I will digest the information, and come back with any further questions based on responses.

Thanks again

Sam

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Sam

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