The main part of my role is to provide management information to the institute, interacting with budget holders and the university’s central finance division. This was a newly created role, which I was appointed to three years ago. It has expanded since then to include a range of additional responsibilities, such as developing financial policies and procedures, setting budgets and managing research grants. I also meet with staff and answer students’ financial questions.
Before the pandemic, I was based full time in the office, with the odd working-from-home days. Overnight, I became full-time home based. And where we were paper based before, we have now become fully digital.
The pandemic has caused a number of challenges, with two of our three income streams dropping overnight
The pandemic has caused a number of challenges, with two of our three income streams dropping overnight. One was income from conferences, B&B and weddings, so we started opening up our hall to the public and have a pop-up café and takeaway business, which is very popular. Our international summer programmes were cancelled for last year and this, but the team has put together virtual winter and summer programmes. Most of our courses were in person and had to be converted to online overnight. We have also launched bursaries to support furloughed and key workers, as well as those made redundant.
After I left my last role, I took time out to think about what I wanted to do next. I had been a financial assistant accountant so I thought management accounting would be a good fit for me. The university offers really good work-life balance and good benefits, plus great team members. Working close to home is a bonus.
My advice to young accountants is don’t give up. I didn’t go to university, and when I moved from the AAT to the ACCA Qualification, it was hard. But I found a company and manager that supported me, and that was a huge help. It is okay to fail – which I did in the beginning – but you will learn what works for you and make progress.
My biggest career achievement has been completing the ACCA Qualification. I thought I would never complete it, but I worked hard and made it. I now have a fulfilling career and the stability to do what I want in my personal life.
Normally, outside the pandemic, I spend Saturday mornings volunteering at Wood Green animal shelter’s Godmanchester charity shop. I spend the rest of my time reading, seeing family and friends and spending time in my garden.