I’ll admit, becoming an accountant was not my career plan. I was on an industry placement with Shell during my time at university. After I graduated, I embarked on a summer internship with Scottish Power, working in finance and performance, and found I enjoyed the work and the challenge.

My current role is really varied. A lot of my work stems from emerging business needs and the changing political and financial climate that may impact the Government Actuary’s Department (GAD). Recently, I have been involved in preparing the department’s ministerial advice to support Cabinet Office policies, engaging in contractual conversations in terms of our premises and audit discussions. No two days are the same, which I love.

As an executive member of GAD’s management board, I have responsibility for all aspects of financial planning, management and reporting. I also manage the building and facilities team and GAD’s commercial activities. I interact with a number of stakeholders, from seniors within GAD to officials in HM Treasury, Cabinet Office and other government departments. I also interact with external suppliers where required on contracts and supplier agreements.

I’m involved in preparing the department’s ministerial advice to support Cabinet Office policies

I have been in the Civil Service for about eight years, with experience across HM Revenue and Customs and HM Treasury. I started in the financial management development scheme, which allowed me to really broaden my horizons and get a feel for the various finance roles (and beyond) that the Civil Service offers.

A key challenge is that, as a leader in a small organisation, you have several hats. So while being strategic, you also have to ensure that the operational functions are robust. Currently, there are a number of policy and operational challenges at play. That, coupled with the transitional change as we come out of the pandemic, means I need to balance emerging priorities with existing ones.

My advice to a young accountant starting out is to be open to opportunities. Try things outside your comfort zone, particularly outside finance, to gain perspective on what is like to be a customer to finance. ACCA can give you the foundation skills and knowledge to be a confident finance professional. It provides the tools and curiosity to carve your own career path.

Things I have enjoyed most about my career are when I have had opportunities to develop teams to be high-performing. I am really invested in developing people and find it really rewarding as a manager and leader.

Outside of work, I love to spend time outdoors with my dog, Timmy. Now that restrictions are lifting, I look forward to returning to my other passion, travelling. I also love art and dabble in a bit of oil painting when I can.