I joined Grant Thornton in 1984 as a trainee, studying for the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators exams (which focuses on Company Law, but also includes accountancy, audit and tax). I passed the exams and was admitted as an associate member of ICSA in February 1987.
Later that year I started the ACA training, and passed the first 8 exams. Sadly, just before I sat my final 4 exams my father died – and although I went ahead and sat the exams my mind was not ‘in gear’, and I was unsuccessful in one of the four papers. The credit system did not exist back then, which meant I had to re-sit all 4 papers, which I did, but again was unsuccessful in the same paper. I tried for a third time, but got the same result.
The firm was very supportive, allowing me to continue my career with my ICSA qualification and by that time knowing the work I was capable of carrying out. By then I was an audit senior and shortly afterwards was promoted to assistant manager and then manager.
I have always been a strong believer in personal development, and working as a line manager, training manager and assessor at the Development Centres I have taken a keen interest over the years in the development of the firm’s trainees. However, I felt there was something missing for me in not having an accountancy qualification, and I was sad that the qualification had eluded me earlier in my career.
In 2006 I made the decision that I wanted to gain an accountancy qualification. I recognised that it would be hard work and challenging, but it felt an important step in my own professional development. It also felt important to honour the work that I do, and my career that, even after many years, remains stimulating, motivating and very rewarding. With the support and encouragement of my office assurance partners and Office Managing Partner, I registered with the ACCA. I would have to take 9 exams to enable me to qualify. I was surprised that they had granted me some exemptions because of my ICSA qualification – after all I had taken these exams more than 20 years earlier!
I decided to do the studying by distance learning, and the books for the first 2 exams arrived in January 2010. It has been hard work since then, keeping up with the demands of the ‘day job’ as a senior assurance manager, studying in the evenings and weekends (for all the trainees – I really do understand what trainees face!) and trying to maintain my home and social life!!
The subjects have been wide-ranging: the audit and financial & corporate reporting have been based on international standards (which has been good to learn), and I have also taken exams in financial and business management, business strategy and analysis and tax. I have enjoyed the learning, up-dating my knowledge, and reading some really interesting and informative articles (especially around business analysis).
I sat my first exams in June 2010, and was so happy when I passed them. I sat a further 2 in December 2010 (and passed), 3 in June 2011 (and passed) and the final 2 in December 2011. I got the results on Monday (13 February) and was over the moon when I read the words “pass” against both papers. In fact, I think I’m still smiling!