Why did you choose CIMA as your professional qualification?
I was always more interested in being in business rather than auditing it, then I won a prize sponsored by CIMA in my second year at university and the CIMA qualification suited my needs perfectly. In my final year at uni I applied for jobs at companies who supported new graduates through their CIMA studies.
How has CIMA membership helped you professionally?
I was a mature student having worked in a bank for many years before going to university. Without CIMA none of the accounting roles would have been open to me at all. Additionally, my CIMA qualification and experience gained in the UK meant I was employable overseas where I enjoyed the Australian working culture and lifestyle for five years.
Being a CIMA professional in large companies gave me exposure to other finance professionals and many other functions within the businesses. I gained invaluable knowledge and experience while working alongside them.
Over the last 10 years I’ve been moving back and forth between Sydney, the UK and the French Alps where I’ve done a few ski seasons. Being CIMA qualified I never worried about getting work again after a ski season.
When we moved to the Alps full time two and a half years ago I decided it was time for a career change, partly because the type of accounting role I was interested in wasn’t available!
There’s a big call for massage from the skiers in the winter and from cyclists in the summer. The entrepreneurial skills gained through my various CIMA roles and training proved invaluable in setting up on my own.
What skills have you gained through studying CIMA?
As well as all the obvious accounting/reporting/decision making skills. I have become much more confident in my abilities, enabling me to make better relationships within work at all levels, and to suggest and establish new or alternative processes for improved efficiency. And of course being able to look at the bigger picture, take in relevant info and make good decisions when setting up my massage business.
Could you tell us some ways you have helped add value to your company over the years?
In my current part time role at a small family run business I have implemented all sorts of accounting controls and processes, including bank, debtor and creditor recs, monthly profitablility analysis during the season and cash control and forecasting. I also ensure relevant reporting deadlines are met - something that my boss who has a marketing background has not previously seen as a priority.
My massage business is only in it’s second year and has been hit by the recession and poor euro/sterling exchange rate – not the best time to start out – but I asked my clients for feedback and the overriding factor was the poor exchange rate making massage too expensive.
In response to this, this season I lowered my prices, offered discounts on group bookings and introduced a new 15 minute massage. I have seen the number of massages double! It’s important for me to give a good affordable service and bring people on board as future, returning clients.
What is the best thing about your job?
I get to ski three or four times a week in winter and with my massage business I meet loads of interesting people. In the summer I have enough spare time to cycle a couple of times a week and also go climbing, camping, hiking and walking in the mountains.
Oh, and the job! The autonomy – it’s taken awhile but I’ve proved myself by implementing and improving many accounting processes, making efficiency gains and producing more timely cash flows. Because of this my boss, the joint owner of the company, now allows me much autonomy and has given me more responsibility.