Role: Commercial planning manager
Education: BA (Hons) management studies, University of Sheffield
‘Seeing new films before they come out is an important part of the job.’
Why did you choose to study CIMA?
CIMA prepares students to work in business and isn’t limited to pure accountancy. In my experience the high level decisions made within a company are often driven or supported by a management accountant. To be part of this process really appealed to me.
How did you start out?
I started out on the Arcadia Group finance graduate scheme where I undertook my CIMA qualification. I held a number of positions across the business ranging from buying and merchandising finance to a more central group reporting role.
The Arcadia Group is the UK’s largest high street retailer and owns brands such as Topman and Topshop, so it was great experience.
Tell us a bit about your current role.
I work as commercial planning manager for Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment which is the home video distribution arm of the Twentieth Century Fox film studio. The commercial planning department is part of the wider finance function but sits within the sales team supporting the national account managers of major retailers including HMV, Amazon and major grocers such as Tesco and Sainsbury’s.
We need to be highly attuned to the various commercial risks and opportunities that exist for our retailers including sales performance, stock analysis and return on investment. It is a really varied role and most activity on any account is influenced by the commercial planning team in some way.
Any great perks?
As with many organisations it is vital that employees are knowledgeable about the product. Of course in our case the product is film, so it is expected that we are up to date with upcoming new releases. Each Friday we are expected to attend a screening of our latest release in our very own in house cinema.
While this is a great perk, it is also very much an important part of the job. Plus, it’s always nice to see the films before they come out so you can brag to friends!
What advice would you give to anyone thinking of studying towards the CIMA qualification?
The CIMA qualification is highly valued and recognised by top employers around the world. There is no question that it opens a lot of doors and enables you to work at a high level within an organisation.
That said, it takes up a lot of time and is hard work so you have to be motivated.
How do you see CIMA contributing to your future career progression?
The great thing about CIMA is that it is incredibly varied. In the future I would maybe like to move from a highly commercial environment into an area with more of an operational or marketing focus.
I’d like to gain a complete skill set to help me progress to a higher level – one that is not necessarily completely finance focused.
If CIMA was a film genre, what would it be and why?
Sci fi. Seeing into the future is imperative for a management accountant. Maybe without any aliens though!