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Freya Gnam’s success story

Freya Gnam is an expert at analysing complex multi-million euro projects to ensure profitability and increase a company’s value. Her main skills include project evaluation and robust cost management to inject financial control. Freya has a strong quantitative background and technical skills, including the ability to query databases, analyse complex data and use visualization tools to provide insight. She has a proven ability to partner, build trust, communicate with and influence high-level stakeholders. Freya was awarded the joint first position in the world for the CIMA February 2020 strategic case study.

What prompted you to start your CIMA qualification?

My background is in physics, which is all about problem-solving and describing the solutions in a structured way. Scientific methods and tools can be easily transferred to the business world. In my role as a financial manager, it is important to have a solid understanding of financial accounting. For this reason, I wanted to acquire an accounting qualification. CIMA seemed to be the best option for me, as the focus is on the management and strategic aspects of a company.

What turned out to be your biggest challenge in the CIMA qualification process?

It requires self-discipline and commitment to study while working full time. I studied CIMA for three years. This is a long time, during which I changed jobs, moved internationally, bought a house and had my second child. Fortunately, my employer sponsored my CIMA studies and granted me time off to take the exams, which helped me a lot. CIMA also provides a lot of flexibility by offering objective test examinations on demand and at different locations.

How did CIMA affect your professional situation? Which element of CIMA was the most useful for your job? 

CIMA offers both a theoretical framework and a practical toolbox for management accounting. Having obtained the CIMA qualification, I can speak confidently about any accounting issues. While the performance pillar is most closely related to what I do in my work, the financial pillar has been the one where I have improved my general education the most. 

Do you think that acquiring additional qualifications and certificates is important in your profession? 

Absolutely. I believe in lifelong learning, both for personal development and to keep up with the latest industry trends. We will experience a radical change in the way we work as a result of the digital transformation, and it is important to continue learning and to be open to change. Learning can take place in a structured way through the acquisition of certifications, but it could also mean being curious about what is happening in the world and finding ways to apply it in the workplace.

Who would you recommend the CIMA qualification for?

CIMA is an excellent qualification for management accountants and all those preparing for a leading role in business. It equips you with skills that enable you to work across functions and make financial decisions based on the strategic needs of the company. CIMA can help you stand out from the crowd. We work in anincreasingly globalised world. With the CIMA qualification, you will become part of a network that gives you recognition in an international context.

What kind of advice can you provide to future students in management accounting? 

The CIMA qualification is structured in such a way that you progress from the operational to the strategic level. So, don’t be intimidated by the amount of information you have to process at the beginning of your studies. You will have ample opportunity to repeat important concepts and gain a deeper understanding. I particularly appreciated the case studies, which provide an opportunity to apply your knowledge to a realistic business situation.