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Aishling Collins

Treasury Accountant (North America), Kerry Group PLC

‘The beauty of studying CIMA is that you are not just limiting yourself to financial accounting.’

Aishling CollinsWhy did you choose CIMA as your financial qualification instead of another and how did you hear about it?

I knew I wanted to transition into an industry role and so I was very much looking to pursue a professional accountancy qualification that would enable me to look beyond the financials and actually add value to an organisation. It was also very important to me to choose a qualification that was internationally recognised and would travel well.

What are your key responsibilities in your current role?

I first joined the Kerry Group European tax team in Tralee, Ireland. During this time, I assisted with the reporting of the EMEA tax charge as detailed in both our interim and annual results. I was also involved in the various forecasting of our European sites throughout the year as part of our budget, projection, and monthly management reporting. I have just recently relocated to the Kerry Group Treasury team in the United States where I’m responsible for helping with working capital analysis and treasury financial analysis of our U.S sites.

What skills have you gained or developed through studying CIMA that have been most relevant and useful to your job?

My time in Kerry has thought me that it’s key to critically analyse information and evaluate it strategically. Having a CIMA background has not only enabled me to do so but also to understand workflows full circle and as such, to develop a deeper understanding of the food ingredients industry.

What misconceptions do people have about your job?

Sometimes people think that accounting is quite a limiting career- and that’s exactly why I chose to join Kerry Group. Having the opportunity to transition across department and jurisdiction is not something that I’ve come across too often in my career. Kerry Group is very forward thinking in that respect and fully supportive of international careers.

Why does your employer prefer you study CIMA?

Kerry Group values people who are both versatile and dynamic and as a far reaching professional accountancy qualification, CIMA fits into this profile quite nicely. CIMA can add value to a broad spectrum of areas, be it treasury, supply chain, or procurement, and it is this type of flexibility and completeness that is looked on quite favourably by Kerry.

How do you see CIMA contributing to your future career progression?

For me, CIMA has given me a broad understanding of the metrics of industry and so I’d like to leverage off the commercial aspect somewhat more. It’s reassuring to know that this is quite feasible with Kerry and that CIMA will stand to me long term.

Is your employer supporting your studies?

During my studies, Kerry Group was very supportive in helping me achieve my exams. With the flexibility of CIMA, I was able to structure my exam sittings around any busy periods or travel. I sat all my exams by home study and placed joint first in Ireland in the Management case study- a feat that was achievable in part due to Kerry’s support and broad ranging work exposure.

Would you like to add any other comments about your experiences as a CIMA student.

From a personal point of view, the biggest advantage to completing CIMA has been the opportunity to work and travel internationally. Living in a different country and being able to explore different cultures is something that I enjoy immensely and am lucky enough to be able to combine with work!

What advice would you give to anyone thinking of studying towards the CIMA qualification?

For anyone who thinks that they might end up working in industry, I would strongly recommend CIMA. The beauty of CIMA is that you are not just limiting yourself to financial accounting- and if you join a company like Kerry Group, then your career really is limitless!