Jessica Blount, Finance Director at Hertz Europe Service Centre, became a CIMA Member in 2012. She chose the CIMA qualification because of its focus on strategy and business.
Jessica shared her side of the story with the CIMA Ireland team, take a peek!
Why did you choose CIMA as your professional qualification?
I was always going to work within Finance and when it came time to get a professional qualification, I chose CIMA because of its focus on strategy and business. The syllabus not only focused on the financials but also provides the basis for strategic management that is key for successful leaders.
How did you balance study with working full time?
It was tough as I had just started a new role and my career was progressing well within the company and the role was challenging. I learnt early on that the method of studying that worked best for me, was classroom based. I then had to prioritize and organize my time to attend all classes. I also had to communicate with my employer to ensure I made my evening classes, which was never a problem. The support I received from my employer in HESC, really helped with my success.
What skills have you gained through studying CIMA and how have they contributed to your role?
Apart from the foundations of management accounting, the focus placed on strategic thinking, leadership and influencing, were definitely key skills for me. To be equipped with the models and framework on strategy, really gave me a head start against my peers and gave me confidence to contribute and communicate in meetings with senior leadership.
What does your current role involve?
My current role is very dynamic. I am responsible for the general accounting including, but not limited to, statutory reporting/audit; group reporting, BS reconciliations, month end variance analysis v budget/PY; tax computation; transfer pricing for the UK & Irish entities of Hertz. I am also responsible for the consolidation team which reports EMEA results to Europe; manages allocations of costs and handles tax queries. Along with this I am responsible for intercompany/netting which only recently we globalized into Dublin.
How has CIMA membership and the CGMA designation contributed to your professional career?
It is globally recognized; we are moving towards a global structure with my reporting line direct into the US, my membership is recognized by global senior leadership. I started in Hertz as a data entry assistant. After progressing through the company, I reached a point when it became clear there were roles that were out of my reach, without a professional qualification. CIMA has provided me with an invaluable skillset that has allowed me to attain those roles and progress my career.
What are your biggest accomplishments/ways you have added value to your company or colleagues over the years?
Globalization of tasks into Dublin; streamlining numerous processes to reduce hours spent; Leading team of up to 30 indirect reports; reduction in audit lead time; Project work on Oracle upgrade.
How do you see CPD as being of value to you in keeping your qualification relevant to the constantly changing business environment?
I see it as being vital to keep yourself relevant. The world is changing and CPD is key to continuing to have a successful career. The only thing constant is change and as a leader you need to be able to manage that change. CPD will give you the tools to keep you up to date with technical changes and soft skills required.
What advice would give to anyone thinking of studying the CIMA qualification?
It is a big commitment, research what is required beforehand and understand what is involved then just do it; it really will open so many doors and opportunities for you. To show an employer you have the devotion to work full time and study, really illustrates great behavior skills, coupled with the technical skills and knowledge, to be a finance professional.
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