Sarah Doyle is an Accounting & Finance Associate at Glanbia. She passed the CIMA SCS this year and has recently become a CIMA Member. Take a look at Sarah’s story and professional achievements.
What have you found about the experience on studying for CIMA exams so far?
It’s very different to college, as the onus is really on you to set out a structure for your path through the exams. You definitely need to keep on top of it and set firm targets for yourself, as otherwise time can slip away very quickly! I use online tuition, which suits me best as it allows me to watch lectures and study when it suits me.
What did you struggle with on the journey to pass your CIMA exams? And what would be the positive element towards your CIMA journey?
It is definitely a struggle to balance studying with working full time! I’m lucky enough to have good exam support via work, which has made it a lot easier for me. You do get into the swing of things with balancing study, work, and your personal life – and it does become an awful lot easier to motivate yourself once you’re on the last few exams and can see the end in sight. I do find that the CIMA exams are very flexible around work – it’s great that you can sit the objective tests on-demand, rather than being locked into a specific timetable. The fact that they’re all computer-based is excellent too.
What advice would you give to anyone thinking of studying towards the CIMA qualification or on the journey to become a CIMA member?
I would say to go for it! It’s a very well-rounded, flexible qualification that will help to broaden both your financial and wider business skills immensely. It’s important to stick with it too and recognise that there will be good days and bad. It is a long-term commitment, but it’s definitely worth it. Make a plan for your exam progression and stick with it. Talk to others who have studied or are studying CIMA and ask for their help or advice – it’s important to build a support network to help you through!
Tell us a bit about your current role?
I’m currently in my final year of the Glanbia Pure Ambition graduate programme, which consists of three roughly one-year rotations across different areas and locations of the business. My first rotation was in the Group Treasury function, and the second on the EMEA commercial finance team for the B2B premix solutions segment. I’ve been based in Madison, Wisconsin, since January 2020, working on the commercial finance team for our US Cheese division. My role here involves weekly and monthly sales volume and margin reporting, assisting with budgeting and forecasting, variance analysis, and providing analysis and information to senior management, sales, & product management teams.
Has CIMA helped you advance your career?
It has, of course, helped me to develop the technical and functional skills required of an accountant, but has also made me much more commercially aware. Studying CIMA has also helped me to develop and hone business-critical skills such as analysis and interpretation of financial information, communication and project management. It also made it possible for me to benefit from great opportunities, such as the chance to work in the US while finishing my exams.
Has your job been affected by the digitalisation/technology? How?
As I’m writing this, I’ve been working from home for the last 5 weeks due to the global coronavirus pandemic…so it’s fairly safe to surmise that my job has been massively impacted by digitalisation! Even five years ago, I don’t think it would have been possible for Glanbia office-based employees across the globe to work from home, yet we’ve been doing pretty well so far! Even prior to the pandemic, technology has played a significant role in my job. Working across time zones and interacting with colleagues across the world means that Skype meetings are pretty common! Additionally, both my current and previous roles have relied fairly extensively on the use of business intelligence tools to drive insights and analysis.
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