What does your current role at Diageo involve?
As a Commercial Analyst in the Take Home Trade Team (Off sales and Retail) in Diageo, my role links heavily with the Commercial Finance Team and the National Account Managers (NAMs). There are four key pillars to my role encompassing Pricing and Customer Promotional Price (CPP) funding; Trade Terms; Channel Strategy and Sales Operations.
In addition to Trade Terms, part of my role working with the commercial and trade investment teams includes providing analytical support. I also work with the Commercial Manager and Commercial Finance to support the weekly sales operations process and monthly BPM process.
I wanted a professional qualification that would equip me with the skills to develop insights, allowing me to drive out costs for investing in growth and identifying commercial growth opportunities for the business. The CIMA qualification allows me to be a part of that conversation whilst it is also recognised globally and across industries.
Even at the early stages of the qualification I learnt skills that I could directly relate to the work I was doing at the time. The qualification is considered by Diageo as integral to being a finance professional.
What skills have you gained through studying CIMA and how have they contributed to your role?
The early part of the qualification allowed me to develop the functional skills required in my day-to-day role (e.g. costing, pricing and variance analysis) and this rapidly developed my professional competence. The latter part of the qualification developed forward looking analytical, long term strategic, leadership and influencing skills which are also supporting my career progression.
Further, the CGMA qualification has already given my career a boost as Diageo places a value on it and I am working in a global organisation. I now have the confidence to take on challenging new roles that a couple of years ago seemed out of reach and I expect the CGMA qualification to work hard for me in the future as a finance professional.
How did you balance study with working full time?
I did the full qualification through classroom learning which worked well for me. This typically required two evenings per week and a handful of weekends spent in the classroom. Diageo was very supportive and this made a big difference as it meant I could always attend the classes and they always worked with me when taking annual leave at exam time.
Please list a few accomplishments/ways you have helped add value?
I developed a full end-to-end pricing model that allows to quickly and robustly compare customer pricing across products and channels, delivering €160k in savings to date. I also designed and implemented a new contribution process which ensured robust accounting and reporting within a framework of prudent and effective controls, suitable for use by finance and the broader operational business.
I developed a new model for efficiency reporting of raw materials for non finance colleagues at operational management level and allowed quick and reliable identification of efficiency issues both in a financial and operational context.
What misconceptions do people have about your job?
Typically, that my role in finance is just to report numbers when in actual fact it is to deliver insights that drive business performance.
What advice would you give to anyone thinking of studying towards the CIMA qualification?
Go for it! There is no downside of pursuing this qualification. Irrespective of whether you have decided you want to be a finance professional or not this qualification will benefit any person working in a multinational or an SME and will open career opportunities.