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31 March 2020: Coronavirus Update. The situation is fast moving and we are continuing to monitor the global situation and its impact on our members, staff, exam candidates, students and the profession. More information for Members and Students in My CIMA.

Sophia Klair

Apprentice, Walsall Housing Group

"I prefer the direction of CIMA over other similar qualifications as it’s more versatile and will lead to strategic roles as my career develops."

Why did you apply for an apprenticeship at WHG?
After leaving school I was unsure about my career so the opportunity to start a finance apprenticeship and study at the same time made a lot of sense.

Looking back, I’m glad I made this choice, rolling the practical and academic aspects together is great for my career. 

Sophia KlairWhat does a typical day at WHG look like for you?
My apprenticeship exposes me to many different areas of finance like processing and production of management accounts, including accruals and prepayments journals and forecasting.

Reconciliation of balance sheet items and the fixed asset register. Preparing information for audits and liaising with auditors.

I’ve also learnt a lot about WHG’s business, this is really important because it gives me valuable knowledge and experience to complete the CIMA qualification.

Is there anything unusual about your job? 
Being an apprentice at whg gave me the opportunity to go to Gambia on a community based project.

We helped a community to build sustainable energy sources and improve the standards of living; it was a fantastic experience that I wouldn’t have had if I wasn’t working for WHG.

Are there any advantages to working for a small-to-medium enterprise over a larger employer?
The main advantage is I’m involved in many areas of the business and not restricted to looking after one area of the accounts.

WHG are always seeking new ways to improve processes and procedures so I’ve been able to be hands on and make real changes that positively impact the organisation.

Why did you choose to study CIMA?
The CIMA qualification is recognised worldwide and highly respected by employers.

I prefer the direction of CIMA over other similar qualifications as it’s more versatile and will lead to strategic roles as my career develops.

How has WHG supported you through your CIMA studies?
whg are fantastic and provide day release for my course and study leave for my exams; it’s a big help towards achieving the study results I want.

My colleagues are extremely supportive too; they have a wealth of knowledge (from their time studying CIMA) and are happy to answer my questions.

From my point of view seeing how the CIMA qualification has furthered their careers, confirms to me that I have chosen the right career path. 

How do you balance work and study? 
Work and study integrate really well so I am never stuck between any conflicting demands.

During study I can use experiences from work for a clearer understanding and at work they allow time for study or to answer any queries with colleagues. 

What advice would you give to anyone thinking about studying CIMA?
I would encourage anyone wanting to become a finance professional to research the CIMA qualification.

CIMA focuses on both financial and management accounting where as other qualifications concentrate mostly on the financial side.

By studying CIMA and looking at management accounting you will have a more dynamic career at the forefront of driving business forward.

How do you describe what you do to your friends?
Typically their first reaction to accounting is book-keeping. However, management accounting is completely different; it involves analysis, strategic planning and driving the business forward through innovative thinking.

It’s far more than being a number cruncher! 

Where do you see your career going in the future?
After completing the CIMA Certificate in Business Accounting and progressing onto the Professional Qualification I would like to be within a stable role (hopefully still at WHG) working my way up to a management position.   

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