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My ACA experience: Jeremy

Jeremy's career is in an industry he has a passion for. His journey to becoming an ICAEW Chartered Accountant has helped him become a key decision maker at leading employers in the UK.

Jeremy Cooper

Jeremy Cooper Finance Analyst, Aston Martin

ICAEW route: Graduate

Industry: Business

Location: Warwick

Jeremy's Story...

Tell us about your career journey and what you do day to day in your role.

After a number of part-time positions while at college and university, my career really began to accelerate when I started a 12-month industrial placement in the automotive industry. The experience and guidance I received was invaluable, it certainly helped me personally both in terms of career development and also working out what I wanted to do after university.

After graduating I joined on a finance graduate scheme, again in the automotive industry. Over a two-year period I rotated between management and financial accounting, before being promoted to a position of financial accounts controller.

I recently joined the Aston Martin headquarters as a finance analyst. My current day to day position involves a varied level of financial reporting, business partnering and control of a number of engineering cost centres. My role is certainly a diverse one, and every day is different with new challenges and opportunities.

Why did you choose the ACA over other accounting qualifications?

I chose ACA firstly because of the syllabus. It is broad and detailed and provides a strong foundation of technical knowledge. It also focuses on the application of knowledge to real life scenarios which I think is very important for a professional qualification.

Secondly because of the focus on soft skills. I read about the training agreement and development log and thought it was very relevant and important. These are things that have real value in working situations.

My final reason for choosing ACA is the career opportunities it opens up for you. To become ACA qualified you need to demonstrate a combination of strong accounting knowledge and the ability to apply that knowledge. This shows that you are adaptable, competent and experienced and it gives you the tools you need to progress in your career.

How has studying towards the ACA helped you develop at top employers in the automotive industry?

Studying ACA has without a doubt helped my development. I find in my day to day role the technical knowledge and application of skills certainly help, rarely is there something I work on that I cannot relate to a topic I have covered in my studies.

Although I believe the focus on soft skills is equally as important, be that delivering a presentation, writing an email or summarising a set of accounts. ACA prepares you for all of this. It has certainly given me the tools to push to get the most out of my career so far.

ICAEW Chartered Accountants have an innovative approach and skill to their work. Can you talk us through how your career path, attitude and skill set support this?

Industries are constantly evolving so it is important that accountants can do the same, and chartered accountants are trained to challenge and push for constant improvement.

Personally I always try to have an opinion and challenge the status quo. I believe in constant improvement through innovation and I try to create value on a daily basis in my career.

I would consider myself analytical with strong problem solving abilities, skills which have certainly been important throughout my career, but with that said, I believe the soft skills are becoming increasingly more important. If you are able to communicate your ideas and lead others towards a common goal, you can begin to really affect change, both in your organisation and in your general career. I believe those who embrace change are the ones most capable of making a difference.

What do you love the most about what you do?

Personally I really enjoy project work. As an automotive enthusiast I relish any opportunity to support an exercise that could drive the business forwards. That may range from a cost saving exercise to the appraisal of a new investment opportunity, areas I thoroughly enjoy getting involved in.

I like working with and learning from others with a different skill-set and knowledge base to my own. I find it very rewarding when individuals from different functions come to me for support. Building relationships is key in any industry and something I believe we should all be encouraged to do.

Find your route

There are a number of different routes to becoming an ICAEW Chartered Accountant. You can start your journey straight from school, while you're at university or after you have graduated. Find out which route is right for you.

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