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My ACA experience: Emma

From an early age Emma wanted to work with numbers and money, which is why she started the AAT after her GCSEs. She went on to complete the ACA via the Fast Track programme and qualified in 2007. After nine years in accountancy practice she is now Group Financial Accountant for a shipping company and still values the work experience she gained straight out of school.

Emma Read, Group Financial Accountant at PD Posts

Emma Read Group Financial Accountant, PD Ports

ICAEW route: AAT-ACA Fast Track

Industry: Shipping

Location: UK

Emma's story...

From a young age I have enjoyed working with numbers and money. When I was seven years old I asked my dad what I could be when I grow up and he suggested becoming a chartered accountant.

After I finished my GCSEs I started my AAT on a Youth Training Scheme at Benson Wood & Co Chartered Accountants in Stockton-on-Tees. When I had completed my AAT and three years of work experience, I joined Anderson Barrowcliff on an ACA training contract and qualified in 2007. 

This means I didn’t go to University but I definitely don’t regret it. Going through the AAT route meant that I was able to gain all the necessary experience at the same time as becoming qualified. This has been invaluable as many graduates struggle to get work as they don’t have the experience. 

Another plus is that I was earning money, buying a car, holidaying abroad and enjoying life without the worry of paying off student loans in the future. I have never been made to feel that I needed to have a degree to further my accountancy career.

After nine years in local practice, I moved to PD Ports as a Group Financial Consultant. I am now responsible for consolidating monthly management accounts, budgets, forecasts, shareholder reporting and annual financial statements for all group companies. 


I am the point of contact for external auditors and our banking contacts. Knowledge of UK GAAP and IFRS accounting is essential when I am preparing the annual financial statements and being in charge of the external audit team.

My ACA journey was full of high points and winning a regional prize for my case study exam result in 2006 was definitely one of them. 

My proudest accomplishment has been completing the qualification and becoming chartered. The exams are always challenging, but the most difficult part of my career has been deciding to leave practice but thankfully, I have no regrets.

I love the large variety of tasks I complete on a weekly basis and there is always something new to look into or do.

My words of wisdom to anyone considering a career in chartered accountancy are to stick with it, it can be difficult working and studying, but it is worth the effort. It is a qualification and experience that can lead to many roles around the world.

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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