Accountancy: Andrew Coley, Audit Assistant Manager, KPMG
Professional Qualification(s): ACA (Association of Chartered Accountants)
University: Financial Management and Maths (University of Sheffield)
What led you to your career path?
After University, I decided to go travelling, which was a welcome break from the studying lifestyle, and remember thinking I never had to take another exam again. However, after travelling, I was looking into jobs in the finance industry in Jersey and realised that to get ahead you need to take exams and I also knew that the chartered accountancy qualification is very highly regarded.
I chose KPMG for a number of reasons, but primarily because they offered this qualification along with financial support and mentoring throughout the training period and from the friendly and relaxed attitude I received from my interviewer KPMG is also a huge global company offering many benefits and opportunities so the whole package was highly desirable.
How did you progress to your current position?
I studied my ACA qualification with the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW), which I completed in approximately two and a half years. There are two stages to the qualification. The first is the professional stage and consists of six written exams and six computer-based exams. Once this is completed, students sit the advanced stage and this includes three written papers that combine everything you have previously learnt, as well as knowledge from your work experience.
My current role is really diverse. I have been working on a wide range of clients, from high street banks to local supermarkets. Some of these I work on individually and others in a large team. Also, training courses I have taken part in have taken me to places such as Rome and Frankfurt, as well as joining up with colleagues in Guernsey. I have also been responsible for delivering training courses to trainees – no two days are ever the same.
I am now considering a secondment to KPMG Sydney or New York, where I can develop my technical knowledge and skills further.
What advice would you give to current students considering a career in finance?
Don’t feel pressured into starting your career immediately. Personally, I felt that a year travelling gave me enough time to firmly decide on my career and KPMG has been the ideal environment to start my working life. Also, the more work experience you can obtain the better, even if it is in different industries. It will help you decide what you do or don’t want to do and also provide you with the knowledge of what you are looking for in a career.