James, tell us a bit about your background and how you came to be studying accountancy.
After graduating from Uni with an Economics degree, I took a job in a pub but realised after several months that I wasn’t using the skills and knowledge I’d gained and wanted to feel more challenged. An opportunity in insolvency came up and this felt more like a natural fit for me. In my new role, I studied an insolvency qualification but was always conscious that in order for my career to progress, I needed to study accountancy. Having put it off for a while, I took the plunge and signed up to study for my ACCA qualification.
So why did you specifically choose to study ACCA?
For me, I felt this would be the most valuable qualification, as it’s transferrable across a number of industries and is recognised all over the world. As I had an established career in insolvency, having elements of the course that were related to law and building financial models, would also be beneficial in progressing my career.
Tell us about your experience of studying and do you have any tips you can share?
I have a young family and a busy job in London, so I decided to take things slowly and very much at my own pace. I flexed between studying on weekdays and at the weekend, depending on when the modules were running and how they fitted in with the rest of my life. I liked studying with FI in Chelmsford, as in comparison to other providers, the classes are much smaller and there’s a very relaxed atmosphere.
In terms of tips, my advice for studying is to find what works for you. You need to be realistic about what you can do and accept that it’s a long journey and a big commitment. Personally, I found studying little and often worked best. I often used my commute into London to work on practice questions, which was ideal preparation for exams.
So, how does it feel to be named as a Global Prize Winner?
It came as a total shock to me and it really has taken a while to sink in. As more and more people congratulate me, for having the highest average in the world across the strategic papers, it is starting to feel a little more real and something I’m really proud of.
Finally, what does the future have in store for you?
I’m planning to take a break from studying for a while, but I haven’t ruled out taking on another insolvency qualification in the future. For now, I’m going to focus on progressing my career and I’m looking forward to taking some time off from studying and preparing for exams.