Case study

Laura Montgomerie — Finance manager

The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS)

Laura is a finance manager at City Facilities Management UK. She qualified in 2017 having followed ICAS’s school leaver route to becoming a chartered accountant (CA)

What made you want to become a CA?

I recognised that being a CA was a well-respected profession and that it would result in plenty of job opportunities and therefore financial security when I qualified. Another big attraction was the ability to gain valuable experience and earn money while you trained. Being able to qualify at only 23, having five years’ experience behind me with no student debt, was a great position to be in.

What is the best thing about being a CA?

It allows you to work in any size of business, in any sector you want, and in any country. The skills and knowledge that being a CA provides you with are so diverse; you aren’t limited to purely financial roles either.

What is the most exciting project you have worked on?

I think it is important for anyone considering becoming a CA to know that it really isn’t just number crunching and staring at a spreadsheet all day. For example, in my last job in audit I once found myself out on a fishing boat testing weights of salmon mussels. Because finance is involved in every aspect of a business, part of being a CA is going beyond the numbers and being able to add value by having an understanding and involvement in the operational sides of the business too.

What makes you proud to be a CA?

It is such a well-recognised and respected profession across all industries. This really gives you the platform to work and volunteer in positions where you can have an influence and drive change.

What is the best career advice you have received?

To consider how you would want to be remembered in everything that you do. This encourages you to take a principle-based approach and act on your values, meaning you are more likely to do what’s right, not something that you will regret later.

Any advice for potential trainees?

Be prepared to put in the hard work. The training period isn’t easy, you will have to make personal sacrifices in order to get through the exams, but it is definitely worth it to open up a lifetime of career opportunities and job satisfaction. It is back to that age-old saying of, -‘nothing of worth having ever came easy.’

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