ACCA New Accountant of the year is Amy Gower, who, after becoming ACCA’s 100,000th member in April 2004, has been an outstanding ambassador for the professional body – including meeting the Queen during a visit to ACCA HQ.
Working at ABN AMRO Bank as a financial and management accountant, Gower regularly speaks to new graduate recruits about the benefits of studying for ACCA. ‘As ABN AMRO hold ACCA gold approved employer accreditation, we have an ACCA training consultant who comes and talks to the graduates about joining ACCA, but new recruits also ask me about my experiences,’ says Gower.
Passing her final ACCA exams in February was a big relief for Gower. ‘I am still at that stage where I can’t believe I’ve passed. It’s not been easy – in fact, it was quite a trek. But in a way that makes it even more of an achievement,’ she says. ‘I am so proud that I am now part of ACCA.’
Gower wanted to be an accountant since the age of 13, although she’s not sure why. ‘It might have been family influence, but the idea stuck in my head, so I studied accountancy at A-level and then a degree in accounting and finance at university.’
Following her degree, Gower started temporary work as an accounts assistant, which gave her a good insight into how accountants worked. She then moved to Seagram Distillery, where several people were studying ACCA.
‘I reviewed the professional bodies and discussed the benefits of each with my boss,’ explains Gower. ‘I chose ACCA as the syllabus seemed much broader, dealing with the financial and management side of accounting. At that point I wasn’t sure which side of accountancy I wanted to get into and ACCA let me keep my options open.’
ACCA’s global reach was another key factor influencing her choice of qualification. ‘ACCA is globally recognised, which lets me keep my options open if ever I want to work abroad,’ says Gower.
Now she is qualified, Gower doesn’t expect her role at ABN AMRO to change much at first. ‘My student training record was audited by ACCA two years ago and I had to make sure all my training was documented and signed off by my supervisor. Because of this my employers recognised my experience and gave me jobs that qualified accountants do, although I sometimes required a little more help,’ she explains.
In the future, Gower would like to move into a managerial role within the bank. ‘I would like to become involved in reviewing, appraising and recruiting. This, combined with the knowledge I have learned by studying for ACCA, should enable me to become comfortable being an all-round manager.’
As an accountant, Gower feels she is much more than just a number cruncher. ‘We are more analysts than accountants,’ she says. ‘We give the business managers useful information so that they can plan where the business is going and how it is all working. It means that I can get involved with the business on a daily basis. I deal ‘face-to-face’ with managers who are close to the business and are in the firing line. I am there to support them, and for me it’s really interesting to know how products are performing, and advise them on areas that they might need to improve on.’
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