My Job Explained (Assistant Management Accountant)
Name: Thomas James Hubbard
Job Title: Assistant Management Accountant
Describe your role
I am responsible for any and all reporting that involves the 'Baby Leaves' side of the business (spinach, rocket and lamb's lettuce in the main) of G's fresh.
G's fresh is a global fresh produce business, and supply all of the major UK retailers.
The main parts of my job is monthly management of accounts, sharing information with interested stakeholders and assisting the management accounts team in ad hock tasks.
How long have you worked in the industry?
About 18 months
How did you manage to get into this role/industry?
I got a temp job as a purchase ledger at the company, so I made sure that the suppliers get paid. Essentially they gave me quite a unique opportunity and created a grad scheme for me. So far I have progressed through 3 roles in the finance department. Every 6 months they progress me to a more crucial role in the company, as I understand more and more of the business and can take on more responsibility and work.
They're also paying for my ACCA (accountancy qualification) but unfortunately due to covid I've been unable to do it. Hopefully that changes soon!
What's the best part of your job?
It's actually the high pressure environment. For example, I hate Thursdays and Fridays, mainly because I have to do ad hoc tasks that I find to be tedious. But because I have to get all this reporting done under a time limit, it makes it more enjoyable. I do well in situations with a lot of pressure, having a deadline and making sure it's all accurate and correct just makes me happy.
What's the hardest part of your job?
I'd say keeping on top of all the unexpected tasks. An example would be if I had to go to a supplier and question why their yield is bad. Most of these people are managing directors, so much higher than me in the food chain. Sometimes they may not want to share that kind of information with me, but I also don't want to come across as rude or inconsiderate. There can be a lot of politics involved!
I can be impatient too, so if they come with poor reason as to why something isn't going well I have to divulge that information to my manager - it can turn into a lot of back and forth.
What skills would you say are necessary for this role?
- Stubborn - you can't take no for an answer in this kind of job. If you need to find a reason for something that may not be going right, you need to press for answers. Especially when there are things that need a thorough explanation, you need to be accountable
- Cautious - You just can't send someone the wrong numbers. You need to be thorough and have good attention to detail.
- You also need to have strong excel skills. You definitely develop really strong excel skills through this kind of role but it's not the kind of job you can come into completely blind
- The above links closely with this one too, which is just good maths skills. I'm not saying that you need to be a maths genius but you do need to have common sense to do with numbers (you do get heavy exposure through this role too)
Did you do a maths heavy subject at university?
I did natural sciences (BSc) at the University of East Anglia. It is quite maths heavy, a focus more on physics and chemistry but it's a different kind of maths.
I didn't actually realise I wanted to be an accountant. I just wanted a degree that I enjoyed, but this is where I ended up, plus I've always enjoyed working with numbers.
It also tends to pay quite well, so I'll be comfortable and hopefully never out of a job.
What advice would you give to someone thinking of entering this industry?
I think you need to make sure you're entering the correct industry for the finance role you want to do.
Usually if you've done a degree in accounting you'd get a grad scheme at one of the big 4 companies, and they'd provide you with an adequate array of different accounting opportunities.
The 'Big Four' accounting firms:
Ernst & Young (EY)
I wish I had done my research in the different type of accounting. I'm being involved in fast moving commercial goods but I feel like I need an appreciation for the different types of accounting there are, and base my decisions off that.
What surprised you most when taking on this role?
How much I do that isn't to do with numbers? Like dealing with stakeholders and production processes.
I went into this role thinking I'd just be given numbers and sending them out, but there's a lot more than that.
Are there any things that you didn't expect to be doing that has been asked of you?
Hiding information from other people. There are times when people ask for different types of information that I'm just not allowed to share with them. That can make things a bit awkward or uncomfortable.
If you weren't in this job, what else would you want to be doing?
I'd love to have been an astronaut, that would've been fun - or an explorer of some sort.
The My Job series was created to help those unsure on the industry they want to go in, so this is an insight on the day to day life of different people in different industries. If you would like more details on working in this industry please drop me a message and I'll direct you to the interviewee! If you would like to get involved, please let me know.