Choosing Accountancy

Our Chairman Mark Davies explains why choosing a qualification in accountancy helped shape his career in finance, and gave him a better understanding of business.

calculator and laptop to symbolise accountancyIn 1987 I graduated from university and needed to decide on a career – this was as scary then as it is today. I love maths, physics and chemistry and had been a science geek throughout school, so naturally I took a Chemistry degree with a Mathematics subsidiary. I loved every part of my degree, and every part of University life (it is where I met my wife).

Sadly I am really terrible in the laboratory; possibly the worst and clumsiest practical chemist ever. So it was clearly apparent that a career in chemistry just wasn’t going to work. I still love science and try to stay fairly up to date but very much as an amateur; much of modern science is well beyond me!

So I started to consider alternative careers, as a career in any science discipline was a non-starter. Having considered most careers I decided on accountancy. It’s not something I had ever considered before that year but has turned out to be one of the most pivotal decisions of my life and possibly one of the best.

Accountancy attracted me as I thought it would provide me with a great overview of business, an insight into the language of business (finance), and help me decide what I wanted to do with my life. I am pleased to say it provided all this and more.

Early on I decided that I didn’t want to do ACCA or CIPFA as neither qualification seemed to offer enough of a stimulating career, or be the right fit for me. This left me with a choice between CIMA and ACA.

I thought that Chartered Accountancy looked a little academic, even though it did feel like I would gain an incredible grounding in accountancy, tax and a great overview of different firms. I was also put off (a little) by the need to train in an accountancy firm, while I wanted to train in industry.

I thought that CIMA would offer a much more practical view of an organisation and give me an insight into management as well as finance. I was also drawn to the possibility of training in industry and what I thought would be a more grounded learning experience.

I was able to work as a Management Accountant (with the Prudential which I joined in 1987) and gain my CIMA qualification. From 2002 I joined Deloitte, before founding my own business in 2009 with the help of a great partner. Grovelands is now in it 6th year and has been one of the biggest adventures of my life.

Earlier I said I hoped it would provide me with a few things.

  • A great overview of business: I think it has – I frame most business decisions in finance terms. This does not mean that I get every decision right, but with the help of colleagues it means that I make informed decisions and I am always on top of the money – rather crucial to running a business!
  • An insight into the language of business (finance): I can read a set of accounts quickly and so can understand a business’s key drivers. This saves me a huge amount of time and allows me to focus my time where it matters, both internally at Grovelands, and when consulting with clients.
  • And help me decide what I wanted to do with my life: I have had a lot of fun in business, it is diverting in ways I would never have expected and continues to push and surprise me every day.

– Mark Davies

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