Our ACA Evening: A Roundup

5 months ago by Sophie Stones

Our ACA Evening: A Roundup


As part of our ongoing commitment to ensure every candidate has access to the right knowledge and skills to progress in their career, this week we hosted one of our regular ACA evenings; a night for gaining knowledge from our distinguished speakers and networking with peers.

This week we were delighted to host Jonny Jacobs, Head of Finance (Foods) at M&S, and Joanna Green, Finance Business Partner to the Chief Marketing Officer at Harrods. Both of whom qualified at KPMG before moving into industry and progressing to their current senior positions, perfectly placing them as advisors to the dozens of ambitious practice trained accountants in attendance.

Below, we share, with those of you who couldn’t be there, some of the wise insights they shared.

Be Entrepreneurial, Be a Self-Starter

Jonny shared with us his entrepreneurial beginnings, highlighting the importance of recognizing where you can improve and how, whether that’s through researching courses to improve your skills or putting the time in at an internship.

Work for a Company You Care About

Joanna highlighted the importance of working for something you are passionate about, saying that she personally looks for this in new hires. It’s important then that before you head to an interview you’ve fully done your research and pinpointed the factors which set that company apart from the others.

Build a Network

Both Joanna and Jonny emphasized the importance of creating a network of peers and those with the connections you need. Jonny demonstrated that a job he may have passed upon actually became integral to his success, as it allowed him to work closely with the CFO. This anecdote is proof that although a role may not be within the sector you aim to end up in, it can be a brilliant steppingstone for the future.

Be Flexible

A key theme to the evening was the idea of being open to change and grabbing new opportunities when they are presented to you. This change in turn leads to extensive experience and skills that put you in good stead for future roles.

What Joanna Looks for When Hiring:

  • Can-do attitude
  • Be Prepared
  • Thoughtful, purposeful questions
  • Be honest – integrity is key
  • Personality
  • Passion
  • Use data where you can
  • Think about your job expectations
  • Communication is vital
  • Be curious

What Jonny Looks for When Hiring:

  • Capability behaviours
  • Curiosity
  • Proactivity
  • A change-mindset