CIMA to ICB
Selected Course - ICB Career Path
A successful management accountant from Bromley in South-East London is carving out a new career which will fit round the needs of her young family, thanks to specialist UK-wide e-learning college Ideal Schools.
Lynda Smith, who has three children aged five, three and 21 months, is also about to launch her own company - which she will be able to run from home - for the first time after years of working for other enterprises.
And, appropriately in an age of equal opportunities, some of the inspiration for setting up her own business came from stay-at-home dads at the school gate who shared with her the issues and opportunities of working in an non-office environment.
Lynda, 40, said: "I have worked hard most of my life, often in quite senior roles, but my family circumstances dictate that I need a much more flexible role so that I can look after the kids as well.
"If I had gone back to work for another firm, I would have been leaving the house at 7am and not getting back until 8pm and child care would have cost £150 a day, eroding any advantage I might have had."
Lynda, originally from Clydebank in Scotland, is now well advanced on an Ideal Schools course which will lead to qualification from the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers (ICB). Ideal Schools focuses exclusively on bookkeeping and accounting.
She began her career in finance after both her parents died when she was 19, and she was left to look after her younger sister. She joined a management accounting firm in Glasgow then started doing purchase ledger work for a local decorating company.
Her next move was to Allied Distillers and whilst working there she gained a diploma at the University of West of Scotland before she moved to London with her husband Martin.
Lynda secured a role with Capespan, the multi-national fruit and veg distributor, and they helped her take on the Chartered Institute of Management Accountant (CIMA) exams. She subsequently became financial controller with an events company before becoming commercial finance manager with BMI Healthcare, where she worked with two major London private hospitals.
After taking redundancy, she started looking around for something that would be compatible with her commitments to her children at a crucial stage in their young lives. She considered using her CIMA qualifications, but she did not have a practice licence.
Lynda said: "The ICB qualification, which I expect to complete by October, will let me start acting for clients right away. I will start with small firms and individuals and, once my youngest child is at school, I will offer my services to SMEs.
"Essentially, I want to become a consultant financial controller and the ICB studies have filled significant gaps in my knowledge in subjects such as payroll and self-assessment. The big firms which I worked for previously tended to have specialist VAT teams, so I am brushing up on changes in the VAT regime.
"The lessons and detail in the Ideal Schools course materials are excellent. The progress tests and assignments are a great way of ensuring full topic knowledge. My assignments are being turned around very quickly indeed, generally within 24 hours.
"This course has proved a great refresher for me as a management accountant, as well as updating me on legislation changes and giving me the tools and confidence to feel ready to go it alone."