Question, answer with Phil Smith, Management Accountant

10 June 2024

1. Can you tell us about your career journey so far and how you got into the field of accounting?

“Prior to joining the world of accounting, I worked in human resources for eight years where I held a variety of roles across both the public and private sector. Every day was different and brought a unique challenge, however, over time I felt myself being more drawn towards working with numbers and spreadsheets. Ironically, accounting was my least favourite subject at university, and I still remember walking out of my final finance-related exam thinking I would never have to do this again … I could not have been more wrong!

Ultimately, I felt I was more suited to working with numbers and possessed the skillset that would allow me to succeed in the accounting profession. Anyone that knows me knows I love getting my teeth stuck into a good old spreadsheet.”

2. What was your previous role, and how did it prepare you for this new position?

“I was previously employed as an assistant accountant in the public sector. During this time, I worked with a great team and learned so much from my colleagues. From month-end monitoring to budget preparation, the list was endless.  In addition to learning on-the job, I completed my AAT qualification for which I now have attained full-member status. I am currently studying towards my ACCA which provides the knowledge and technical know-how that allows me to carry out the requirements of being an accountant.

I joined Deep Casing Tools in September 2022 as an assistant management accountant. The knowledge gained from my studies and work experience to date helped me to perform the duties expected of me. In addition, my line manager has been supportive of my development and has dedicated the time to train me to accountant level.”

3. What skills do you think are essential for someone in your position?

“There are many. There are the usual suspects like being organised and having an eye-for detail and numbers, but you need to be a good listener and adaptable. It’s not always about the numbers, although they are important! Being able to use your initiative and thinking outside the box can be just as important.

Fundamentally, to be a good accountant you need to believe in yourself and be able to add value to the business. This can take many forms. Building strong relationships with your colleagues and understanding the roles everyone plays goes a long way, especially with a company like Deep Casing Tools. It doesn’t matter if you are an accountant or an engineer, we are all working towards the same goal.

Being able to create a good pivot table also helps…”

4. What are the key responsibilities and challenges of your new position?

“I would say the key responsibilities of being an accountant are to ensure that all activities and tasks are conducted in an efficient, professional, and timely manner. All finance professionals need to be accountable and transparent in everything they do. This can range from completing standard daily tasks to supporting the financial controller during the month and year-end process. Taking on more complex and project-related work is something I enjoy as it will support my continuous development.

There are many challenges to being an accountant. They can range from keeping up to date with new regulations or amendments to accounting standards; right through to supporting management making important decisions that will help grow a business.

From a personal point of view, completing my ACCA will be a challenge but one I am looking forward to tackling head on.”

5. How do you see the role of Management Accounting evolving in the next few years?

“This is an interesting question. Whilst I am no expert on Artificial Intelligence, I believe that it will definitely play its part in how the role of the management accountant will evolve in the future. How exactly? I am unsure. I do not believe that AI will completely take over or replace the human element of the job but merely we will need to work in conjunction with AI.

Like I said previously, to be a good accountant you must be able to find ways of adding value to a business. Whether this is achieved through the provision of help and advice on financial matters; or by reducing risk through the implementation of solid accounting practices and policies, management accountants must be able to grow along with the business and the environment they work in.”