AT A GLANCE
Registered with ACCA: December 2005
Passed final exams: June 2011
Achieved membership: September 2011
Current employment: FS risk and regulatory consultant, PA Consulting Group, London
ACCA member Nick Palamaras carefully mapped his career path to help him achieve his ACCA goals.
‘I have worked at Citibank and in the consulting practice of a Big Four firm,' he says, 'and now I work within a management, technology and innovation consultancy. As a result, I gained the broad experience I needed to become an effective ACCA member, and also a deep understanding of banking and capital markets sectors, and of how to manage projects and people.’
Nick is currently working for PA Consulting Group where he is an FS risk and regulatory consultant: ‘My role is to help our clients – primarily retail, corporate and investment banks, as well as wealth and investment managers – take the right decision regarding the impacts of various risks and regulatory changes on their business. This requires integrity, excellent communication and interpersonal skills, and a real understanding of the client’s needs and demands.’
Nick began his journey to ACCA membership after completing a postgraduate degree in banking and finance, having already spent one-and-a-half years at Citibank.
Growth and flexibility
‘I wanted to expand my horizons and keep my career moving through professional development,’ he explains. ‘I opted for ACCA as it is a dynamic professional qualification that offers opportunities for personal growth and career flexibility. This is highly relevant as accountancy is a profession that offers many opportunities, as every organisation values the "big picture" that an accountant can provide.’
Having already gained seven-and-a-half years’ work experience at Citibank and at a Big Four firm, Nick quickly progressed to ACCA membership on passing his exams – although it was still hard work.
‘ACCA requires a lot of effort,’ says Nick. ‘Working while studying is difficult, although getting the right experience is just as important as passing the exams, which is why I decided to switch from practice to consultancy.’ He also moved from Greece to London which was, for him, a highly successful decision.
‘There are many benefits to being in London,’ he comments. ‘It is one of the largest global economies and at the centre of any regulatory change, while also one of the world’s top financial centres, with interests in investment, retail and corporate banking sectors.’
An ACCA member since 2011, Nick acknowledges the ‘massive help’ membership has been not only to his professional development but also in giving him the skills he needs to perform his role.
‘As I progress there is always learning that I can look back on to help me understand business in a way that gives me a competitive advantage in the job market,’ he comments.
As a result, Nick advises students and affiliates to progress to membership as soon as they can.
‘ACCA membership is a great accomplishment and brings more opportunities for career progression. What’s more, employers value ACCA as a validation of skills, and as a qualification that will support their strategy and their drive towards their objectives.’