ACCA member Joanne didn't have the easiest start in life, but a desire to gain independence led her to the finance industry. It's here where she found her drive. Now CFO, she can look back at her challenges knowing as hard as they were at the time, it was all worth it.
This year, I was made CFO at Ebit Business Solutions - a rapidly growing procurement service provider. It’s been a journey full of challenges, but now I’m here - it’s clear the hard work was worth it.
I didn’t have the easiest start in life. My early years were spent in foster care, an experience that left me with the drive to be independent and not be reliant on others. A lack of a support network meant leaving education at 16 to be able to earn money and get by.
My first job was as an admin assistant with my local council. The environment and challenges inspired me, and in watching the surrounding accountants I saw a career path that could offer me the independence I craved…. plus it was perfect for someone with a head for numbers!
I began studying AAT whilst still at the council. At the same time, I spent my evenings working at a pub and weekends at an Estate Agents in order to make ends meet. Once AAT qualified, I left my job at the council to be a Financial Controller for an agricultural firm. My drive to progress in finance led me to ACCA, and I started the qualification in June 2010.
A couple of years later I landed a job with my dream employer (a major high street retailer). After a few knock backs, including pausing my ACCA studies, I was given the role of Procurement Analyst on a 12-month contract. I really wanted to work within their finance team so took anything I could get just to get my foot in the door there, and within 6 months I got handed my chance and was seconded over to finance. In 2012, I was made permanent and promoted to the role of Senior Commercial Insight Analyst. 18 months later, I was promoted to Commercial Finance Manager and was also able to resume my ACCA studies, studying in the evenings and weekends.
In 2016, I completed my final exams and became an ACCA Member.
In 2017, I was approached by a smaller business called Ebit Business Solutions who were looking for a new Head of Finance. At the time this felt like a huge risk. I loved my job and had worked so hard to get it, but the offer of joining a business to help it grow and the opportunity to put everything I had learned through the ACCA Qualification into practice was too good to pass up.
In less than two years with Ebit, I was promoted to CFO. As daunting as the role was - I knew that with the combination of my desire to succeed and everything ACCA taught me, I had the ingredients to succeed.