Tom W.

Finance Business Partner
Happy to mentor
Happy to be contacted

About me

Tom W.
English and Related Literature
English/Writing and Performance
Taught Postgraduate
United Kingdom

My employment

Finance Business Partner
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
United Kingdom
Government and civil service
Large business (250+ employees)

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A day in the life of a Finance Business Partner in the United Kingdom

I am currently studying with CIPFA to become a qualified public sector accountant. This sits alongside my job at the County Council, where I have worked in the Strategic Financial Planning team and Business Partnering Services team.

Briefly describe the organisation you work for

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

What do you do?

I am the Finance Business Partner for Northern Ireland, EU and International Trade, within the International and Borders Group. I provide financial advice and support to budget holders, supporting with forecasting and business cases for major projects.

Reflecting upon your past employment and education, what led you to your current career choice?

I've done a variety of different jobs since graduating, first working for Cambridge University Press, then for Hasbro Games writing instruction manuals, before training as an English teacher. I worked in secondary schools for eight years before re-training as an accountant, which is very different to teaching indeed!

Is your current job sector different from what you thought you would enter when you graduated?

Entirely different! I always assumed I would do something using my writing skills, which I did at first, but now I find myself using spreadsheets and looking after large sums of money, which is certainly not what I envisaged as a twenty-year-old student!

Describe your most memorable day at work

While completing my accountancy training at North Yorkshire County Council, I got the chance to shadow a social worker for a day, to meet some of the people the council provides services for and see how public money that accountants manage, whether in local or central government, gets put to really good use.

Are there any challenges associated with your job?

Studying for accountancy exams at the same time as working required lots of effort and good time management when juggling this with family life. Now that I am qualified, managing multi-million pound budgets comes with a high level of responsibility and challenge, which I enjoy!

What’s your work environment and culture like?

The work-life balance is good - my job is busy and provides a high level of challenge, but I still find time for my hobbies and for my family.

What extracurricular activities did you undertake at university and what transferable skills did you develop through these?

Writing and editing for Vision newspaper, volunteering with York Students in Schools, presenting a radio show on University Radio York.

What would you like to do next with your career?

I would like to progress in the Civil Service. There are many opportunities and directions you can go in within public sector finance.

What top tips do you have for York students preparing for today’s job market and life after graduation?

Be flexible and open-minded: don't be too set on one thing, as you don't really know what will suit you best until you try it. Give things a fair shot, but equally, don't stick doing something for years and years if it's not right for you.

What topics from students are you happy to answer questions on?

I've had a wide range of career experiences, and I think I've finally found my niche, so I'd be keen to answer questions on choosing the right career and how to get started in it.

Next steps...

If you like the look of Tom’s profile, the next steps are down to you! You can send Tom a message to find out more about their career journey. If you feel you would benefit from more in-depth conversations, ask Tom to be your mentor.

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