Daniel Hobden ACCA, senior manager, Haines Watts
This interview was first published in the February 2015 UK edition of Accounting and Business magazine
When I was younger I read an article that estimated that 70 to 80 per cent of CEOs had an accountancy background. At that stage I wasn’t sure which career I wanted, so it seemed a safe bet to study accounting and finance and ensure that all options remained open to me.
I enjoy meeting clients, hearing about their businesses, the challenges they face and the opportunities they are presented with. It’s great to hear them speak with such passion and then use our skills within the firm to assist them.
Working in the practice sector gives you a range of experience with clients across all sectors and at different stages of their business lifecycle. Also the accessibility of service line experts allows you to develop your own understanding of the different services that an accountancy firm offers.
To progress, I think it’s important to stay flexible and open-minded. Many accountants I know pass their exams and look to leave, but I personally looked to move internally first into different streams (from accountancy into business development and then into corporate finance). You can continue to develop your value in your current firm whilst strengthening your CV.
The breadth of material that you are required to study for the ACCA Qualification has technically equipped me for the challenges that I have faced on client work. And the networking opportunities that ACCA provides have helped me to broaden my contacts.
Obtaining the ACCA Qualification with some good grades and my social life still very much intact has been a particular high in my career so far. Completing my first corporate finance transaction after a few tense meetings and challenges was also rewarding.
I had to make some early changes to my career path because, after leaving university in 2008, I had my heart set on a career in corporate finance and more specifically private equity. So I adapted and followed the more traditional accounting role. Upon qualification, I made another major move by transferring into business development, which let me to develop my networking and strategic skills.
Finally, as the market recovered I moved back into chargeable work in the corporate finance service line, something that I had waited for and maintained an interest in during the downturn.
Outside of work, I enjoy spending quality time with my young daughter and my wife. When I get a chance, I enjoy going to the gym, playing golf, watching football and horse racing or having a beer with mates.
"To progress, I think it is important to stay flexible and open-minded"