Michael Baxter - Business partner: cost and investment

Michael works in our head office finance team, supporting the whole business to manage its costs and  profitability. 

I had no idea at all what I wanted to do when I left school, well none that I remember! I really enjoyed maths, economics and sociology best, they all give you a way of seeing the world which I found to be very useful. 

Academically, I did well achieving ten GCSEs and four A-levels however, grade-wise I didn’t get any As or A*s proving it’s not all about the grades you get! After school I went on to get a 2:1 in management and administrative studies at Aston University. Essentially this was a broad business studies degree and included topics from all areas of business from consumer behaviour, strategic finance, economics, IT and management which gave me a good basis on which to job hunt. 

My first job was actually whilst I was still in school working at a pub washing the pots - I turned up shortly after my 16th birthday with a friend of mine and got a job! My first job in finance was by chance, I was working in admin support as a ‘temp’ and I was asked to cover maternity leave for sales ledger (where invoices are issued from). It involved issuing and chasing payment of invoices with customers, most of which I got to know very well. 

Whilst I was there, I was approached to train as an accountant. There are three main institutions in accountancy and the one I chose was CIMA (the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants). I was supported to complete my training and exams by the company I worked for and the modules were mainly done in the evening and at weekends over two years. It was hard work on top of a full-time job but fortunately,  I had some exemptions due to my degree studies, so normally it might take three or four years.

I joined The Nottingham in 2008 as assistant management accountant and after several years, I was promoted to a management accountant and then to business partner for costs and Investment, still in the same area but operating at a more senior level. It is a really busy role, with lots of demands on my time and brain power (I deal with numbers and data extensively) but it suits me and what I am good at. 

Before anyone starts looking at what they want to do for a career, I would recommend finding out about yourself first, what kind of person you are and what you like and enjoy. People like talking about themselves, so ask as many people you can about their careers to find out if they will be a good fit for you – what do they enjoy or dislike about their jobs. Then push yourself and don’t settle for a job you find easy, you will get bored. However, if you get to level you’re happy, don’t beat yourself up staying there, people are of the most value to themselves and a company at their right level! 


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