Nicki Eastlake-Bent: Being a CA is a global career passport

Nicki Eastlake-Bent
By Ellen Arnison, Student Blog

6 October 2016

Nicki Eastlake-Bent, International Tax Manager for Specsavers, credits her CA and ITP qualifications with opening doors and giving her the confidence to walk through them. ITP is the ICAS Tax Professional qualification, a specialist tax qualification taken by Nicki alongside her CA.

In her job, she supports the international finance teams and often travels to work with them. “The role entails a wide variety of different responsibilities including preparing transfer pricing documentation and benchmarking reports, assisting with the tax consolidation of the international countries at year-end, monitoring the global tax compliance of the group as well as keeping up-to-date with any advancements in legislation in the territories where we are based,” she said.

“Without the CA and ITP, I would not have had the necessary qualifications, experience or confidence to apply for this role.

“I work in tax, and therefore completing the CA wasn’t a requirement to do my job – I could have just done the ITP (or other standalone tax qualifications), but I chose to do both as it meant that I had a wider understanding of the area I was working in – and because you never know what may happen in the future.

“Becoming a CA takes a lot of hard work and as such comes with a certain amount of respect and prestige within the industry and I have no doubt that because it was on my CV I was considered for an interview for my current role.”

But being a CA wasn’t a first career choice, or even a second, for Nicki. She studied biochemistry and psychology at university before spending four and a half years as a police officer with Gloucestershire Police Force.

An important requirement of the jobs you tend to end up in, as a CA, is to be good communicators and to progress quickly, so networking skills are vitally important.

Inspired by the career of an accountant friend and in search of a better work-life balance, she decided to train as a CA with EY. “I think it’s really important to keep you mind open and be flexible to different possibilities that may arise – and also it’s never too late,” she said.

“I find it strange that the accountancy profession still has this stereotype of being a boring job, yet the people I met whilst studying and through my jobs are the polar opposite of this.

“An important requirement of the jobs you tend to end up in, as a CA, is to be good communicators and to progress quickly, so networking skills are vitally important. As such, the majority of accountants are actually really interesting, fun and excellent conversationalists, which makes for a great working environment.”

As well as giving her a career she wouldn’t otherwise have had, Nicki still sees benefits from her association with ICAS.

“Being able to tell people that I’m a chartered accountant gives me an immense amount of pride. I worked hard for my qualification and it wasn’t a walk in the park – but the rewards and benefits are well worth it.

“Now I’m a member I get daily emails keeping me up-to-date with relevant news, this is such a time saver. There are also opportunities to attend professional development courses and various conferences as well as social events.”

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