Tutor profile: Christina Ransom
Your tutors bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to the classroom, often having been in your position for a while too. Continuing our tutor profile series, Christina Ransom, who works for ICAS but is employed by BPP, talks about following your passion and the value of the CA qualification.
Accountancy was an easy decision
I studied mathematics at the University of Oxford. I picked it simply because I enjoyed it – whenever it came to do my A-level homework, I always started with the maths as it was the one I found most satisfying. Following your passions is probably not a bad way to make decisions.
During the summer holidays of my second year at university, I did an internship with Ernst and Young. I was able to work across the business areas, so it gave me a really good insight about what a career with them might bring. Accountancy seemed a great grounding for the world of work, that could bring a whole host of opportunities with different careers and travel. Ernst and Young also offered to keep my job offer open while I travelled abroad for a year after university, so that certainly helped to sweeten the deal.
Becoming a CA to open doors
It wasn’t a conscious choice to study with ICAS. Ernst and Young offered it as part of its training contract and so it was the path I was swept along. Fresh from university, I was in the groove of studying already, so it seemed the best idea just to keep on going and get qualified at the start of my career.
For me, the principal benefit of being a Chartered Accountant is the opportunities that are always open to you. It is a gateway qualification that will always be respected and recognised whatever you end up doing in life. No matter what happens – in times of growth or recession – accountants will always be in demand. Even if you end up leaving the profession, it is unlikely that you will regret having gained such a prestigious qualification.
Being a CA means that you have great analytical skills – you can work logically, quickly and skilfully in a variety of different situations. You tend to take this for granted when you spend your days surrounded by other CAs at college or in the workplace, but it really is a special skill that makes you stand out from the crowd.
After finishing university, I spent a year working with Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) in Russia. I taught English and worked in a variety of social projects in a city at the edge of Siberia. It was certainly an eye-opening experience and one that provided a welcome change of perspective after life at university, but before starting my career at Ernst and Young.
I qualified as a CA whilst working with Ernst and Young in Bristol in their audit department.
Being a CA means that you have great analytical skills. You tend to take this for granted when you spend your days surrounded by other CAs, but it really is a special skill.
An inevitable move to the classroom
I come from a family of teachers - there was an air of inevitability that I would join them. And so it came to pass that I joined BPP as a tutor.
I teach across a variety of accountancy qualifications, specialising in tax and audit papers. I returned to the classroom and completed my Chartered Tax Adviser exams; a strange experience to be the other side of the lectern.
I enjoy the technical challenge of teaching professional qualifications students – you are a smart bunch who regularly ask me questions that really make me think. That’s the way I like it, though; it’s good to be kept on my toes and not to become complacent.
Striking a work-life balance
I have been lucky enough to take a few sabbaticals during my career and so have managed to travel around a fair amount of the globe. However, there is always so much more to see that I would definitely like to spend some more time travelling. Australia and Central America are on the list of places to see.
I have two small children, so much of my spare time is spent running around after them.
I sing in an acappella choir with a really varied repertoire from show tunes to songs in Bulgarian or ancient Swedish. There are plenty of opportunities to perform in formal concerts or busking events around the city. Great fun.
To unwind and keep fit I also go running. Bristol is a great city to run in – within a single run you can be admiring the boats in the harbour and running along the towpath up to the woods.
I am known for my enthusiasm and inability to say no to anything – “no one is keener than Christina”.
Don’t reinvent the wheel
It is so important to be positive about your studies. Everyone wants you to pass – your employer, your tutor, your family and friends and most importantly yourself. Use this positive energy and the war spirit with your classroom colleagues to believe in yourself and your ability to be successful.
Listen to your tutor and seek their assistance proactively whenever you can. They have a wealth of experience about how to study, approach questions and revise. Don’t reinvent the wheel – take their advice and use it in a way that works for you.