Tutor profile: Fiona Winter

Happy professionals
By Fiona Winter, Director of Development

20 March 2017

Fiona Winter seemed destined to be a tutor with ICAS, but she didn't know it at the time. Here's how she turned a life-long love of numbers and teaching into a satisfying and rewarding career with the CAs of tomorrow.

The appeal of accounting

My passion for accounting began when I sat the O grade at school. I loved the logic of those numbers adding up and balancing and went on to a BAcc Hons (Bachelor of Accountancy) at Glasgow University.

I was briefly tempted by becoming a maths teacher, but really loved accounting and economics in my last couple of years at school and thought it might open more doors than a degree in maths!

Why I became a CA

The truth? I had just finished my degree and 27 of the other 29 people in my class were going on to do the CA. These were my best pals and continuing on at ICAS with them all felt like the natural next step.

I'd like to think it was much more considered decision than that and I realised all the benefits at the time, but the truth is I didn't until I had a few years of hindsight!

Now I can see so many; technical knowledge is only a small part of it. Working in a professional environment, and moving between different groups of peers (work colleagues, CA students who were on the same course as me, and clients) means I have a huge network of other professionals.

20 years after qualifying I still often walk into meetings to find myself opposite someone I met through CA circles.

Advice for students

Stick at it - anything worth doing is not going to be easy all the time. Speak to others about how your studies are going and don't be afraid to ask for help!

Deciding to teach

Given that I'd always thought about being a teacher, the jump to working with ICAS wasn't quite as natural as you'd expect.

I spent seven years with Arthur Andersen and was a Senior Tax Manager. I'd completed my CA and my CTA exams and moved into a department dealing with share schemes and flexible benefits, where I'd almost completed my CIPD qualification as well. 

I enjoyed studying (as much as you can anyway!) and in my CIPD was learning more about training and development. Within my tax role, I was teaching for a few weeks a year on a variety of internal training programmes and I just loved it.

I joined ICAS in April 2000 and have honestly never had two years the same in my time here.

Writing this down now, there are massive lit-up arrows pointing to a teaching role at ICAS, but I just didn't think about it. I was considering a move into management of training and development when a recruitment consultant (who had previously worked at ICAS) suggested I apply for a tutor role. I politely declined as I didn't have a clue about the breadth of the job, but then agreed to go for an interview just for the experience.

In that first interview, Mark Allison (still my current boss after 17 years at ICAS) talked me through what the role actually entailed, and I was hooked. I joined ICAS in April 2000 and have honestly never had two years the same in my time here.

If things had gone differently...

If I was not an ICAS tutor, I suspect I would be doing something else training-related. But I'd love to be a travel writer! I don't think I have any special or unusual talents but I spend my all my spare time travelling and being out with friends.


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