David Hasson CA: It's all about a strong career foundation
Ross McQuarrie interviews David Hasson CA, Head of Financial Control at Tesco Bank, who explains why he thinks the CA qualification is a great foundation working across sectors.
Tell us about your career so far...
I qualified as a CA in 1992 at what was then Coopers & Lybrand Deloitte in Glasgow, before joining Bank of Scotland in a financial reporting capacity. Over the course of its merger with Halifax and ultimately Lloyds, I benefited from carrying out a wide variety of Finance roles. In 2009 I left LBG and joined Vion Food Group where it was great to get experience of a different sector and learn just how transferable finance skills are cross sector. From there I joined Certas Energy Group, another sectoral jump, before returning to Financial Services in 2014 at Tesco Bank as Head of Financial Control.
My current remit is around ensuring we have a strong financial control environment within Tesco Bank. The role covers regulatory and financial reporting as well as ensuring our financial control processes are robust in each of our businesses.
“It was great to get experience of a different sector and learn just how transferable finance skills are cross sector”
What advice did you receive when you were a newly qualified CA?
I don’t recall any particularly good or bad advice. What I did benefit from though was being lucky enough to be given a number of different challenges across Bank of Scotland and ultimately LBG as I built my career. This strongly shaped my view on the benefits of providing newly qualified CAs the chance to experience a number of roles in the early stages of their career. Only by providing this opportunity can individuals gain a broader view of Finance in industry as well as forming views as to what area of Finance, or indeed outwith in business or operations, they may choose to take their career.
Given that a large amount of newly qualified CAs will have similar experiences, what can they do to differentiate themselves from their peers?
Focusing on candidates' experience is more relevant further down the line. When recruiting newly qualified members of the team, I’m really drawn to the individual’s personal traits and drive. I’m confident if I find the right talent, I can provide the right experience for them to launch their career. Therefore, be yourself at interviews, but don’t undersell yourself.
Some CAs fear being pigeon-holed in the discipline that they first move into. What would you say to them?
It’s all about having a strong foundation to build a career from. Throughout my career, as well as offering a variety of different experiences within central reporting teams, I’ve encouraged and facilitated a flow out to the business. That’s something I welcome as it delivers on a promise I’ve made on career paths but it also allows us to create the space to recruit new talent. When new recruits see a number of demonstrable career paths available to them, it is a virtuous cycle. I think Financial Control provides a great grounding for wherever you want to take your career.
Further, I think the key for me was working for someone that I trusted would provide good opportunities for me that would allow me to build my career. If that trust is not there, you need to be more proactive in looking for change. I’d say in both cases, you’re taking a conscious decision about your career.
This strongly shaped my view on the benefits of providing newly qualified CAs the chance to experience a number of roles in the early stages of their career.
What general advice would you give to newly qualified CAs about their first or next career move?
Be open minded as to the opportunities that are out there, understand how they benefit you and be confident before you join an organisation that it will provide you the foundation to build your career from.
About the author
Ross McQuarrie, Senior Consultant at Wilkinson & Associates, began his recruitment career in 2007 and he has specialised in the Accountancy and Finance market since. He has a depth of knowledge across all areas of industry, commerce and financial services and his predominant area of attention is the newly / recently qualified accountant level through to circa 5 years post qualified. The skill sets Ross regularly focuses include: Financial Reporting, Decision Support and Business Partnering, Regulatory Reporting, Statutory and Technical Accounting, Cost and Financial Analysis.
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