A coffee with… Lucy Cunnah, Finance Director

Article posted on: 2nd March 2021

In the latest edition of our ‘A coffee with…’ feature we caught up with Lucy Cunnah, Finance Director.

Firtly, huge congratulations to Lucy on her recent IoD (Institute of Directors) success having achieved IoD diploma! We found out more from Lucy about her IoD achievement, her career to date, and she also provides some invaluable advice for all those working towards their qualifications.

Tell us briefly about your role as Finance Director
I view my role as having two distinct sides. The first is ensuring sound financial management and control of the company’s business, alongside my team; this is the day-to-day element of the role. The second is the strategic side, where I provide strategic financial guidance to the Board to ensure that our financial commitments are met and to keep us progressing as a company. These are equally important and I operate a continuous improvement approach for both. I am also responsible for IT, a role in which I am still finding my feet and learning about.

What education/qualifications did you complete prior to your current role?
I fell into the world of accounts without any particular design, having applied for a number of different jobs after completing my A-Levels. I started in an accountancy practice as an accounts junior and quickly found that I enjoyed and had an aptitude for it. I began my professional accountancy exams shortly thereafter, completing them and achieving chartership in 2003 with the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, followed by fellowship status in 2009.

What was involved in the lead up to achieving your IoD diploma?
The first stage of the IoD qualification is the certificate stage, which consists of four skill areas (Finance, Strategy, Leadership and Role of the Director). I was exempt from the Finance, but attended courses for the remaining three, followed by a separate exam for each. Upon completion of this stage, you can then attend a further course for the Diploma stage, which focuses on the application of the skills learnt at certificate stage, in a mock board environment. I then took a three-hour exam designed to test my knowledge and application.

Was support provided by the company/individual(s)? 
I found out about the IoD qualification through Jane Milligan in 2019 and, being new to the Board and keen to do my best in the role, I discussed with the Board how enthusiastic I was to do it. Everyone was very supportive of this and have supported me throughout, particularly when I’ve had to take time out of the day job to attend courses and complete exams. They’ve always been delighted to hear about my exam results!

After all the hard work, what will you be doing with all your spare time now?!
Well not much currently! I have started teaching myself to play the piano, which I fit in around family duties and I’m finding really enjoyable.

Best piece of advice you would give to anyone working towards a qualification, particularly with the current difficulties Covid presents?
The main piece of advice I would give is that you need to enjoy and believe in the qualification that you’re studying for, and the rest will follow. It’s undoubtedly difficult to find the time around a busy and responsible job and commitments at home, so you need the intrinsic motivation to keep you going.

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