Are you in a junior position in a finance business and looking to progress? We caught up with Chris Babbage, Corporate Financial Controller at AMC Networks International – UK to find out how he progressed from Management Accountant to Financial Controller to give you an insight into what you can do to help you boost your finance career.
How did you get into finance?
It felt to me that a career in finance would give me a great opportunity to progress to a senior position within a company. I was always drawn towards the commercial path as it appeared it would be more interesting and more rewarding.
What finance pathway did you take and how important was the experience to your career development?
I started in a junior role in AP straight after finishing my A-levels and have worked my way up to the position I am in now. This has given me a great understanding of how the team works as a whole and the different dynamics that occur across the finance team – and allows me to be more in-tune with my team’s needs.
Why did you choose to move into commerce as opposed to audit or practice?
I wanted to work in a finance department where I could directly relate to the product the company produced. There is also the benefit of the exposure you get to the commercial world and working with/building relationships with people in non-finance departments.
What key skills do you need to become a Finance Manager/Controller?
The list could be pretty exhaustive, but for me the number one is the ability to communicate - the key being able to do it multi-directionally. Also, being able to identify both the strengths and weaknesses of your team, being able to support and guide your team to grow and a clear understanding of the industry you work in.
Is international experience important in today’s finance market?
I wouldn’t say that it is a must-have but be open to the opportunity if it arises. Working for a multinational corporation I haven’t had direct international experience, but I have had a lot of exposure to international finance teams which has further enhanced my finance CV.
What have been your biggest career challenges to date?
Juggling the continually evolving reporting requirements being pushed onto finance team alongside the needs of your team for their own development
What have been your biggest career highlights to date?
Finishing my exams will always be a highlight and each promotion showing the recognition for my ability to continue to grow and progress in my career
What advice would you give those looking to start a career in finance?
I stand by the route I have taken, work your way up from a junior position alongside studying for your qualification and it will set you in good stead for a high-flying future.