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Public servant with a love for numbers

Meet CIPFA student Tim Mpofu, who was recently named our PQ of the Year

May 2017

Why accountancy and CIPFA?
At school, I always performed better in the numerical classes when compared to more linguistic subjects. This ultimately led to a degree in accounting and finance, which exposed me to the opportunities available within the accountancy profession.
I chose to study CIPFA because it is the only professional accountancy body exclusively dedicated to public finance in the UK. I am passionate about the work public services do and CIPFA provides the necessary foundation and continued development to ensure that as a professional, I can carry out my role effectively.

How are you getting along? How far have you got with your studies?
I am currently going through the professional diploma stage of the qualification. I plan on taking my final exams in the winter.

So how have you found the exams? Any tips on studying?
As you might expect the exams can be challenging. Exams are now online which took some getting used to as I had always done them on paper. However, if you apply yourself and work hard you can score really well. I think itís important to understand your style of learning and start working through the course materials early on.

Like many accountancy professionals you have a full-time job. How do you find balancing work/study/life?
It can be tricky to manage your time, especially during the busier periods of the year. I always find that it is important to set a plan and stick to it as much as possible when studying. As part of the training programme, we also have days where we can attend face-to-face classes as well as study leave, which is really useful. I like how there are many practical applications at work that are relevant to the course materials.

Tell us a bit more about your role at Ealing Borough Council.
I am part of the graduate programme at the Ealing. As part of the programme, trainees are placed in a key business function for a six to 12-month placement in which they gain an in-depth understanding of how the local authority accounts for its service provision.
In my two years at Ealing I have had placements in Finance Corporate, assisting in producing the statement of accounts, and in Adult Social Services, where I applied management accounting techniques learnt in my studies to budget monitoring and spend analysis activities.

Where do you see yourself in five yearsí time?
I will have completed my studies and qualified as a Chartered Public Accountant, making a positive impact on the public sector and society as a whole.

What has it been like being our PQ of the Year? Were you surprised to be the winner?
When my name was called out at the awards evening it was an amazing feeling! Itís great to be recognised for your work and contributions, but itís equally humbling to see how many people are rooting for your success. I am grateful for everyone at CIPFA and Ealing who put my name forward.

Whatís the best piece of advice you have ever had?
If at first you donít succeed, try and try again.

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