Lifelong Learning & Wearing Many Hats: Q&A with Tracey Cronin, Finance & Administration Manager
We kick off 2023 by catching up with our Finance & Admin Manager, Tracey — discussing all things FIS, degree studies and what's to come this year...
Tracey Cronin, FIS Chemicals Finance & Admin Manager
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FIS:What was your career path prior to joining FIS Chemicals?
Tracey: Early in my career, I worked a few different administration focused jobs, before moving into finance roles around 17 years ago. I have worked with a range of companies since then, of various scales — from SMEs to large multinationals. I think gaining experience in companies of different sizes has been a real plus — I got a good understanding of how they're structured and the way they operate.
"I am primarily responsible for the day-to-day accounting within the company, but I wear many hats..."
FIS: Tell us a little bit about your role at FIS and what areas of the business you focus on.
TC: I am primarily responsible for the day-to-day accounting within the company, but I wear many hats and enjoy having that variety in my job. In the course of a normal week, I deal with a bit of everything — from HR, to IT, to Marketing and Facilities Management. It's valuable to have a good knowledge of what's happening across the business, and in terms of what happens day-to-day in the FIS offices, I am across most of it.
FIS: You recently earned a degree — completing a BSc Accounting with CIMA at Robert Gordon University, supported by FIS — how was the experience of balancing a busy job with your studies?
TC: I had been involved with my CIMA (Chartered Institute of Management Accountants) studies for over 10 years now. I had hoped to work through the exams earlier in my career but life just kept getting in the way!
When RGU announced a part-time degree that worked in conjunction with CIMA, it made sense to enrol as I was sitting professional exams at the same time as earning a degree.
The lectures were delivered in the evenings, which meant there was no interference with my work at FIS. I was able to balance both work and study fairly easily enough, and it helped that my husband started studying a Masters at the same time. So, we were able to plan our study times together and support each other — although don’t get me wrong, there were some evenings where the books got ignored and a bottle of wine was opened... But it was worth it in the end!
FIS: How important is ongoing learning and professional development in a fulfilling career?
TC: Very! Continuous professional development has always been important to me and I think it’s imperative to keep skills and knowledge up to date. It can only enhance your contribution to the company, and the level of interest and satisfaction you get from your job.
"Businesses that invest in young staff or placements get the benefit of their fresh ideas and positive approach."
FIS: What were your other milestones and learnings from 2022?
TC: Well, I turned 40 the day before I graduated so that was the other main milestone in the year, along with being lucky enough to squeeze in a few holidays to nice places around the world… (something my colleagues remind me of, often!)
FIS: We recently had a student from Alford Academy undertake an apprenticeship placement with FIS — what key attributes can the next generation bring to the business?
TC: There are so many qualities that young people can bring to growing and established businesses. Certainly one of those is IT awareness — both in terms of the ability to use new systems and an innate understanding of social media platforms and their importance.
Younger people are also, naturally, a lot more environmentally conscious than ever before — there's more urgency and awareness of the issues and how we can act to address them.
Aside from those traits, businesses that invest in young staff or placements get the benefit of their fresh ideas and positive approach — they're not carrying the 'baggage' that comes from previous job experiences or the ingrained attitudes that might hold them back.
FIS: What are your main hopes and focuses for 2023?
TC: There are plenty of positives on the horizon for FIS — new clients, continuing to work with valued existing ones and growing our markets in a broad mix of sectors.
Personally, I will also be focusing on the final stage of my CIMA qualification... and maybe there'll be time for a holiday... or three!
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