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ARMLife Interview with Junior Management Accountant, Francesca Down

This month, Junior Management Accountant Francesca Down discusses her journey at All Response Media that led to a role created for her. We also discover her love of baking outside of work, taking orders off her own Facebook page.

Tell us a bit about yourself and your background?

I’ve been working in finance since I was 18. I originally wanted to be a veterinary nurse, but once I realised it wasn’t all just being around cute fluffy animals, I went back to finance!

I grew up in Essex, and now I live in Lincolnshire, halfway between here and Leeds. So, it’s a long commute – 2 hours door to door, but I get to use the time to watch shows and catch up on sleep!

How did you get into finance?

When I was still in Essex, I began working in an admin-based role within a finance department, and I just got a taste for it. I ended up getting promoted within the department and started working my way up from there.

How did you end up at All Response Media?

About 5 and a half years ago, my partner and I were looking for a place to rent together. He wanted to work in the city, so it made sense to live in London and I then also started looking for a job role here. I had an interview with All Response Media and just fit right in.

What’s a typical day like for you as the Junior Management Accountant?

There’s no typical day, every day is different! We have a two-week busy period where we cover month end, which involves a lot of financial reports. We then would have a two-week period of doing ad-hoc reports and analysing people’s timesheets (that’s a big one!), then it goes back to covering month end.

And what’s your favourite thing about your role?

My favourite thing would be how every day is different, and I just love the variety. It makes each day that much more interesting and exciting.

You’ve been here for over 5 years now, what’s your most memorable moment?

The most memorable moment for me would be just over a year ago when I received the promotion for the role that I’m in now. It was a job that didn’t exist before and it was essentially created for me; so that was very rewarding indeed.

What’s your favourite thing about working at All Response Media?

Probably the social life, along with all the perks and benefits. It’s a nice company to work for where you get away days together and Christmas parties, etc. The people are great to be around, and you don’t get that everywhere.

How have things changed since you’ve been working here?     

Things have changed a lot! When we were in our previous office (in St. John’s Square) before moving to our current home in March 2017, our department moved around a few times as we started to outgrow the building! We must have been on every floor, slotting in where there was space. Then we moved to this building which is completely different and we all definitely prefer it. It’s much more open, bigger, brighter and with lots of natural daylight.

What are you most looking forward to this year?

I’m looking forward to the company away day, I’ve heard about some of the activities we’ll be doing in Windsor and it sounds like it’s going to be great fun! The rest of it is still a mystery for us at this stage.

Do you have any talents or hobbies outside of work?

Yes, I love to bake in my spare time. I have an NVQ qualification in patisserie, which I achieved concurrently to my job. I have my own Facebook page Fran’s Francies where people can see my previous work and place an order.

Have you ever thought of applying to be on the Great British Bake Off?

Everybody asks me that, you can’t do it if you have a qualification unless it’s from 10+ years ago. I’m not sure if I would be keen anyway as it seems quite stressful! I have won an amateur bake-off though. I’m a member of the Girl Guides and they did an amateur type competition, which ended up being quite professional because everyone was so good. That was as much stress as I could take I think. There were a few rounds and in the final, you had to make everything from scratch there and then without preparing, like in GBBO, in a hot kitchen! So, I couldn’t imagine doing that in a tent.

What’s your favourite thing to bake?

Probably carrot cake.

Besides baking, what’s your favourite thing to do in your spare time?

I am quite an avid amateur photographer, I like to go out and see wildlife and take photos of small things like macro photography.

You do have quite a few talents!

I think I am quite a creative person, I’m into artistic hobbies for sure.

Sounds like you’ve got the best of both worlds’, working in finance then being creative at home.

Yeah, it’s the full spectrum; I work with numbers during the week and get creative on the weekends.

Besides being creative, how would people best describe you?

Loud, talkative, always has to be right!