Students learn about juggling multi-million-pound budgets

Sixth formers were given the chance to juggle with a budget of millions when they became accountants for the day at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU).

The university hosted the Midlands Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) Sixth Form Games, which aims to help A-level students learn more about what is involved in public sector finances.

Ashby School CIPFA
The winning team from Ashby School

Leicester City Council’s finances team played a key role, acting as mentors and characters in a fictitious scenario. Students were put into teams and asked to be a university management team, dealing with issues such as property investments and funding cuts.

Two teams from Ashby School, a team from Southfields School in Kettering and Countesthorpe College took part. Each were supported by a mentor who was a practising CIPFA accountant or student.  

The winners were one of the teams from Ashby School, led by Leah O’Shea who played Vice-Chancellor. She said: “I’m so proud. At the start I thought this is going to be very challenging which it was, but our team had a range of skills that everyone brought to play.

“It has been really enjoyable day and I have learned more about accountancy as a career now.”

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Bev Vickerstaff, Head of Department for Accounting and Finance at DMU, welcomed them to DMU and gave an outline of opportunities and careers in accounting.

CIPFA is one of the leading professional accountancy bodies in the UK and the only one to specialise in the public sector. Students learn about team work, dealing with time pressures and organisational skills during the exercise.

Mark Lovell of CIPFA said: “An objective of the game is to provide an opportunity to better understand the role of Accountants working in the public sector and how we influence, improve and deliver better and quality public services with improved outcomes for local communities, the students have demonstrated the necessary skills and behaviours that have enabled them, as part of team, to address real issues. The public sector would benefit from the recruitment  of such talent and hopefully, after today, some of the students will consider public finance."

CIPFA working
Ben Matthews, who has worked for the city council for two years, was a mentor to Southfields sixth formers. He said: “I think this is good, it gives students the chance to meet people who work in accountancy and ask us questions about what the job is like, and also see what a university environment is like.”

Alison Greenhill, director of finance at Leicester City Council, told the students: “I hope that after today, you think it is a lot more interesting than you thought. Public sector accountancy can offer so many options. It is something different every day.”

Posted on Thursday 12th July 2018

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