As I work with my clients, one thing that I believe is most important, is that a rapport/relationship develops and becomes a friendship. I do believe that building trust adds far more value to the service I provide, more than any amount of jargon or fancy theories! I have been in the very same position and had the same problems and issues as all of my clients have had. So I’ve decided to briefly explain who I am, how I got into the world of accounting and what I do for my clients that nobody else does.
Well, so who am I? I’m James Perry, a 37 year old Chartered Accountant who lives in Co Down in N. Ireland. My journey started many years ago in my village Primary School when I dramatically failed the transfer test, and where I was bluntly told by my old Headmaster in no uncertain terms that I wasn’t particularly intelligent. So at 11 years of age I went to High School with one intention – to prove him wrong!
High School came and went, and I didn’t perform so badly in my GCSE’s, but by the age of 16 I had worked out that I wanted to be an Accountant. I bet you’re asking, “So why an Accountant then?” Well, it was the same reason as most, the stereotype of lots and lots of money, a secure job and social status (some stereotypes are not hugely realistic though). I went to my local college with this intention, to pursue A levels in Maths, Physics and Accounting – after the first year I failed Physics miserably and struggled hugely at Maths. So I took the headstrong decision to repeat my first year over again and replaced Physics with Politics – this was perhaps one of the key decisions in my life so far. After 3 years of A levels (and nearly failing the Politics paper due to poor time management), I got the grades that enabled me to go to University and complete both an Undergraduate degree and Masters degree, both in Accounting.
Uni for me was really really tough. What do I do with all this freedom and socialising and you have to do some studying too? No way! However it was when I was undertaking University exams where I really noticed how I studied, how I tackled exams in my own way, and became more efficient and effective in how I did it, something just clicked.
After University, the world of work loomed large and boy it hit me even harder. Working in a large Accounting Firm in Belfast having to work 9 or 10 hours a day for less money than you would get stacking shelves in a supermarket. I then took my finals for Chartered Accountants Ireland and I had to work and study at the same time as well as work overtime – it was a hard slog. But I qualified in 2006 and things started to change, I got much more money and more career opportunities and all the effort started to show signs of paying off – eventually. I actually now have to thank that old Headmaster in Primary School for giving me the motivation to prove him wrong.
But underneath it all I have always been empathic, enjoyed helping others, and get great satisfaction when I explain something to someone and it clicks with them. I have previously lectured in Queen’s University, Belfast, University of Ulster, lectured privately and also had a secondment in Grant Thornton’s Training Centre outside London. These certainly helped my presentation skills, technical ability and interaction with others. I was Senior Audit Manager with Grant Thornton and had responsibilities including developing junior staff, again a role I performed when I was Financial Controller in Industry. Both these roles developed within me a passion for helping others, especially those undertaking exams.
About 3 years ago an opportunity came my way to actually coach someone undertaking ACCA exams (in London through Skype) rather than just preaching and lecturing (see my previous post “Academic Coaching v Tutoring……… the difference!”). I used my experience and journey regarding exams to guide and coach my client how to pass their exam, which was a repeat, and it worked! I saw a process in how to tackle exams that is applicable to ALL exams whether Accounting or other disciplines and it all started from there. What makes it even better is that I love coaching because of the personal interaction and the fact that I’m making a difference.
I enjoy coaching so much I have completed an Executive Coaching Course with Cambridge University and I also coach a local football team. So you can say it’s sort of in my blood!
So how can I help?
- Improve Confidence and Self Belief
- Focus on Mindset and Motivation
- Enhance Study Environment and Study Technique
- Develop Exam Technique
- Stress the Importance of Past Papers
- Provide Critical Marking and Review of Past Papers and Assignments
- Provide Insight on how Examiners might think
- Brief review of content if required
Why is my service so unique?
- It’s unique because I am an Exam coach rather than a tutor/ teacher.
- I have been there, done it and worn the T-shirt, the same as everyone else. I know exactly what all students/clients go through, it wasn’t that long ago that I was going through the same pressures and emotions.
- I was always frustrated that teachers and lecturers would only talk about the important stuff in the last 5 minutes of the last lecture of the term – Studying, Exam Structure and Exam Technique isn’t covered very well. I review this important stuff much much earlier on.
- The vast majority of students fail exams not due to lack of knowledge, but the lack of technique, process and practice in completing exams, this is something I will focus on.
- I have pulled together all my experiences regarding how I motivated myself, how I studied, and how I approached exams including some weird, wonderful and wacky methods! I have also researched other techniques in order to supplement my experiences (for example thinking and relaxation techniques). I will pass this on in a frank and honest manner in a relationship built on rapport and support.
- I will tell you how it is and will encourage you, the client to come up with your own ideas and solutions, this is the basis of good coaching.
- You will be able to ask me anything and can contact me at anytime.
“Since the start of the second year in university I had been trying to find a someone to help me with my Accountancy degree modules with no luck until James was recommended. At the start I was quite surprised by how James taught as he didn’t focus on the actual modules but rather the way in which I learnt, revised and how to answer questions the way you’re supposed to (rather than my usual rambling!) as well as also provided me with many techniques on how to get the highest marks possible within an exam for layouts and structure etc. James helped me realise that nothing was worth getting myself into a complete state with worry but rather that if I tried my best it would work out. He was a great help when it came to past papers as he showed me where exactly I went wrong as well as how to rectify it. I don’t think I could have passed my exams this semester without his help!”
– A McC 2nd Year Accounting Degree Student, University of Ulster February 2016
By creating a relaxed but interactive and challenging environment, I WILL ensure you get the balance right to achieve your potential.
So there it is – my Journey into Accounting!