‘Surreal and somewhat ridiculous’: Manchester accountant best in world

A University of Manchester alumnus has been crowned the best accountancy student in the world, after scoring a global high score out of 22,078 entrants.

Harriet Fisher scored 90% in her Business Analysis exam, as part of her Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) qualifications – placing her at the pinnacle of professional accountancy students.

And the 25-year-old – originally of Leighton Buzzard but resident of Edinburgh since 10 ‘without picking up the accent’ – was pretty excited to find out about her achievement, although she was quick to point out to MM that luck may have played it’s part in her unbelievable score as well.

“It’s surreal and somewhat ridiculous,” she told MM.

“I worked hard for the exams but some of it definitely came down to the luck of the questions on the day.

“They were pretty difficult both because of the subject matter and also having to juggle work and study.

“I had absolutely no idea I did as well as I did – I was pretty sure I’d passed but wasn’t expecting anything else.

“In terms of raised expectations, there’s been a bit of a running joke within my department every time exams results came out that I might have won another prize after the first time. 

“At the end of the day, as long as I’ve passed that’s all that really matters.”

Harriet studied History and Spanish at UoM, and has stayed in the city since graduating, currently working as a senior auditor in accountancy firm RSM’s internal audit division.

And although she admitted that the main reason she chose to study in Manchester was because she was impressed with the university, she said that she has enjoyed living in the city – both as a student and a professional.

“It was all down to the open day,” she said.

“I really liked the feel of the University and the city and it seemed like a lively place to be a student, as well as being a good university.

“It’s quite different now to when I was a student mainly because so much of my life used to be down in Fallowfield or on Oxford Road and now I rarely go there.

“I’m enjoying seeing another side of the city though and am glad I stuck around after University.”

Accountancy is hardly a romantic occupation, often the reserve of the practical and the professionally ambitious.

Harriet does not buck that trend, admitting that accountancy was more an opportunity taken advantage of than a career she had long coveted.

“Not many children grow up dreaming of a career in accountancy,” she said.

“But when I left University the job market was pretty tough for graduates.

“The chance to attain a professional qualification, gain experience working for a well-regarded accountancy firm and therefore be exposed to a wide variety of clients seemed like something I was never going to regret.

“The job is going really well. My last two ACCA exams are in December and then I’ll hopefully qualify in early 2016.

“My main goal at the moment is passing the last few hurdles before I qualify.

“We’ll have to wait and see what the future holds.”

Image courtesy of Ken Teegardin, via Flickr, with thanks

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