There are a lot of preconceptions about the world of accountancy. Many people assume that accountants spend all day at their desk crunching numbers. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Accountants help businesses evolve so that they can move on to the next level; they are at the forefront of business strategy.  

And at the University of Cumbria, our mission is to inspire and equip our graduates with the skills and knowledge they need to help our communities and economies to thrive. We do this through learning, applied research and practice, therefore it should be no surprise for you to know that I came into this to make a difference. 

Igniting imaginations, nurturing curiosity 

As an academic, I always try to think outside the box and plan a lesson that's different, whether that is planning a trip, launching the Finance Forum, or taking a class outside. I also tailor my approach to every student’s individual needs. 

I want my students’ learning experience to reflect the world they will be entering and so adopt innovative teaching practices to bring theory to life. For example, I have created a stock market simulator which helps students understand economic theory. Encouraging entrepreneurship, students in the first year are given a small amount of money which they can exchange for shares. This is a particularly effective at getting them to understand the law of supply and demand. I see their faces light up when they make money and it is great to see them competing in teams. 

Similar to the Dragon’s Den concept, students in another group are tasked with pitching a business idea. The catch is that they must analyse the financial statements of their competitors. Not only do they have a great time planning a start-up, but you find that they are also mastering their analytical skills without even realising it. 

Research has shown that we learn more when we are enjoying ourselves - learning must be fun! 

My students look forward to the games that I create. I try to incorporate a sense of mystery within my classrooms and sometimes I like to put the responsibility for learning on them. They rise to the occasion and enjoy this aspect of learning and challenge. 

In Cumbria:

Making sure every student matters 

The University of Cumbria attracts a brilliant international cohort and as a teacher it is important for me to make each student feel comfortable. So, I encourage my students to discuss their backgrounds with each other. For example, we attract several students from Nepal and India and I regularly discuss case studies from these regions to make them feel included.  

Also, an international student recently completed an amazing presentation on a new payment system being rolled out by the Government of India. It is fantastic to see students grow in confidence like this and share their financial knowledge with home students. It is also advantageous that the University of Cumbria benefits from smaller cohorts, creating a sense of belonging and community among the cohorts and each student spends more time with their tutor. 

Finance Forum 

Following a period of extensive planning, the Finance Forum launched in September 2022. The Finance Forum brings together online university academics, business leaders, and practitioners to discuss current trends impacting finance and accounting. Discussions are facilitated in a casual atmosphere, and the free forum features industry topics that are on the minds of students, such as inflation and cryptocurrency. It was a highlight to see that the CIMA awarding panel singled this out as a fantastic platform for learning and I’m looking forward to continuing the forum lectures in 2023. 

Details of the 2023 Finance Forum events can be found at