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Six inspiring career lessons from McDonald's CFO

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When ACCA fellow Paul Pomroy joined McDonald's in 1996 he accepted the job without knowing exactly what role he would initially be placed in, 'I joined the brand,’ he says.

After completing his week-long stint on the McDonald's restaurant floor – compulsory for all new joiners wherever they work – he started as a real estate analyst.

He has been at McDonald’s for 18 years working in various financial and business roles and was promoted to CFO for UK and Northern Europe in 2012. He runs an 85-strong finance team and has a remit that covers corporate finance, pricing and profitability; and also includes responsibility for the fast-food giant’s £360m-a-year UK supply chain.

Paul’s ACCA Qualification has stood him in good stead. ‘In my early career, it was a massive help to me, especially moving into a retail environment and having that breadth of knowledge to rely on. As I’ve gone through my career there’s learning you can still look back on that helps you think in a different way. It helps you understand the business in a way that gives you a competitive advantage.’

Here are his 6 career lessons he has learnt whilst helping to run a billion dollar fast food chain:

  1. ‘Always make sure that you are ready for the next opportunity, and continue to develop yourself and understand the business, so that when opportunities come, your name is there. Self-development as an individual is really important.’
  2. A lot of ideas come from group situations or an individual with a spark that you may not be aware of within a team. You need to allow people to bubble those ideas up.’
  3. ‘You have to keep on investing. Brands that continue to evolve are the ones that continue to invest.’
  4. Develop your commerciality and ability to present financial information to a very broad range of people across the business.
  5. ‘Always try and visualise and understand the way your customers will react to something you are doing. You need to keep the customer at the heart of your decision-making.’
  6. Make a difference and bring finance to life in the company. Constantly consider whether your time is being invested in the right areas, how you are adding value and help guide the right decisions for the business.
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