The importance of personal development

by Julia McLarty

04 February 2019


Julia McLarty, head of redevelopment finance at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Trust, is one of the learners who completed the HFMA higher diploma and graduated during our annual conference in December last year. She is now determined to also complete the MBA that we offer with BPP University.

We asked Julia what made her join the NHS and what is her secret for balancing her studies with a successful career and a personal life.

How did you start your NHS finance journey?
My first job in the NHS was as a university sandwich placement student working in the internal audit department of an inner-London acute teaching hospital. I really enjoyed the culture of working in a busy hospital and admired the ethos of the NHS. I returned back to university to finish my degree in accounting and finance and then secured a graduate role as a management accountant at my local primary care trust where I completed my professional accountancy qualifications. I have remained in NHS finance ever since.

Why did you get involved with the HFMA?
I joined the HFMA in my first permanent management role after qualifying as an accountant in order to keep up-to-date with NHS finance issues. The association provides a wide variety of resources specific to the sector which allow me to meet my professional CPD requirements and contribute to my wider development as an accountant working in the NHS.

What’s the most important HFMA member benefit for you?
The events, a lot of which are free to members. HFMA brings people together and I have benefited from hearing from a variety of national and expert leaders at HFMA events over the years which has been highly valuable and energising.

What made you pursue the HFMA qualifications?
I volunteered to participate in the pilot of one of the first modules of the qualification in 2017 and enjoyed the course content and delivery. Once I finished the first module I wanted to continue to complete the higher diploma and now that I’ve finished the higher diploma I am keen to study the MBA which I am due to start in February.

My favourite module was Creating and delivering value. This module helped me to think about the role of finance in delivering the best outcomes for patients within the finite resources available which I am sure will continue to be a challenge in the years to come.

How did you find the balance between studying and working?
I found the balance between studying and working challenging but manageable once I got into a routine. I became more disciplined as I progressed through the modules and learnt very quickly that work and personal life mean that everything can’t be left to the end! The delivery of the Academy live sessions in the evenings was also helpful, as it provided dedicated time outside working hours for study.

Do you think the qualification has been beneficial for your career?
Definitely. I started my first module on Personal effectiveness and leadership when I was changing jobs and the knowledge and skills gained in the course assisted in a very smooth transition between organisations and roles. I frequently draw on the things I’ve learnt as part of the various modules in the higher diploma, and it has given me more confidence in my abilities to contribute to discussions and share my views.

What piece of advice do you have for others in NHS finance/people who are starting their NHS finance journey now?
Make the most of every opportunity you are given to develop.


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Julia McLarty
Julia McLarty
Head of Redevelopment Finance, Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Trust