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Business member: working with Peppa Pig

In the first article of a series focusing on LSCA members in business, Jessica Bernardez tells London Accountant about moving jobs while on maternity leave, finding role models and her future life with Peppa Pig.

Jessica Bernardez

August 2018

Jessica Bernardez is on her last day of maternity leave before starting a new job at Entertainment One UK, the TV and film production company famed for a certain cheeky piggy that will be well known to all those with young children. Working within the Family & Brands division, Bernardez will be responsible for managing budgets and forecasts as director of financial planning and analysis. The division manages the licences for the company’s key brands, which of course includes Peppa Pig.

“Peppa Pig is a global brand, so the business needs to keep track of a multitude of licences, and one challenging area that I might be looking into is how Brexit is going to affect foreign exchange rates,” Bernardez explains.

Having trained and qualified with mid-tier firm Smith & Williamson, Bernardez worked for a year in the finance team at Cancer Research before taking nine months maternity leave. At Cancer Research, Bernardez was responsible for financial planning and shared production of the monthly management accounts. But now she is preparing for life in a listed company.

“Entertainment One is a well-known company in an exciting industry, and people are always interested in where you work rather than what you do,” Bernardez explains. “I’ll be working with a great manager and working for a division called Family & Brands suggests that they will be family friendly!”

She adds that her chief operating officer is also a chartered accountant, and will be able to act as a role model, having moved from a ‘finance first’ position into an operational role. “This was a big ‘tick box’ for me,” she says. “Having that person who can guide you and advise you on the shift from thinking about everything finance to a wider role is just so important.”

This touches on one of the challenges that often faces chartered accountants working in business. Instead of being surrounded by accountants, as would be the case in an accountancy practice, it is more likely that you will be in a small team working within a much larger organisation with people who have a broad range of roles and skills. “I would always look for a situation where, even if the finance team isn’t the largest, there will be good business partnerships in place,” she says. “I would struggle in an organisation where people didn’t know who was in the finance department. But it is a two way thing, you need to be able to add the human element and show why finance matters and where it can help.”

An interesting challenge, and one that might become more prevalent in the future, is the issue of trust – Bernardez raises the issue in the context of recent audit events and the wider debate over the role of audit. “Trust is an issue for auditors, but it is something that could spill over into business,” she explains. “There could be an expectations gap where accountants are expected to know everything, but we can’t if we are not told about the important issues.”

Away from playing with pigs, Bernardez is also actively involved with ICAEW – as a former chair of the ICAEW Student Council, she sat on the main ICAEW Council and was then co-opted to remain on the Council in June 2017. And as she returns to work, so she plans to become more involved with the LSCA’s Younger Members Group.

But for now, she is looking forward to returning to work and playing a role in the future success of Peppa Pig and friends.

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