Nick Grimes juggles work and studying for the ACA with captaining Taunton Town Football Club. He shares how he’s found a work-life balance while pursuing his passions on and off the pitch.
As someone who grew up in a sport-loving family of finance professionals, it seems only natural that Nick would be drawn to both fields. At age four, he started playing football alongside his brother – now captain of Swansea City – in a team their father coached. Later, at school, he was having success with his maths exams and taking on extra maths qualifications. After graduating university with a degree in strength and conditioning in 2020, it was time to look for a career.
“There’s a lot of family ties to accountancy,” Nick explains. “Being quite good at maths, it’s something I was immediately interested in pursuing. Plus, I was quite realistic in terms of where football was going. I didn’t know if it would be a full-time job.”
Several members of the family, including Nick’s father, are accountants. And it was someone in Nick’s network that first put him in touch with Griffin Chartered Accountants, where he is now assistant manager and has been pursuing the ACA since 2020. “I came in for three days of work experience and I've not left,” he says. Nick is looking to qualify in July 2024, having postponed his final exam to help the firm through a busy audit period.
But a packed calendar doesn’t mean he is hanging up his boots any time soon. Nick played for a handful of clubs before joining Taunton Town in mid-2019. Two seasons ago, the team were promoted to the National League South, the sixth tier of English professional football.
Between work, studying and football, no two days are the same for Nick. It’s no surprise that he finds managing his time the biggest challenge: “I've got a lot of structure to my day to make sure everything gets done, so that I'm not neglecting one for another and I've given everything the time it needs.”
That structure means utilising every day of the week. Currently, Nick is working six days at Griffin, spending evenings and Saturdays on the pitch, and then studying when he gets home at night. Nick has taken advantage of the flexibility of the ACA, opting to move his studies and lessons online.
Finding balance is Nick’s advice for other ACA students: “Set aside some time for yourself as well. That’s what's helped me manage it all. If I’m revising, I’ll set a definite cut off and put the books down then, irrespective of where I get up to.” By giving himself some down time, Nick finds he can focus more clearly when returning to study.
Football and accountancy aren’t necessarily worlds apart. As captain, Nick is accountable for the team’s performance on and off the pitch. A big part of that, he says, is building rapport with each teammate.
“It’s about being someone that everyone can go to, as well as being able to jump into a conversation with anyone,” he says. “You have teammates coming to you with off-pitch problems as well as administrative questions.”
While soft skills such as teamwork and communication are a universal part of team building, Nick also finds that both football and accountancy require a strong commitment to training and development. “Dedication is a big crossover,” he explains. “You don't get to a certain level in football without putting in the time and similarly you don't get to pass your exams or get to a certain level in your career if you don't put in the time.”
So, what’s the end game? “The goal is to get my ACA qualification, become chartered, and then keep balancing the two really. I want to do more of this,” Nick says.
“I wouldn't do both if I didn't enjoy both, and I enjoy what I do every day. The people at the firm are brilliant and work is a lovely place to be. It’s exactly the same for football. I love playing football, we've got a really good group of lads, and we always have fun. I don't want to give either up.”
Watch Ashwini Poopalasingham discuss her ACA journey and share advice on maintaining a work-life balance.