Richard Cribbin is smiling into the camera in front of a wall of company awards in an office.
Richard Cribbin. Image: BMS

Why most learning and experience doesn’t come from a textbook

4 Feb 2020

Richard Cribbin of BMS discusses how he got into finance, from school subjects to taking on new challenges.

Richard Cribbin has been in his role as associate director of finance at BMS for several months, and says that getting to work in an organisation at the “cutting edge” of pharmaceutical manufacturing is “inspiring”.

But, over the years, his career path as an accountant has involved lots of learning, being open to new challenges and taking on advice. Here, he talks about his journey from school to the position he holds today.

‘I enjoy meeting people and continually learning and developing – this allows me to ask questions and seek answers which I can use to ensure that the company is meeting its financial targets’

What first stirred your interest in a career in this area?

I suppose it was one of my strong subjects in school. Accounting can be a broad career and your career path can take you in many various directions.

What experiences led you to the role you now have?

From school, I followed the industry path and studied for my professional qualification at night, gaining experience within a number of companies and roles in large companies, working my way up and always looking for opportunities to progress.

What were the biggest surprises or challenges you encountered on your career path and how did you deal with them?

The biggest surprise for me was that we are all capable of taking on challenges which we might not think we are capable of doing.

I have been lucky to get the opportunity to work in areas and projects outside of finance – in some cases thrown in at the deep end – and you just have to be open to and take on the challenge. Most of your experience will not come from a textbook!

Was there any one person who was particularly influential as your career developed?

I was lucky to have had some very experienced bosses and colleagues who I learned from. They gave me great advice and they also gave me opportunities to take on tasks and projects which I would not have been qualified for or had the experience to do.

However, I trusted their judgement that I would be capable of being successful if given the chance. It worked out!

What do you enjoy about your job?

To work in an area of cutting-edge biologics pharmaceutical practices and manufacturing that ultimately aims to discover, develop and deliver innovative medicines that help patients prevail over serious diseases. This is inspiring.

I also enjoy interaction with various departments, the advancement in technologies, processes, systems and techniques. We are at the cusp of manufacturing 4.0 here at BMS.

What aspects of your personality do you feel make you suited to this job?

I enjoy meeting people and continually learning and developing – this allows me to ask questions and seek answers which I can use to ensure that the company is meeting its financial targets and compliance commitments, ensuring an environment where future investment can be achieved.

What advice would you give to those considering a career in this area, or just starting out in one?

There are many possibilities and opportunities for accountants – don’t be afraid to challenge yourself and seek new experiences. Continue to learn and develop, whether that be in technologies, industries, cultures or geographies.

Listen to and take any advice you get and don’t be afraid to take on a challenge, you don’t know what exciting opportunities may open for you.

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