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Boots Graduate Comes in the Global Top Ten in Accountancy Exams

20 October 2015
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James Spafford, 23, from Nottingham, has achieved an impressive feat and gained a place in the top ten globally in the latest Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) case study exams.

James, who lives in Nottingham, is currently employed by the first global pharmacy-led, health and wellbeing enterprise in the world, Walgreens Boots Alliance, within its Finance graduate scheme. He came second in the world in the CIMA Operational case study exam. James, who studied with BPP in Nottingham, achieved a score of 129 out of 150, beating nearly 1,300 other students registered for the exam around the world.

James, originally from Rotherham, attended Wingfield Comprehensive and Thomas Rotherham College before gaining a BA(Hons) Degree in Accountancy and Finance from the University of Lincoln. In his role at Walgreens Boots Alliance, he is currently working at the Boots UK Support Office within the Management Information Team. His role encompasses the development of financial data used for management reporting and decision-making within the 2,500 Boots UK stores and its Support Office/field functions.

To become a Chartered Global Management Accountant, students need to complete 12 professional qualification exams requiring personal study and dedication. This is complemented by three years’ experience which can be gained whilst studying.

James said of his success: "It was fantastic to be told I had come in the top ten in the world in this exam and made all of the hard work studying worthwhile. The exam was tough but I had a lot of support from both BPP and also from my employer. The CIMA qualification provides a wealth of financial knowledge and expertise whilst applying a business management perspective. It allows me a sound base for understanding and influencing how finance works in the real-world, allowing me to truly add value in the working environment. It also provides me with the opportunity to ultimately achieve my career goals and I am thrilled to be progressing down the road to being fully qualified.”

Peter Lincoln, Commercial Finance Manager, Boots UK, comments:  ‘We are delighted for James. Getting this result is a fantastic achievement that he has worked extremely hard for.  James joined our graduate scheme a year ago and has been making excellent progress, combining his studying with a very demanding project as part of our management information team.  He will be able to take the skills he has learned in his studies onto his next roles within our business, and he starts an exciting new position within our international team next month.”

Andrew McGunnigle, FCMA, CGMA, CIMA Area Chairman - East Midlands Area, said “James has clearly put a lot of dedication into his studies and achieved a fantastic success in coming in the top ten globally in this professional business exam. I hope his success will encourage others who are currently studying for their CIMA qualification that there are real rewards for hard work. The CIMA qualification produces versatile professionals with breadth and depth of knowledge gained in practical business settings, and I wish James every success as he becomes a fully qualified CIMA management accountant.”

Stephen Flatman, Director of Exams at CIMA, said: “It is fantastic to see such excellent exam results achieved by James and fellow students, who sat other papers around the world. This is a tribute to the ethic that CIMA prides itself on, that dedication and hard work can produce exemplary results."

CIMA has formed a joint venture with the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) to establish the Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) designation for fully qualified CIMA members. CGMA is the global quality standard that further elevates the profession of management accounting.

CIMA runs a series of events for students, members and guests throughout the related area on a regular basis across the year. For further information visit



For press enquiries please contact:

Rowena Denham

CIMA UK Regional PR

  1. +44 (0)7976 645639

Notes to Editors

  1. The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), founded in 1919, is the world’s leading and largest professional body of management accountants, with over 227,000 members and students operating in 179 countries, working at the heart of business. CIMA members and students work in industry, commerce, the public sector and not-for-profit organisations. CIMA works closely with employers and sponsors leading-edge research, constantly updating its qualification, professional experience requirements and continuing professional development to ensure it remains the employers’ choice when recruiting financially-trained business leaders.

Professionalism and ethics are at the core of CIMA’s activities with every member and student bound by robust standards so that integrity, expertise and vision are brought together.

CIMA has formed a joint venture with the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) to establish the Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) designation. CGMA is the global quality standard that further elevates the profession of management accounting. The designation recognises the most talented and committed management accountants with the discipline and skill to drive strong business performance.

CIMA is proud to be the first professional accounting body to offer a truly global product in the fast-moving area of Islamic Finance. CIMA also offers a Global Business Services qualification, in conjunction with The Hackett Group, the first and only global professional qualification in the shared services and outsourcing arena.

For more information about CIMA, please visit    

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About Boots UK

Boots UK (, the UK’s leading pharmacy-led health and beauty retailer, is part of the Retail Pharmacy International Division of Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. (Nasdaq: WBA), the first global pharmacy-led, health and wellbeing enterprise.  With 2,511* stores in the UK, Boots UK is committed to providing exceptional customer and patient care, be the first choice for pharmacy and healthcare and offer innovative 'only at Boots' exclusive products such as the UK’s leading skincare brand No7, all delivered with the great value customers love. Created over 165 years ago, the Boots brand is still at the heart of the communities it serves.

*As at 31 May 2015 excluding equity method investments



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Boots is the UK’s leading health and beauty retailer with over 52,000 team members and around 1,900 stores, ranging from local community pharmacies to large destination health and beauty stores.*

Boots serves its customers and patients for life as the leading provider of healthcare on the high street and the UK’s number one beauty destination. It offers an unrivalled depth and breadth of products, which incorporates its extensive own brand range and innovative portfolio of brands, including No7, the UK’s No1 skincare brand, Soap & Glory, Liz Earle Beauty and Sleek MakeUP.

2024 marks Boots’ 175th anniversary year. Founder John Boot opened a herbalist store in Nottingham in 1849 to offer an affordable alternative to traditional medicines. His son Jesse expanded the business to become a modern retailer and the biggest chemist in Britain. Throughout its history, Boots has listened, learned and innovated, and it continues to challenge itself to improve its products and services every day.

Boots is part of Walgreens Boots Alliance, which is a global leader in pharmacy-led, health and wellbeing retail.  More company information is available on

*Figures accurate as of 31 May 2024