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New CASSL chair's 2020 vision

In May the Chartered Accountants Student Society London (CASSL) welcomed a new chair: Anne-Marie Asenso. She spoke to London Accountant about the new committee and her priorities for the year.

Anne-Marie Asenso, CASSL Chair 2020

July 2020

Becoming Chair 

Anne-Marie first heard of CASSL in 2018, after attending the annual student ball with a group from her firm. It was there that she spoke to a committee member and was invited to her first CASSL meeting.

‘Being connected to CASSL reminded me why I was doing the ACA. From my very first meeting, I could see the opportunity to collaborate with other young accountants and get more from ICAEW than just the ACA.

Within 6 months I was a CASSL director and over the past couple of years in this role, we’ve supported local students through a range of networking events and sporting competitions’.

A growing committee

With a growing and enthusiastic committee, Anne-Marie is confident that CASSL will be able to connect with more local trainees than ever before and provide them with the support they need.

‘Our AGM was on 5 May and after an initial lack of interest, we ran a marketing drive with ICAEW’s central team. After just a couple of days, we had 80 people interested in being involved, most of whom had never even heard of CASSL before.

We now have a full committee of 20 students who are so energetic and ready for change. I feel honoured to chair CASSL this year.

The ACA and ICAEW are great powers for change and I want to make sure we communicate that. I can’t do it on my own but with our new “bigger and better’’ committee, we will increase exposure and we will support London’s students.’

Developing the future accountant

With the current increased digitalisation of our lives, Anne-Marie stressed the power of being connected to those around you. Whilst technical knowledge is at the heart of the profession, she is ensuring that students’ well-being is central to CASSL’s activities.

‘CASSL’s focus for this year will be developing the “whole of the future accountant’’. We will concentrate on personal development with sessions on study-tips and personal brand.

To effectively do this, we must feel connected. When you aren’t in a big firm, it can be harder to feel connected to other ACA students. In my company I was the first person to train with ICAEW.

The CASSL committee are all students so if you are training to do the ACA now, we are your peers. It’s a network that students can be involved with, right from being a new joiner all the way through to graduation. Soon, we will be sending out a survey to see what local students want from their society and we’re always on social media, so please do reach out.’

My tips for life in lockdown

‘It is hard to be motivated to study when you’re at home all the time. Don’t beat yourself up about it and if you need help, ask for it! Simple study tips from ICAEW Student Insights or Youtube videos are always great – I find having a Pomodoro video in the background so helpful.

Make sure that you check-in and communicate with the people around you. Undoubtedly, the virtual quizzes, the book club with my friends from work and the numerous video calls have got me through.

Set yourself challenges like the couch to 5K or a 30 day yoga class. It gave me something to focus on and it’s such an achievement when you know you stuck by it and completed it.’

Looking forward

2020 has been a year which has seen huge changes to the way we live and think about our lives. The need to build back a better future is clearer than ever.

‘As Chartered Accountants, we have the ability to drive forward positive change in the world and in my next article as CASSL chair, I am going to be considering how we can accelerate the journey to racial diversity and equality which has been highlighted recently by the BLM movement.‘

London Accountant

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