Senior Finance Manager, of NHS 111 and Clinical Assessment Service contracts within Practice Plus Group
Practice Plus Group
What inspired you to become an ICAEW Chartered Accountant?
My incredibly hardworking Mum is my inspiration. Whilst raising three children alone, she migrated from Nigeria to the UK and studied tirelessly to become a Chartered Accountant herself.
Thinking about specific people or experiences, what helped you to get to where you are today and how?
Opting for developing well-rounded experiences over strict specialising has helped me so far in my career. I moved out of finance for a year after qualifying into a role in sales and marketing as Global Commercial Manager of a leading UK brand, to develop strong commercial skills. I successfully progressed into a commercial finance role as Finance Manager of a portfolio of international brands, partnering with S&M colleagues on different campaigns.
My mentor gave me the confidence to go after promotions. As a Black man in a non-diverse field, it is easy to have negative thoughts such as imposter syndrome and self-doubt. Having an internal support network helped reduce the prevalence of these thoughts.
What actions can we all take to become workplace allies and what does this mean to you?
A workplace ally to me is someone who recognises their privilege and helps to open doors typically closed off to black colleagues. This can be in the form of a mentor from a different demographic, helping to promote the achievements of a black mentee in spaces that aren’t as accessible to them compared to other demographics. Actions like this are a step towards closing the ethnicity pay gap and lack of diversity in senior level positions.
One of ICAEW’s strategic themes is ‘strengthening the profession by attracting talent and building diversity’. Why do you think this is important?
Non-inclusive workplaces lead to a culture of black colleagues feeling unable to be their true selves. Feeling as though we need to conform to the majority harms innovation in the workplace.
Strengthening diversity in the industry will not only improve innovation but also contribute to reducing inequality and cognitive bias, especially at senior level.
A workplace ally to me is someone who recognises their privilege and helps to open doors typically closed off to black colleagues.
What would you like to see more of in the future of accountancy?
Post COVID-19, the profession has made huge progress in modern ways of working, such as flexible working. I would like to see the profession continue to modernise in this respect to be aligned with similar industries, and continue to retain and attract talent.
What one piece of advice would you give to someone thinking of joining the profession?
Decide whether the academic or work-based route is for you. A common misconception of the profession is that the only route in is through a degree and subsequently a graduate training contract, which can be very expensive when taking into account university costs.
The work-based route involves joining the profession through a junior level finance position after GCSEs and being sponsored through a qualification such as the AAT, before progressing into the ICAEW. This can often be more inclusive because it’s a more affordable option.