Assistant Vice President (Senior Auditor)
A leading national bank
What inspired you to become an ICAEW Chartered Accountant?
The initial spark was around the 2008 recession when I saw on the news that many people were being laid off from their jobs. This led me to do research on recession-proof jobs and at the top of the list was the accounting profession. It offered relative job security and allowed me to use my numeracy skills whilst simultaneously gaining a business qualification which is respected around the world.
Thinking about specific people or experiences, what helped you to get to where you are today and how?
There are a number of people and experiences which have helped me get to where I am today. The most important in regard to people would be my mum who always gave me the confidence and self-belief that I could achieve whatever I set my mind to. This was coupled with having the right mindset, whenever I had a setback, to continue achieving my goals.
What actions can we all take to become workplace allies and what does this mean to you?
By speaking up in scenarios where necessary. A key part of being an ally is acknowledging that it benefits everyone as we all have characteristics which could be subject to discrimination. If the mentality is taken that it doesn’t affect you and the group you identify with, there could be a time when your specific group is targeted with nobody to advocate and stand up for you as that culture hasn’t been developed.
One of ICAEW’s strategic themes is ‘strengthening the profession by attracting talent and building diversity’. Why do you think this is important?
There’s the moral importance of ensuring everyone has an opportunity to fulfil their full potential. I think this is important as we live in an ever-globalised world where the historic barriers which kept people of different faiths, ethnicities and sexual orientations separate from one another has substantially decreased. We need to take advantage of this and attract people from as wide a pool as possible to use their talents which no one group has a monopoly over. That’s how the profession will remain relevant in the 21st century.
I can’t guarantee you a certain outcome but I can guarantee that having the right attitude is more likely to get you the result you want.
How do you think the profession is becoming more diverse?
During my seven years in the profession, I have noted a greater emphasis and acknowledgement of diversity issues from senior people. I have also seen more people from different backgrounds enter the profession amongst graduate and apprentice intakes which bodes well for the future diversity of the profession – but it is important that we do not become complacent.
What would you like to see more of in the future of accountancy?
With the rise of artificial intelligence and the predicted automation of many tasks that accountants traditionally perform, I would like there to be continuous retraining and reskilling to help make our profession relevant when these technologies come into place.
What one piece of advice would you give to someone thinking of joining the profession?
Don’t limit yourself and take advantage of every opportunity presented to you regardless of your social class, ethnicity, faith, sexual orientation or gender. As with everything you will have to work hard to progress within your career, but embrace the challenge and put the work in. I can’t guarantee you a certain outcome but I can guarantee that having the right attitude is more likely to get you the result you want.