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My career with ACA: Lynn Pamment, comptroller and auditor general of Jersey

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Published: 12 May 2020

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After a 30-year career with PwC, Lynn Pamment is the new comptroller and auditor general of Jersey. Here she shares a personal view on her career to date

What do you remember about the early days of your career?
Studying while you are in a full-time job takes good time management. You need to be realistic about how to do that and the fact that there’s a need to make some compromises. You have to be quite dedicated to balance your studies with your workload and to be successful in them both.

What has been the proudest moment of your career?
I got a prize in my first set of professional exams: I came 11th in the annual order of merit. In those days they used to publish the results in the papers, which came out overnight in London. This was before mobile phones so we had to queue up at a phone box to call the London office at midnight to find out our results, which was wonderful. But my proudest moment was taking my mum to Chartered Accountants’ Hall for the ceremony, as this was the first time she really understood what I did.

Why did you decide to specialise in public services?
It’s all about what interests you. For me that was working with organisations that are really making a difference to society. Their ethos interests me as they are complex businesses while being service organisations that deliver good for society. The public sector has had to be leaner and more efficient and effective with its spend over recent years. I think there’s still a lot it can do and learn from the private sector.

What kind of leader or manager are you?
Everybody has to play to their strengths, but more than anything a leader’s responsibility is to make sure their team is engaged and motivated. The philosophy I bring is to make sure members are enjoying what they do, learning something new and building on the skills and strengths within the team. I firmly believe that leaders should lead from the front and take accountability for the actions of the team, which doesn’t mean taking the credit for the team.

What was the first major challenge you faced?
I was working on the audit of a company that had got itself into difficulties. It was challenging talking with the client: the staff didn’t want to engage and knew they had been caught out. No one wants that day-to-day conflict but we still had to complete the audit. What got us through was being part of a team of intelligent people who were extremely supportive. This is something that’s repeated itself many times over my career, drawing on the power and strength of the firm in different circumstances.

What advice would you give to trainee accountants?
Soak up the experience of working with as many different clients as possible. Very few people enter the profession knowing what sector they want to specialise in. You get such a wealth of experience working on as many different teams and for as many different clients of varying sizes and diverse industries as possible.

<This article is an adapted version of At the Public’s Service, originally published in Vital, Dec 2019.>