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Student Insights

My membership journey: one year on

Author: ICAEW Insights

Published: 05 Dec 2022

ICAEW Student Insights membership journey Chris Chung young man glasses shirt tie ACA

A year after qualifying, new member Chris Chung is enjoying a varied and interesting role in treasury – and having more free time on his hands.

After completing my ACA training with PwC last year, I transferred into the firm’s Treasury & Commodities team, based in London – it was an opportunity that was only possible once I’d qualified. My main role is to support our audit teams in the more complex areas around treasury and commodities, such as derivative valuations and hedge accounting, and assess them against the client’s business model. I’m also involved in advisory work, helping clients with their corporate treasuries, so things like the application of accounting policies, and making sure their systems and processes are appropriate.

It might surprise you to hear that I enjoy audit – I get to work with lots of different clients and industries – but it’s also nice to be improving my skills and knowledge in a more specialist area. I’ve been involved in some interesting projects over the past few months, including advising a client on how they can apply hedge accounting for some floating rate debt being drawn down as part of an acquisition transaction. It really allowed me to use the skills and knowledge I’ve gained over the past four years, but in more of an advisory capacity – not just from a pure audit perspective, but helping the client to apply the accounting standards and really adding value. I’m now starting to be able to provide that technical advice because I’m more experienced.

Other recent projects have included an interesting technical judgement around trade financing, assessing whether a client’s receivables could be de-recognised under the accounting standards. I also worked on a project assisting a Middle Eastern client building a carbon-neutral development. They had never set up a carbon trading function before, so we advised them on putting the end-to-end process in place, from understanding which emissions to offset, to setting up the appropriate controls and processes. I enjoyed the fact that I was able to do something topical and relevant, given the impact of climate change, as well as work with people in different areas of the world.

ICAEW Student Insights membership journey Chris Chung young man glasses shirt tie ACA

One of the good things about being in the Treasury & Commodities team is that we look at one particular area across multiple projects. I might be working on two or three projects at once, which can be a challenge, but it does make it more interesting. One of the key changes I’ve seen over the past year is that I now have more of a project management role, and a ‘bigger picture’ overview of the project as a whole. So looking at how the different strands are progressing, making sure we can deliver on time, and having more of those high-level conversations, both with clients and with internal stakeholders at PwC. It feels like a natural step up from what I was doing before. Now that I’m ACA qualified, people do treat me differently – you’re expected to be a more confident, mature and capable individual.

I’m always keen to progress and learn new things – I’m currently studying for my Certificate in Treasury qualification with the Association of Corporate Treasurers (ACT). I have exemptions as an ICAEW member, so I only need to complete one unit, which definitely helps – I’m not sure I could face lots more exams! I’m also helping to organise an upcoming joint event between PwC Treasury and SAP, which will give current and potential clients insights into the SAP S/4 upgrade. It’s enabled me to understand how our senior team members reach out to potential clients, which is something I’ll be doing more of as I become more experienced. I’ve also been invited to attend the ACT annual dinner in December with other senior team members in PwC and some of our clients, so that will be a really good networking opportunity.

I’m enjoying being part of the Treasury & Commodities team – there’s plenty of variety and potential for progression, particularly to take on more of the advisory work as I become more experienced. So I can definitely see myself staying here for the medium term. I’d also like the opportunity to travel with work at some point, though a lot of that has been scaled back following the pandemic. I’ve been making the most of having more time to travel outside work, though – I’ve been to Switzerland this year, as well as various places around the UK. Just having more free time in general has been great – when I was training, I was using every spare minute to study, but there’s definitely more work/life balance now.

Read more about Chris’ journey so far here.

Find out more about the ACT fast-track for qualified ICAEW members here.

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