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My ACA experience: Dara

After finishing a degree in Economics and Management, Dara went on to complete the ACA qualification at Deloitte while working in the Tax department. In 2017 she was selected as the ICAEW One Young World (OYW) representative, attending the summit in Bogotá, Colombia. She now works as an Organisation Transformation Consultant at Deloitte, where she collaborates with clients to rethink and redesign the paradigms within which they operate.

Dara Latinwo

Dara Latinwo Organisational Transformation Consultant, Deloitte

ICAEW route: Non-finance degree

Industry: Various

Location: London

Dara's story...

Although being described as an ‘ICAEW Chartered Accountant’ is rather satisfying in and of itself, I would say that it is the journey to becoming a chartered accountant that is most valuable to students who are looking for something that will distinguish and develop them in a crowded and competitive labour market.

The skills and technical knowledge gained while studying for the demanding ACA papers left me feeling equipped to handle an array of challenging projects and deal with the trickier client questions that crop up on projects in a professional and calm manner.

Moreover, juggling the twin pressures of a busy day job (that often involved hours that went into the night) and a rigorous exam schedule has sharpened my time management abilities, meaning that heavy and multifaceted workloads do not faze me in the least.

Perhaps most importantly, the ACA is widely recognised as the gold standard qualification in business, accountancy and finance, so completing it immediately sends a signal that you have the potential to operate at the highest levels of business.

A truly notable stand out moment in my career to date was being selected as the ICAEW One Young World (OYW) representative last year (2017). Within Deloitte, being associated with such a prestigious event increased my visibility in my department, particularly amongst senior team leaders who were duly impressed by the fact that I had been granted such a brilliant opportunity by my professional body.

More beneficially, these leaders are now more aware of the areas which I am deeply passionate about and how far I am willing to go to translate this passion into meaningful action. As a result, I find that I am already being offered opportunities to work on projects that intersect with my existing interests as my department seeks to harness the energy and enthusiasm that I bring when fully and passionately engaged by my work.

Although I personally do not believe there is such a thing as a ‘stereotypical accountant’, I do feel that most people still associate the profession with ‘bean counting’ and little more.

Indeed, one of the biggest challenges facing the accounting profession is maintaining and enhancing its relevance in an increasingly automated world, especially when people continue to hold an outdated image of chartered accountants in their mind.

My own career journey vividly illustrates that chartered accountancy is no longer the preserve of people bent over dusty ledgers but rather a gateway to an exciting variety of career paths such as consultancy, finance and entrepreneurship.

While I started in a Tax department, my ACA qualification gave me the confidence and the competence to make the step up into Transformation consultancy, a dynamic field in which I collaborate with clients to rethink and redesign the paradigms within which they operate.

If that doesn’t challenge the stereotype of a chartered accountant, then I’m not sure what will!

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