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My ACA experience: Ozge

Ozge looked up at the ICAEW headquarters in awe and thought how fantastic it would be to study here one day and eventually become a member!

Ozge Dogankaya

Ozge Dogankaya Audit Associate, PwC LLP

ICAEW route: Graduate

Industry: Audit and assurance

Location: Milton Keynes, UK

Ozge's story...

Tell us about your career journey and what you do day-to-day in your role. 

I graduated from Aston University, Birmingham with a First-Class honours in Economics and Management. During my time at university, I represented ICAEW as a Campus Ambassador. I was familiar with the ACA as I spoke about the professional qualification in lectures, answered student questions and joined several careers fairs.

I also completed a 12-month placement at Rolls-Royce Plc as a Project Management Intern within Civil Aerospace – a truly unforgettable year!

As an associate at PwC, my day-to-day depends on the phase of the audit and the nature of client’s business. I have been involved in the testing of Property Plant and Equipment for a leading FTSE100 bank which confirms the existence of fixed assets such as IT equipment and branches across the UK. I have also had the opportunity to work on smaller clients which has involved testing monthly payroll expenses using payslips, reviewing supporting evidence from the client, and confirming cash balances in bank accounts.

Why did you choose the ACA over other accounting qualifications?

As a part-time ICAEW Campus Ambassador at university, I remember travelling to the Moorgate London office for training and realised all ACA students have exclusive access to study in the library! I looked up at the ICAEW headquarters in awe and thought how fantastic it would be to study here one day and eventually become a member!

Being able to add ACA at the end of your name once qualified speaks volumes about your ability to add value to any public and private organisation. The ACA provides a clear progression pathway, and I’m pleased to have been recognised for prior learning and been granted an exemption on a professional exam because of the corporate finance module I had taken at university. 

Who or what inspired you to become a chartered accountant?

I felt inspired to be a chartered accountant because of the professional ethics and behaviours. PwC’s values align closely with my own personal value whereby I intend to act with integrity each day, and in my day-to-day I embody this value as a chartered accountant which seemingly aligns. 

Our accountants are more than you’d imagine. They challenge the traditional accountancy routes and career paths. They have an innovative approach and skill to their work. How does your career path, attitude and skillset support this?

It takes an ‘all-in’ attitude, a curious mindset, and a genuine willingness to learn to conquer the work-life balance. As an audit graduate, there’s the additional work- ‘study’-life balance which can feel overwhelming at times, but I remain transparent and communicate my workload/capacity to my engagement manager. 

Do you think there is such a thing as a stereotypical accountant? If so, how do you challenge this stereotype?

On client site, you probably wouldn’t think that the most junior associate on the job would be tasked with performing testing on businesses with turnover between £100m to £3bn but this is quite literally my every day! With a fantastic team that coach me along the way, I feel empowered to learn new skills and capabilities. Yes, I carry a calculator with me and work with numbers like other ‘stereotypical’ accountants on Google Images but it’s nowhere near as monotonous as you may think – I have been assigned to 4 very different clients in only 10 months of having joined PwC!

As an audit graduate, I find the most rewarding part of accounting is being able to justify and gain comfort over the balances when performing testing which ultimately contributes to our overall audit opinion. 

Why did you decide to go down the route you did?

This is simple to answer - I enjoy meeting and working with people from different walks of life. In fact, I organised an office-wide Culture Lunch to celebrate the diversity in the workplace! It helps me see beyond my own perspective and continue to learn new ways of working. 

At ICAEW, we encourage applicants from all backgrounds. What skills do you bring to your career due to your degree and why did chartered accountancy appeal to you?

At university, I learnt about the long-term macroeconomic impact of the pandemic and PwC’s purpose to build trust into society (especially in a time of huge uncertainly!) inspired me. As I read blogs, joined seminars, and read PwC’s assessment on the topic, I become more curious and even asked questions during the assessment day. 

As an auditor, the skill to ask well-thought questions and actively seek new knowledge is worth its weight in gold!