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My ACA experience: Abdul

During a pandemic Abdul went from studying and completing his A-Levels to working as an Assurance Associate for EY.

Adbul Kansowa

Abdul Kansowa Assurance Associate, EY

ICAEW route: School-leaver programme

Industry: Audit and assurance

Location: Southampton, UK

Abdul Kansowa

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

I began my full-time training contract after completing my A-levels. The change was a challenge, especially during a pandemic, but starting my career at 18 has been advantageous as I have gained a wealth of experience and got a head start in becoming a chartered accountant.

It is difficult to explain my day-to-day role because it can vary so much. While working in audit, I have been exposed to a vast range of areas in accounting and worked on them to help form an opinion on financial information. There is also a variety of clients so there is always something new and interesting to learn.

Why did you choose the ACA over other accounting qualifications?

When interviewing for training contracts, a common question came up. ACA, ACCA or CIMA? It was a big decision to make as it required a lot of commitment and would shape my career. After extensive research I found that the ACA offered the best opportunities for the areas I was interested in at my firm and in the wider industry.

Who or what inspired you to become a chartered accountant?

While studying economics at A levels, I realised that accountancy is core in all industries. That means that there is a lot to experience and once qualified, there will be a broad range of career options. I have an interest in how numbers make a difference and as a chartered accountant the opportunities for development are endless.

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?

A common misconception is that apprentices are not successful and are choosing the easy route instead of university. I turned down unconditional university offers as I became aware of the opportunities that apprenticeships can offer. I am now on a path to become the highest designation of an accountant without attending university and think that apprenticeships will become a lot more widespread in the future.

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

Typically, people think that accountancy is made up of middle-aged people who are boring, don’t talk to anyone and sit at their desk all day. But that could not be more wrong. I have met people from all ages and backgrounds and the accountancy profession is very inclusive. There are so many different roles and responsibilities in accounting that there needs to be an equally diverse set of personalities and skill sets in the work force. 

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

Taking the school leaver route allows me to reach the highest designation in accounting without needing to go to university. That means I get a salary, my qualification funded, experience and networking opportunities very early on in my career.

What do you love the most about what you do? 

I am happy to be in a role that impacts the wider economy. Accountants are relied on and trusted to help maintain fairness and integrity. No matter where you work, you can make a difference as an accountant.