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My ACA experience: Karina

It was clear for me that the ACA route was for me. I found the study sessions suited me better and if I were to become a partner in my firm in the future, already being a member of the ICAEW would be more favourable.

Karina Satulaite

Karina Satulaite MAAT BFP ACA Client Relationship Manager, Lewis Brownlee Ltd

ICAEW route: AAT-ACA Fast Track

Industry: Financial Decisions and Analysis

Location: Chichester

Karina's story...

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

I began my career journey as a receptionist at Lewis Brownlee after leaving my career working For Her Majesties Probation and Prison service. After around 14 months the Managing Director gave me the opportunity to train as an accountant after I showed great interest and enthusiasm for the profession. I started as an AAT trainee, progressing through my AAT establishing my own clients and gaining in confidence.

By the time I finished my AAT studies and began working towards ACA, I had already established myself as a client relationship manager, managing my own portfolio and expanding in to the world of virtual financial controlling. I am now AAT and ACA qualified, with a portfolio worth over 6 figures, specialising in Virtual Financial Controlling, as well as having a great variety of clients on my portfolio who I work with on a day to day basis varying from preparing cashflows and budgets, to discussing tax planning and ensuring all statutory compliance work is completed in a timely manner.

Why did you choose the ACA over other accounting qualifications?

When It was my time to choose which accounting profession to study after AAT, after discussing with my fellow colleagues who had studied with ACA and ACCA It was clear for me that the ACA route was for me. I found the study sessions suited me better and if I were to become a partner in my firm in the future, already being a member of the ICAEW would be more favourable.

Who or what inspired you to become a chartered accountant?

My mother and both grandmothers were and are all accountants, which I never thought I would become. From a young age I wanted to be a barrister or work in the criminal justice system to help others. So I guess I am now helping in other ways, by helping businesses achieve their dreams and goals, as well as helping my clients save on tax and have a piece of mind that their finances are in the best hands.
ICAEW qualified 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?

I am definitely not your typical accountant, although I have trained well to maintain company compliance work, I have always aspired to help and go beyond just compliance, now heading up and pushing the new and exciting work of Virtual Financial Controlling out there as my specialism in my firm, which is a great new way to help business and gain new clients for my firm.

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

I think your stereotypical accountant is a person in a suit, possibly middle aged and boring…… I guess to challenge such a view they only have to look at me…. I am a fun, outgoing 32 year old lady in a dress and the profession may have been filled with such individuals 30 year ago, but the world and the accounting profession has changed, and the profession will always carry on positively evolving.

Why did you decide to go down the AAT to ACA fast-track route?

Because university was not for me. I care for my elderly grandmother so leaving her for so I go to university was never an option for me. AAT allowed me to study in the evenings and weekend, whilst being able to work full time and bring in an income. Studying and working full time Is hard work and not for everyone, but the experience I gained from having those extra years of actual work experience before studying ACA, has really helped me as an accountant, and I feel that It is more advantageous that if I have attended university.

What do you love the most about what you do? 

What I love the most about my job is helping my clients. From helping businesses recover from financial distress and lack of cashflow to seeing my clients every few months to ensure that their businesses are doing well and helping them get the most out of the businesses they work so hard to build and maintain.

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