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My ACA experience: Zainab

ICAEW Chartered Accountants are recognised world-wide as leaders in Accountancy, Finance and Business.

Zainab Vayani

Zainab Vayani Audit Assistant, RSM

ICAEW route: Apprenticeship

Industry: Financial Decisions and Analysis

Location: Leicester

Zainab's story...

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

I started my career as a school leaver in 2018 as an Audit Assistant. My day to day role includes liaising with client’s and the audit team to review the client’s financial information.

Why did you choose the ACA over other accounting qualifications?

ICAEW Chartered Accountants are recognised world-wide as leaders in Accountancy, Finance and Business. ACA qualification is recognised throughout various sectors (private sector, public sector, small organisations and large/listed organisations). It has been a great opportunity to be part of a prestigious body that has a longstanding heritage and global stature.

Who or what inspired you to become a chartered accountant?

I very much enjoyed studying Accountancy at A levels, my accountancy teacher also came from an accounting profession which was an inspiration for me to pursue accounting as a career. Additionally, my college had good relationship with local employers, which made it easier for me to find more about what options were available into accounting with a professional qualification post A levels.  

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?

One thing I have learnt by working for a firm is that we all mentor and get mentored. As I am growing in my role, I am getting more passionate about mentoring and coaching. With this skillset I would look to mentor aspiring accountants in the community.

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

I think the mainstream accountancy is still seen as a male dominant profession. Had I not received the guidance from my Accountancy teacher and access to careers fair by the college I may have been a little nervous in pursuing the career despite my interest in Accountancy as a subject. I would say that the Accountancy industry has matured, and I see a lot of women joining this profession with opportunities for growth in executive positions within the organisation. I have been lucky to have started a career with an accounting firm that has given me the opportunities to work with colleagues at various levels of seniority within the firm and at clients, thus, opening channels for learning and growth.

Why did you decide to go down the CFAB/Apprenticeship route?

 I explored both the options of studying Accountancy as an apprentice after A levels and doing a degree in Accountancy at a university. Having attended a few open evenings at various Accountancy firms it was clear to me that the apprenticeship route offered a fast track route to a level 7 (Masters level qualification) with the industry experience without incurring university costs.

What do you love the most about what you do?

I enjoy the variety that my job brings in terms of working and industry sectors. Also, the ability to work with colleagues at various levels within the organisation that can serve as mentorship. In addition, it is always enjoyable to get to travel to different parts of the country and meet up with colleague from different offices and firms on the training courses.

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

 I decided to take the school leaver route and not go to university as after doing accountancy at A levels. I knew that I wanted to be an accountant and wanted to have a fast track into my career. After doing accountancy at A level I brought the basic accounting skills and had an idea as to what was expected in terms of the job. This made it easier to understand the work and helped with the ACA exams as I had a background knowledge. Especially, with the accounting exam (CFAB) which was one of the first ones I did.

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