This week, we're featuring an Accountant as the "Professional of The Week". It was yet another enlightening interview and I encourage every professional or budding professional out there to read on.
Name: Ijeoma Obi
Location (state): Abuja
1. Why did you choose Accounting as your profession?
I wanted to study Economics but my parents advised me to study Accounting instead because they believed it was a more professional course.
2. What is the best thing about your profession?
As an accountant, I get involved in management decisions. My job puts me in a position that enables me to be involved in the running of the business. For instance the financial reports, budgets and projections I prepare aid management decision making. Obviously, I am vital!
3. What do you do on a day-to-day basis?
Typically, I prepare weekly budgets to ensure funds are available, prepare approvals for overhead/operational expenses, check creditors/ debtors schedules to see that they have not fallen into the late category and chase late payments. I also meet with the company's accounts officer at the bank to check on uncleared and unpresented checks; this enables me know the company's actual bank account balance and fund availability. I also liase with HR to keep informed on the all important staff payments as well as deductions. My day usually ends with me making sure that all entries into the accounts ledgers have been posted.
4. What qualifications are you working towards?
I am already a chartered accountant, ICAN. Currently, I am working towards ataining CISA certification to improve my knowledge on accounting systems and internal control. I am also in the process of enrolling for a Masters degree in Economics and Financial Management.
5. What advice will you give someone interested in Accounting as a profession?
I'd advise you to look beyond doing just the regular keeping of records / bookkeeping. You should be able to use accounting data to aid decision making and also give advise to grow your business. It is also important you keep abreast with current affairs and how government policies and the like will affect your business processes. For instance, recently, I had to inform management how the CBN's cashless banking policy was going to affect our business transactions.
6. What skills will you advise current and aspiring students of Accounting to acquire/develop?
I advise them to sharpen their analytical skill; data analysis and interpretation is very key for accountants at the moment. No one needs an ordinary book keeper and you will find that the role of bookkeeper and accountant is separated in most large organisations. Data analysis enables you to interpret accounting records and this is a skill that will certainly make you a more resourceful employee in an organisation.
7. Is it a barrier if your degree is not Accounting?
It is not a barrier. You can do trainings and professional courses such as ICAN or ACCA which instantly qualifies you as a chartered accountant. There are many people that majored in science degrees who currently practice as Accountants.
8. Do you have any other interest you pursue apart from your profession as an Accountant?
I like cooking and baking. In my free time, I attend catering lessons. I also mentor teenagers on careers, relationships etc. I started mentoring while in university; went to secondary schools and gave talks to students.