Meet Irina: our 29,000th member

Jan 06, 2021

About Irina

Irina Yotova started out with a degree in Hospitality Management, and worked for several years in senior operations roles in a number of large hotels. Budgets and numbers became a part of these roles and a part she really loved. She trained as an Accounting Technician while working, and soon decided she wouldn't stop there. Irina has recently become our 29,000th member and is delighted with her career choice. We recently chatted with her to find out more about her journey and her advice for others considering making a change.

Background and journey

I completed a degree in Hospitality Management and spent over 10 years in various roles in hospitality operations and senior management. This gave me the opportunity to engage with finance, including setting annual budgets,  weekly forecasts and analysing and managing actual results.

These financial areas became important parts of my daily duties which I have to admit I really enjoyed!

I have always had a keen interest and love for numbers, having excelled at maths in high school. So with this passion and my growing experience at work, I joined the cluster finance team which at that time was responsible for the finance and accounting of five hotels.  Production of monthly management and financial set of accounts and cost control were only a fraction of my duties, at which point I felt that pursuing a career in accounting is what I wanted to do.

Thanks to exemptions granted from elements within my primary degree, I became an Accounting Technician within a year and at that stage, I knew that becoming a Chartered Accountant was my next goal, so embarked on the Flexible Route. I chose the Flexible Route as it suited my personal and professional life as a mature student. My job involved travel within the island, which prevented me from attending lectures at times. The online materials, the support available to all students and the professional network I created helped me achieve my goal – becoming a Chartered accountant.  

What the next years may hold 

I currently work as an Auditor at the Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General, responsible for carrying out value for money examinations of various government departments and offices and report the results in annual chapters and special reports.  I joined the Office when I commenced studying for my Chartered Accountancy qualification. 

Given the fact that the world is changing at such a rapid pace nowadays, who knows where I will be in the next five years.  A lesson learnt from the pandemic is that now, more than ever, we need to be adaptable, to embrace change and to think and act quickly.

I see myself continuing to progress my career in the OCAG and I am enjoying the endless opportunities the Chartered Accountancy qualification presents me with. I would like to study again at some stage in the future. 

What advice would you give to someone considering accountancy?

I won’t lie. It was not easy – but no one said it would be…
The rewards and opportunities that go with the Chartered qualification are endless.
If I had to do it again, I would not think twice.  It’s worth the effort.

What are your top tips on studying and exams that you would give to future students?

  1. Take your time and do not stress.
  2. Try to stay on top of all subjects. It's easy to focus on the subjects we like most, so be careful not to neglect others. Good preparation and planning are the keys to success.
  3. Make sure to find time to enjoy yourself and do not give up on your hobbies while you are studying.
  4. Keep your eye on the prize!
  5. As Sills once said “There are no shortcuts to any place worth going".

What skills from your former qualification and experience have helped you along the way?

My hospitality management roles and qualification taught me organisational skills, leadership, open-mindedness, prioritisation and delivery of results. These are all fundamental in accountancy too, of course, so I feel lucky to have taken the journey I did.  Every type of experience is always an asset.  I think having worked with such a wide variety of people allowed me to gain a broad spectrum of experience in many aspects and broadened my business acumen.