Nadia Kuhteva, State Street

Gen BODY - Nadia Kuhteva-min

Does the Chartered Accountancy qualification offer security as a career?

Some may say that over the last 20 years the words “secure career” have become an oxymoron due to various uncertainties, fast changing busines environments and matters out of our control happening all over the world. I am not talking particularly about COVID-19, IT advancements, refugee crisis, Brexit or Global warming, however those are few examples that drive key investment decisions, so to meet the business and shareholders expectations. Many jobs have either changed/adapted to the current business demands or have been made redundant. As once someone told me “Only change is the only constant variable, nothing ever stays the same”. So that makes it very difficult to find the so-called “secure career” that most people are after. However, if you have considered a career as a Chartered Accountant then I can most certainly inform you that this qualification will provide you with the knowledge of how to find certainty in business situations through wise decision making, no matter how much change may come your way. In those challenging times such as the recent pandemic we have faced, Chartered Accountants have become the first point of contact for business advice and reassurance on how to stay ahead of what is a very fast-moving situation and be in a position to give the best advice to clients.

Have you discovered flexibility in your career options as a Chartered Accountant? Do you feel you could move industry or country easily?

Yes of course, there is plenty of flexibility for career options and transfer to any industry as well as moving to a new country. Chartered Accountants have Mutual Recognition Agreements between the Chartered bodies around the world. Personally, I started my accountancy career as an auditor and a few years later I transferred to preparation of financial statements, but the choices are unlimited. You may end up becoming a forensic accountant or fintech consultant, you could take a public sector job or work in a practice, or how about starting your very own business. Every industry needs accountants and finance consultants, so whatever you may be passionate about there is a way for you to get in to it through accountancy.  

How have your strategic skills as a Chartered Accountant been of benefit to you and your company, during recent times?

During the recent times of great uncertainty Chartered Accountants (CA) have added value through professional advise for many businesses.  CA’s don’t only calculate the tax and produce financial statements, they are trusted advisors who in situations of great uncertainty such as in recent times, can see the way out and advise on the best decision available for a business to make.

Why accountancy?

Because accountancy provides the perfect foundation of finance skills required for a finance related job in any industry, as employee or employer.  Also, accountancy would teach you about the ins and outs of how to run a successful business. I had not planned to become an accountant, although that’s what happened.

Why Chartered Accountants Ireland?

During my college degree I did research online and spoke with a few accounting lecturers with qualifications from various institutes and they all advised me on completing the ACA qualification if I wanted to optimise my employability and more focused learning on Irish tax. If I was to stay in Ireland and open my dream café, I do need to know about Irish tax reliefs. The other qualifications provide more global tax knowledge rather than specific to Ireland. I also had done research on qualifications of CFO’s and found that most of them were ACA qualified. 

Can you explain the Flexible Route to someone who doesn't know what it is?

The Flexible Route suited me perfectly because I am a mother & a wife so time is something that was scarce for me. The lectures are summarised and structured so well that from the start of the lecture to the end you’ll have covered all important learning points and then you can practise the questions at home in your own time. There is help available all hours through the day or night – between online lectures and class groups, there is always support available on any query you may have. Also, lecturers are always available to help via call or email, saving you traveling and time.

What are the advantages to working and studying?

When you work and study at the same time you have a chance to apply what you’ve studied and ask colleagues questions about things you don’t understand and so feel that there is always someone near you to give you the answer. Sometimes the academic world can seem so distant from reality but when you’re working at the same time, you can see how theory is applied to your day to day job.

Where have you worked and what kind of roles have you been in?

I have worked in numerous places since I started my Chartered Accountancy exams. I started with EY in a training contract. As an auditor I worked for a different client every two weeks in industries varying from pharmaceutical to farming. It was very exciting to start off with EY because working for such large multinational firm comes with many benefits such as traveling, exposure to different clients and working with different teams all the time which makes you flexible and helps develop good communication and time management skills. 

Then I moved to Luxembourg working for the European Court of Auditors (ECA) on an auditors training contract because I wanted to gain experience in the public sector and that was another exciting career development move and life experience as well. It’s great to be able to travel and work and study at the same time. Here I have to mention how well the flexible route suited me because I could travel and gain experience at the same time.

Then I received a call to see if I was interested in working for a local Waterford accounting practice, so I reviewed my work experience to that point and decided that I had enough auditing experience and it was time to come back to Ireland and start preparation of financial statements. This job was perfect because the clients were small local businesses and I could really learn the ins and outs of the process from start to finish.

Later on I received a call for a role in State Street in their financial reporting department (where I am currently). This was perfect timing as I was ready to move on to review larger financial statements. 

So, in summary, once you qualify, the job possibilities are endless and you won’t be knocking on doors any more but answering them. I remember times when I was in college and going around the whole city handing in CV’s looking for a job.

Describe a typical day for you?

A typical day at my current role in the financial reporting department of State Street starts with a review of my mailbox and preparing a list for the tasks that are to be completed for the day. I prioritise them and start with the most urgent that needs my attention. As the day goes by I receive emails from client and auditors with queries which I try to resolve as soon as possible, because other people’s job getting done is dependent on me answering their questions. Also some administrative tasks and of course loads and loads of tea.

Is it flexible?

Yes, I do find the job working hours flexible, for example the daily working hours are 7.5 and they can start from 7am to 10am (suits early birds and not so early birds). I could also work from home, this suits most people who need to travel.

How was combining work and study? 

It’s a challenge but you need to focus and not overthink it. Just sit down three nights in the week for about an hour to practise a question and remember the study year is not 12 months. When you add Christmas, Easter and summer holidays you are not really going to study that much. It’s absolutely worth it, the CA qualification will lead to so many more job opportunities for you and its true what they say, it’s like a passport to the rest of the world.

Can you see how someone who is not an accountant might benefit from this qualification?

The Chartered Accountancy qualification will give you a detailed view on how profit and non-profit organisations are run. It will teach you about the legal aspect of various issues that may occur, it will teach you tax calculation and all available tax reliefs and benefits for various transactions. It will teach you how to analyse industries, businesses and how to choose the option with best outcome.

Would you recommend the Flexible Route to others? Why?

Yes, I would 100% recommend the Flexible Route. If you are self-motivated to follow the study plan, if you have other commitments preventing you from attending lectures and wish to learn and take your business knowledge to a whole new level, the Flexible Route is right for you.

What advice would you give someone who is considering the Flexible Route?

Don’t think too much about it and just do it. Thank yourself later.

What success are you looking for?

I hope someday to have my own café.

What are your future goals?

I am only newly qualified but since graduating with the Institute of Chartered Accountants here in Ireland I am already far more confident to take up jobs that in the past I would have thought I’d never be able to do and that is all thanks to all the relevant real jobs questions the study texts taught me.

Even if I don’t know the answer there on the spot, I know where to start and look for the information I need.