Originally a lecturer in finance, ACCA student Edward Conteh has used his accountancy experience to develop a career helping the underprivileged in his home country of Sierra Leone.
He secured his first job, as an accounts officer in an insurance office, in 2005 and continued to lecture part-time until 2006 when he became finance officer at the Methodist Church of Sierra Leone: 'I worked on a number of projects related to economic development, agriculture, and HIV/AIDS,' he says, 'before moving on to become an accountant at Hope Micro, the microfinance arm of World Hope International, a Christian relief and development organisation.'
While at Hope Micro, Edward registered with ACCA in order to fully realise his career ambitions: 'With an ACCA Qualification, I believe you can become an expert in the finance industry both at home and abroad.'
In 2010, Edward became finance manager at First Step Inc, a subsidiary of World Hope International. First Step aims to bring ethical foreign direct investment to Sierra Leone, and is creating a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) to support the development of local manufacturing industry.
'I have many responsibilities, from overseeing First Step's finance and accounting system, to working with our consultants, the SEZ Director and our US HQ to create a finance and accounting manual,' says Edward. 'I also oversee administrative functions, such as HR and warehouse management; prepare reports, business plans, and proposals; and help organise the shipment of goods, equipment and construction materials to Sierra Leone. In addition, I contribute to First Step's overall vision.'
Edward hopes to achieve ACCA membership by June 2011, and he is sure it will bring great career advantages: 'I regard ACCA as one of the few truly independent, reputable qualifications examined around the world. Becoming an ACCA member would enable me to contribute to the finance industry, while also helping those less fortunate in my country.'
Photograph supplied by Edward Conteh.