Student in 60 seconds – Antoinette Robinson

Antoinette Robinson talks to Student Accountant about her career as examiner at the Jamaica Co-operative Credit Union League

‘I had always dreamed of becoming an accountant,’ says Antoinette Robinson, ‘so I began my career as soon as I left school, joining the Ministry of Finance as an accounts clerk. Two years later I was offered a job in an auditing firm, and my career really accelerated in both accounting and audit. I decided to specialise and became an accountant. My first job was at Business Technology Systems before moving on to Medical Associates Hospital where I was chief accountant, and then to Agriventures Jamaica Ltd.’

Antoinette’s career is a good example of how specialising early can lead to broader responsibilities later. ‘My current role as examiner is more than being ‘just’ an accountant or an auditor, as my focus is on financial aspects, and on operational and performance management. My work at the Credit Union has confirmed my belief that a career in the finance industry – more than in any other profession – makes you very aware of different roles and sectors, because our work touches on so many different areas.’

The Jamaica Co-operative Credit Union League is an association of credit unions; these unions are set up to provide competitive, not-for-profit financial services for their members, who usually have something in common such as where they work, where they live, or their profession. The League provides services to all the credit unions within its co-operative – Antoinette explains: ‘Our main purpose is to enable the growth, development, and success of each union. We provide the financial centre, enable self-regulation, and continuously train credit union staff to develop leadership skills. We also represent the movement nationally and internationally, and coordinate the implementation of our Jamaica-wide strategic plan.

‘We operate through a number of divisions within the League; I work within the Stabilisation Unit, which manages the Jamaican Credit Union Savings Guarantee Fund or ‘stabilisation’ fund. This fund provides a 100% guarantee for credit union members’ savings, in the event of losses suffered by a credit union if its capital base becomes depleted. To ensure the fund remains secure, we have an annual examination programme, where we review both quantitative and qualitative data, focusing on key trends, ratios, management, and operations.

‘My role as an examiner is really that of a monitor and I have a number of specific responsibilities. For example, I evaluate each union’s operations to determine the level of risk posed to the stabilisation fund, and recommend improvements that could mitigate any potential losses. I request and receive financial returns from the credit unions within my district, and manage their PEARLS financial system database in order to analyse overall performance. I also ensure that we adhere to all our internal standards and best practices, as well as national laws and regulations.’

Antoinette readily acknowledges the benefits of her ACCA studies, and how relevant they are to accountants seeking a broader or more challenging career: ‘What I love about ACCA is that it encourages you to be dynamic – not only has it prepared me for technical challenges, but it also enabled me to handle IT and even HR issues. This was certainly the case when I worked at the hospital, and also at Agriventures Jamaica Ltd.

‘Here I held a senior post as an accountant and administrator in sole charge of preparing all financials for the group’s companies, which operated in a variety of industry sectors including development and construction, finance, and distribution.

‘Now I am mentored by my supervisor, Karan Fisher MBA, and with her support I perform my duties better which in turn enhances my ACCA studies. ACCA is definitely the best thing that ever happened to me, and it has certainly helped me build my career.’  


"My current role as examiner is more than being ‘just’ an accountant or an auditor, as my focus is on financial aspects, and on operational and performance management"