Member interviews

Below are interviews with a few of ACCA's members where we learn about their journey, how COVID has impacted their business and their plans for the future

  • Sandra Attuah-Asante - Deputy Financial Controller, Royal Air Forces Association (RAFA)

    Tell us briefly about RAFA, your industry and your ACCA journey at RAFA

    Royal Air Forces Association (RAFA) is a service welfare charity that provides support for the RAF Family. Help is available whether it’s an injured airman striving to get back on their feet, a young child missing their parent on an overseas operation, or a WW2 veteran needing a shoulder to lean on; RAFA is available to help all generations of RAF Service personnel and their families. 

     RAFA has thousands of members and volunteers across the UK with a dedicated network needed for a personal, one-to-one approach. The Befriender and Caseworker volunteers attend nationally accredited training courses and are DBS checked to provide assurance that an excellent service is provided.  

    I joined RAFA as a full time Assistant Accountant in 2017. At that time, I still had my professional exams to complete and I was working towards these with online learning and spending my evenings and weekends at my local university library. Two years later I became a fully qualified ACCA member and a promotion to Deputy Financial Controller. I have never felt as delighted and proud as I did on the day I received my certificate in the post -all that hard work and dedication has finally paid off.  

    What has been the impact of the pandemic, challenges and areas of risk identified?

    Like many other organisations, the pandemic has had a significant impact on finances. Specifically at RAFA, the majority of our income is derived from fundraising events, for instance, Challenge Yourself, Wings Appeal and Air shows, to name a few. Due to the nature of this style of events we’ve had to innovate and consider newer and safer ways of fundraising. The Fundraising Teams designed several online virtual challenges which have proven to be quite popular amongst our members. Ultimately, the pandemic has been evidence that RAFA needs to continuously develop and diversify its income streams to remain resilient and capable of delivering the important work that it does. 

    What are RAFA's strategy and plans moving forward, with a focus on business recovery and resilience?

    RAFA has had to redefine its strategy regarding how the Association was run in the past. The traditional ways of generating vital funds to support the RAF Family has been changed drastically. Employees are adapting to homeworking as much as possible so that the very important work that the Association is doing is continued. Despite the on-going global catastrophe, the Board of Trustees and Management are confident that in time RAFA will recover.   

    How has being an ACCA member helped you with this?

    Knowing that I am part of the ACCA Is empowering as I feel a real sense of achievement. The COVID hub on the ACCA website has been a blessing as it provides all the information needed to stay up to date with what’s happening without having to spend endless hours searching for information. The panel member’s meetings; online webinars and coffee and chat series have been very beneficial as it has been helpful talking to others in a similar industry as me about issues that are affecting the organisation. 

    How do you think the profession should be seen by new talent coming in? and what skills do you think are important for future accountants?

    New talent should see ACCA as a respected professional body that will provide you with the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in your chosen line of work. Future accountants need to be resilient and be prepared to keep working hard and smart, as essentially this is one of the fundamental skills required for the successful completion of the exam series and a career as an accounting professional.  

    What are your next steps and how can ACCA support you with this?

    My goal is to be one of the best in my chosen field. As such i will be continuously refining my skillsets and knowledge base, to ensure I get to the top and stay there. 

    The resources that ACCA provides for its members portal have been extremely supportive and being part of the Leicester panel also gives me access to a network of mentors, advisors and peers which is hugely beneficial.