ACCA member Alistair Roman reveals how the ACCA Qualification has been a critical element in his career progress.
Growing up, I was always interested in the numbers side of things. So when an opportunity arose for me to choose accounting back in 1985 while in my first year at senior school, I grabbed it with both hands. I’ve not looked back since and still enjoy every moment of being an accountant.
My journey has seen me working in different countries across various industries, geographies and cultures. The one thing that makes being an accountant so interesting is the transferability of your skills. Regardless of where you find yourself in the corporate world, as accountants we all speak the same language.
The pandemic has had a devastating impact, especially for ‘bricks and mortar’ businesses. It has also highlighted the robustness needed around enterprise risk management, given the near ‘perfect storm’ it has caused. It definitely brought significant challenges and risks across most areas of the business.
Having grown up under the apartheid regime in South Africa, I’m strongly motivated by my never-say-die, can-do attitude. My experience has shown that life will present you with different challenges along the way; what matters most is getting back up and continuing with your journey.
I strongly believe in driving the right behaviours and outcomes when it comes to the environment. Ideally it should be in the form of a reward and recognition system that encourages compliance.
When I was growing up in South Africa, we had many leaders who shaped our lives as we dealt with the reality of living in a segregated society. The greatest is Nelson Mandela, a true icon who has taught us so much and continues to show the way even in his absence. Another great influence on me is my uncle, who continues to play a significant role in my life and career.
I have worked in a few countries and recognise the importance of understanding the dynamics of the environment and local culture, as they pose different challenges in developed and developing markets. The ACCA Qualification has been critical in supporting my journey. The fact that it is global and widely respected means I felt right at home wherever my career has taken me. And ACCA’s networks and resources mean you are always favourably looked upon and prepared for the journey ahead.
My biggest achievement so far is not allowing my past, growing up in apartheid South Africa, to dictate in any way, shape or form my future aspirations. As Mandela said: ‘Action without vision is only passing time, vision without action is merely day dreaming, but vision with action can change the world.’