Since 1993, when Raji Srinivasan had just completed her accounting degree in India, she has got married, had two children, moved to Hong Kong, gained the CAT certificate, had several (good and bad) jobs, started her own company and, just recently, finally achieved ACCA membership
When I came to Hong Kong I was pregnant with my second son and, armed only with an accountancy degree, I started looking for a job. Luckily, a friend working in a local company said she had a junior role in accounts, so I excitedly sent my CV to be considered for the role.
Unfortunately, it appeared that my lack of experience and a certificate in accountancy meant I wasn’t fit for the role. Having literally begged her to take me on as her junior and to teach me everything – explaining that I’d be a really fast learner – it was demoralising not to get the job. However, looking back now, I have to admit that she's been one of my biggest motivations, alongside my family.
To advance my career I knew I had to continue with my studies, so I set about becoming a certified accounting technician, and soon took on a clerical role at a trading company. All that I was required to do was enter purchase orders into Excel. It was incredibly boring and I used the free time wisely to study towards the ACCA Qualification.
I worked there nearly three years before moving on to another small trading company in 2004. The manager was a good friend and he gave me responsibility for one of the firm’s smaller sister concerns.
One day, while studying at home, he phoned and asked me to take complete charge of this company, overseeing everything from data entry to producing balance sheets. I was shocked! But he assured me that I’d be fine, so I gave it my best shot. However, at one point I wanted to give up – it was becoming too demanding. But after some encouragement from my husband, I remained in the role for nearly three years.
In 2007 I took on a job as head of accounts and shipping at another trading company. By now, I was growing in confidence and able to handle a greater workload and more technical challenges. I worked there for two years, but I found it too busy to be able to study part-time for my ACCA Qualification. Therefore, I decided then to quit and study full time.
However, being the career-oriented person I am, I found that I couldn’t sit at home studying all the time. In 2010, I started looking for part-time work, which resulted in me taking on a full-time job at a diamond company! It would be my best and last employed job in Hong Kong.
While there, I started helping my manager's friends with their small letter preparing and consultation services. It occurred to me that there was a need for my services. So, one night, without discussing it with anyone, I started my own company – Arrow Accounting Services (AAS).
I told my manager and he suggested I find somebody to take care of it, while I concentrated on his business. But I refused and told him that AAS was my baby.
I now have a growing client base and there are many exciting plans ahead!