Amdadur Rahman

To be honest, I fell into Internal Audit. After university in Manchester, I was unsure of my career direction until a colleague mentioned an opportunity at Deloitte in London. Known as the ‘Big Smoke’ at the time, London promised new adventures, and although I didn’t fully grasp what Internal Audit entailed, I embraced the challenge.

In my early days at Deloitte, the role was less engaged and more isolating, often placing us in remote corners on client sites. One memorable audit for a further education establishment had me starting in a windowless storage room, only to be upgraded later to the finance director's office. This experience illustrated the evolving nature of our work environment, from isolation to a more collaborative and integral part of business operations.

During my time at Deloitte, I travelled extensively, working across sectors like public services, manufacturing, aviation, and charity—gaining a broad perspective yet not touching financial services until after the 2008 financial crisis. This crisis reshaped the banking sector's needs, and leveraging my ACCA training in finance and taxation, I transitioned into this new area, bypassing other qualifications like the IIA, which seemed redundant given my practical experience.

Joining Lloyds Banking Group was a significant chapter, where I oscillated between auditing and frontline risk management roles for nearly eight years. This dual perspective helped me see how Internal Audit could serve not just as oversight but as a strategic advisor, shifting away from the 'us versus them' mindset.

The real transformation in my career came with my role at Shawbrook Bank in the specialist banking ‘fintech’ sector. Here, the pace is relentless, requiring an audit function that keeps up with rapid business operations. We've moved away from the traditional waterfall audit approach in favour of agile management techniques, using two-week sprints to provide timely feedback to stakeholders.

Our team has expanded significantly in size over a short period, reflecting a broader shift towards a more dynamic and rapid delivery of audit results. Recently, my focus has changed towards integrating AI and data analytics into our audit processes, enhancing our advisory capacity and enabling us to offer unique insights that add significant value to the executive management and the board.

Educating stakeholders about the nuanced role of the third line of defence remains a priority. It’s essential that Internal Audit not only distinguishes itself from other lines but also offers perspectives that provoke strategic rethinking and risk management.

Embracing AI has been transformative; it not only speeds up our audits but introduces a new layer of strategic insight. We prioritise the ethical application of AI, focusing on data protection and privacy to responsibly enhance our business growth and improve customer service.

If you're uncertain about what you want from your career in the early stages, that's perfectly normal. Embrace each opportunity to learn from various sectors. For me, the central role of banking and financial services in business, acting as the backbone of economic structures and a universal language of commerce, was captivating. Each experience will guide you to your areas of interest and expertise.

In conclusion, the ACCA qualification has been instrumental in my journey through the ever-evolving landscape of Internal Audit, equipping me with the necessary skills to navigate changes and lead innovations in a dynamic financial services environment.