Delivering on the front line
From healthcare to transport, ACCA members help deliver finance solutions to vital public services, that make a difference to millions of people around the world. Read more about why they all choose ACCA.
Mohd Salihin Othman
Mohd Salihin Othman
Trained by ACCA to be an authority.
It was always my aspiration to serve the nation by contributing professional knowledge and develop a balanced service as compared to private and commercial entities. Working in a statutory body, really requires a great extent of appreciation in the regulatory function, understanding the governance and pressing need to perform professional duties. And this is what I aspire to achieve.
Accountants play an integral part of any organisation. The expectations towards them are not just merely to be a financial gatekeeper, they are also business partners, advisors to senior management in ensuring that decisions made are always sensible and supported by facts and figures.
I chose ACCA training as it gives a comprehensive coverage that makes the qualification relevant at any given time and situation. One particular area which I find very useful was the ACCA Certificate in Digital Innovation for Finance. Through the course, I was able to understand emerging technologies, future disruptors and digital transformation aspects. It also gave me the edge on my peers in key areas.
Years served: 13 years (overall working experience 17 years)
Country/market: Malaysia, Statutory Body under Ministry of Finance
Job title: Financial Controller, Malaysia Deposit Insurance Corporation
Andrew Kubo Mlawasi
Andrew Kubo Mlawasi
Trained by ACCA to look after the front line’s bottom line.
My father was a civil servant and growing up I admired how he displayed his patriotism by serving his country. This really made me desire to serve within the civil service. After secondary school, I had a clear roadmap, beginning my journey as an ACCA member and offering my service in the public sector.
Public sector is all about service delivery and the public pay taxes in the expectation of a prudent use of funds to provide them with basic social amenities. Accountants are the heart of an efficient public sector, as they are involved with budgeting, budget execution, advising, which influences policy and legislation. I operate with three principles - professionalism, accountability and transparency.
My ACCA training has gone over and above the conventional training of an accountant. It incorporates emerging issues and technological innovations along with conventional accountancy training, ensuring that members bring a broad spectrum of skill sets to serve within the public sector. Thanks to ACCA, I am always up to speed with current and emerging issues within the accountancy profession and this has given me an edge within the public sector.
Years served: Current position two years, public sector 12 years
Job title: Member of the County Executive Committee for Finance and Economic Planning, County Government of Taita Taveta
Bandhu Pratim Das
Bandhu Pratim Das
Trained by ACCA to be someone you can count on.
I entered the public sector as a finance officer because of the learning and development opportunities it offered, but I soon realised that working in the public sector is the most rewarding way I can contribute to society while earning a living!
Public sector organisations vary in size and complexity. But spending limited public money effectively, sustainably and ethically is essential. Accountants deliver a critical role in making sure Parliament, the people and senior officials know how and why public money is spent to deliver better outcomes for citizens.
I chose ACCA because it offered the flexibility for technical specialisation at the professional level. I developed a career primarily around management reporting and financial insight that improved front line delivery, streamlined operational efficiency and influenced decision-making. But I also gained critical auditing and financial management knowledge and skills.
I currently lead a multidisciplinary team consisting of economists, operational researchers, accountants and data scientists to solve high-value, cross-cutting finance insight problems that can only be solved with close collaboration and creative efforts across the sector.
I am effective in this hugely rewarding role at the centre of the government because of ACCA’s forward-thinking syllabus and high-quality training enabled by innovative academic partnerships. ACCA’s innovative post-qualification CPD offerings, such as those related to data, technology and data science, are critical for success in my current role. ACCA’s thriving public sector network allows me to build connections and learn from colleagues across the sector that is under immense pressure to deliver more and better from fast technological and societal changes around us.
Years served: Three years in current role
Country/market: UK/central government
Job title: Head of Data Strategy and Insight, HM Treasury, UK Civil Service
Trained by ACCA to set the standard.
I joined the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) thirteen years ago. The function and role of the FRC as a regulator for Financial Reporting and for Auditors in Mauritius appealed to me and presented a good opportunity for me to share the experience I had gained in the private sector.
Finance professionals have a huge opportunity to serve the communities in which they live and make a tangible difference to people’s lives and help shape the public services of the future, achieving value for money, long-term sustainability through better infrastructure and public services. Finance professionals working in the public sector will be playing an even more pivotal role over the coming years in managing challenges and driving change.
The public sector is very complex. ACCA support has always been tremendous as it has not limited itself to supporting the private sector but has intensively provided valuable guidance to the public sector throughout the world. As an accountant in a regulatory body, I need to be abreast with all updates and at times ahead of foreseeable developments in the reporting environment in Mauritius. ACCA training and continuous communications, be it on the new standards in accounting and auditing, discussion papers, worldwide updates, reporting on developments in several jurisdictions or any other materials that will affect the financial environment, keep members on their toes. Subjects such as artificial intelligence, integrated reporting, data protection and whistleblowing have always been covered in a timely manner.
ACCA professionals are well-equipped to remain up to date with current practices in order to respond to future changes. ACCA has also adapted promptly with the new normal and has been offering valuable and topical webinars accessible to its members. As an accountant in a regulatory role, I have been able to participate in policy decisions made during the pandemic to ensure the smooth running of the regulatory system in Mauritius.
Years served: 13 years in Public Sector and 8 years in Private Sector
Job title: Manager leading a team in the review of Audit Practices and monitoring financial and non-financial reporting in Public Interest Entities, Financial Reporting Council (Mauritius)
Trained by ACCA to do the right thing.
Since my very first job, my desire has been to always work in the public service and serve the public. I have a great passion for serving the public as there is a lot of fulfilment when a citizen gets a service through you and obtains satisfaction from various government agents which you facilitated.
Accountants are protectors of public interest and are entrusted to provide public value and give confidence to the users of the financial data that they prepare for their different organisations. ACCA training is especially ideal because there is an in-depth training on ethics whereby the learner goes through a process of examining their actions as a result of various ethical issues. Moreover, the CPD events that ACCA organise means that even now I am meeting new people, exchanging ideas and learning of current relevant issues.
Thanks to ACCA’s ongoing support, and as a professional accountant who is supposed to act ethically, I ensure that the public has confidence in what I do and in any report that I produce for general public consumption.
Years served: 12 years
Country/market: South Africa
Job title: Forensic Investigator- Accountant, Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission
Trained by ACCA to plan for the future.
I started life in the public sector as a local authority councillor. In the workplace, I was also getting exposure to audits of GP Fundholders and Grant Maintained Schools. It wasn’t long thereafter that I moved into the Audit Commission.
Having worked most recently in front line delivery I must commend my operational colleagues for overcoming often insurmountable obstacles through their sheer hard work and dedication. On the whole, the support finance business partners give them is now fully embedded into daily business activities and let’s not forget that in many cases finance colleagues operate very much on the front line too.
Over the period I have worked in the public sector I have been responsible for leading finance teams with direct contact with the public at large. ‘Putting the customer at the heart of what we do’ is very much implicit in the mission statement of delivery bodies. So, would I recommend a career in the civil service? Yes, and oh, did I mention the quite generous pension?
ACCA recognised early on that a ‘one size fits all’ approach would not address the needs of an ever changing world in which equality, inclusivity and social mobility are now considered essential. ACCA has been in the vanguard of environmental and sustainability reporting over many decades and has contributed to the issue more recently through its input into the Integrated Reporting Framework and promoting the current ESG agenda.
In my own case, I have drawn upon the ACCA’s research on calculating national net worth to understand better what Scotland might look like as an independent country. More generally, I love ACCA research that goes into the professional insights programme.
As a final reflection, accountants do not always have the luxury of a template to follow for every occasion which is why professional examinations need to test key transferable skills irrespective of the sector in which they expect to work. And in terms of the public sector, let’s not forget the values of impartiality, integrity, honesty and objectivity which have gone a long way in upholding the highest standards in public life and that we overlook at our peril.
Years served: 08 years in Agency (20 years in Scottish government)
Job title: Chief Financial Officer, Scottish Public Pensions Agency (agency of Scottish government)
Trained by ACCA to be future-focussed.
My background is working as a finance and contract officer at the European Commission, which gave me the deep insight of managing GAA funds. I received comprehensive training and extensive work experience on the project management, financial and contractual management and controls, the tendering and reporting requirements, compliance, procedures and process from donor perspectives.
Maximising profit is the key objective for accountants in the private sector. So I chose to work in the public sector, where the major value of the accountants is mainly focused on risk and compliance, transparency, cost effectiveness and efficiency, and how to achieve the organisational mission and value.
ACCA is a globally-recognised qualification and meets the requirements for working in the public sector. Not only that, the cutting-edge insight of ACCA and the global network added value to my career development. That’s why I study CPD every year in order to maintain my ACCA membership. It’s a good way to continually build my professional skills and acquire new knowledge. On top of that, the training on code of ethics helps me act with integrity and transparency.
Years served: 20
Job title: Country Finance Director, Save the Children China
Trained by ACCA to be continuously learning.
I chose to work in the public sector as it isn’t focussed on maximising profits. Instead, its focus is on how to provide better services to the public, which is consistent with my professional goals. What needs to be considered when evaluating the performance of the public sector is value for money, requiring accounting and financial professionals to play a role with their professional expertise.
My work helps benefit the front-line and the public at large by providing them with the latest financial policies and financial information, thus providing professional consultation and interpretation services.
ACCA training appealed to me as performance evaluation and professional ethics are particularly important in their curriculum. And these are two aspects that the public sector pays particular attention to.
On top of that, various ACCA CPD events are conducive and helpful to my career growth. And the connection to the ACCA community strengthened my contact with professionals from different industries. With all kinds of information provided to me by ACCA, I now understand the important changes taking place in the profession, which has really opened up my thinking.
Years served: 10
Job title: Deputy Chief, Budget Section, Fuzhou University
Trained by ACCA to add value.
Having worked in a corporate sector for most of my professional career, I wanted a change in focus from profit to something with a wider impact on the community. I got a chance to work in the public sector at a job at the World Bank, an organisation with a noble mission of ending extreme poverty and promoting shared prosperity.
Like in any business, even in the public sector, a competent professional accountant is an invaluable asset to the company. Their training in accounting enables them to adopt a pragmatic and objective approach to solving problems.
I chose to become an ACCA member as the training is rigorous. There are a lot of exams on different subjects you must pass to get qualified. But it’s not just about studying and passing exams. You also need to apply that knowledge in practice and get your experience appropriately certified before you fully qualify. ACCA CPD helped me maintain and sharpen my skills in the changing environment by focusing on new areas (big data, climate risk and reporting etc) for which I was not initially trained.
Years served: 15
Country/market: North America
Job title: Senior Financial Officer, International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD or the World Bank)
Trained by ACCA to go the extra mile.
After spending over a decade in a Big Four audit practice, I was looking for a change of pace and a change of scenery. You can say I stumbled into the public sector by chance, but I have stayed here, for over a decade now, by choice.
What was supposed to be a short break to gather my bearings became a life-long commitment. I discovered the immense satisfaction and sense of self-realization of putting my knowledge and skills in service to people in my country, my province, my city, my community. Every day brings a new challenge, putting my knowledge and skills to the test, and I get a great sense of reward knowing that I am also giving back to the community. Moreover, ever since I started my journey in the public sector, I found myself surrounded by like-minded individuals passionate about serving our communities.
Accounting and finance professionals are a bloodline of any organization. But, in the public sector, we carry even bigger responsibilities. We are entrusted with the care and fiduciary duty over the public funds, and we are responsible for ensuring that the resources of the organization are used in the most responsible and efficient manner to provide the products, services and support to the public.
ACCA provides well-rounded training and education which allow its members to be successful in many sectors of the economy, including the public sector. Rigorous and comprehensive training in multiple disciplines allow ACCA members to see well beyond the numbers, grasp a larger context of the organization’s environment, and understand the implications of decisions.
Being an ACCA member goes well beyond passing the final exams. ACCAs are members of one of the largest accountancy organisations in the world, having access to world-wide resources, network, practical experience and research. In my day-to-day job I make a great use of resources available to ACCA members, such as websites, magazines, training specific to the public sector, and public sector forums that ACCA participates in.
Years served: 1.5 years
Country/market: Canada, British Columbia, public transit
Job title: Vice President, Financial Services, South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority (TransLink)
Trained by ACCA to be world class.
My primary motivation to enter the public sector was driven by a passion for training and the development of future finance professionals. I am currently a Senior Lecturer within the School of Accounting at the North-West University in South Africa, but I have over twenty years' experience in financial reporting, budgeting, project accounting, corporate venture divestment and investment proposals for various state-owned enterprises. I moved into the academic environment in 2015 having previously spent time with Shell (SA), Gillette (SA) and Eskom, the largest Electricity Utility in Africa.
A trained ACCA professional accountant can think outside the box by being able to put theory into practice to solve real life problems. The competences obtained from the training can be replicated from one position to another. This is distinct from our peers who are specialist auditors or accountants. This means an ACCA accountant is able to work across different functions without limitations and this helps set them apart from their peers.
ACCA has put in place various measures to support its members to ensure that skills, knowledge and competence are maintained through endeavours such as continuous professional development (CPD), and with alliances with other like-minded professional bodies. I have particularly benefited from this support in my present role in education and these endeavours have put me on a par with seasoned academics, helping me to obtain the highly prestigious Master of Science (in Professional Accountancy).
My work has benefited both the front-line and the public at large because even in the midst of the pandemic, educators have been able to continue educating the nation even in the face of total shut down by swiftly migrating to online learning. It has also brought new opportunities that will enhance access to training and development for the wider population post-pandemic. It will also make it possible to reach learners for training even in remote areas.
Years served: 06 years
Country/market: South Africa
Job title: Senior Lecturer, North West University
Trained by ACCA to diagnose problems.
I entered the public sector because I wanted to use my management experience and methods accumulated from years of working in business and combine them with public sector management practices to improve the economic management in the public domain. China’s public sector is changing like never before, and with it comes a greater need for management innovation and reform.
Public sector is different from the private sector, in that it exists for the realisation of social goals. While hospitals are mainly operating for public benefits, their economic activities are still bound by the equation of costs and benefits. Under market economy, accountants working in hospitals use modern management accounting tools such as total budget, performance management, internal control and cost management to help hospitals optimize their resource distribution, control operational risks, strengthen internal control, and perform economic operation analysis. Our work directly leads to promoting public-friendly services and improving patients’ medical experience.
Although ACCA’s curricular system is built around corporate accounting, the accounting fundamentals contained in their courses are extremely helpful for accounting professionals in the public sector helping them to enrich their knowledge base and broaden their view.
ACCA has provided me with international vision, as it is built in alignment with the most up-to-date international accounting standards and has helped me master the dynamic development of IFRS. It has a fresh mindset, as ACCA courses are not so much about purely teaching knowledge as teaching students how to study and think. It has also helped me develop friendships along the way with people who have become life-long friends.
Years served: Over 25
Job title: Chief Accountant, Shanghai No.10 People's Hospital
Trained by ACCA to extract value.
In my early days at KPMG, I was preparing myself for the corporate world, however post qualification I found out that the public sector was keen to induct finance professionals as part of their core team to transform and reform the sector. Later my employer at the Department for International Development (DFID-UK) assigned me fiduciary responsibilities to look after the funding of multilateral and bi-lateral donors in Pakistan’s public sector. This entirely changed my perspectives of serving in the public sector and my career path! I had the opportunity to observe and understand the different dimensions of the public sector and the impact its decisions have on various sections of the economy and even on people’s livelihoods.
I am presently responsible for the hugely challenging Energy Portfolio in the Privatization Commission dealing with the oil & gas and power sector enterprises undergoing privatization as well as for mobilizing private sector resources in the energy sector.
ACCA's attention to detail helps make its members reliable custodians of taxpayers' money, ensuring the effective use of public funds. Also, being an international qualification, ACCA prepares you for the diverse roles that need to be performed in multidisciplinary and multi-cultural public sector environments. The socio-economic circumstances of countries vary but an ACCA training allows professionals to have a holistic understanding of public resource planning and effective resource management. It is because of this skill set that ACCA professionals in the public sector reach important decision-making positions, and has led to a continual increase in the number of ACCA professionals working in public sector. It is fascinating to see the emerging dynamics of public sector and the role and culture ACCA professionals have been able to inculcate therein.
Years served: 21 years in public sector
Previous roles in public sector include:
DG NEPRA (Power Regulator), GM OGDCL (National Oil Company), Financial Economist, Ministry of Finance, Advisor on Finance Federal Board of Revenue (Tax Reforms), DFID (UK) in Pakistan, KPMG]
Job title: Sr. Advisor (Energy) , Privatization Commission of Pakistan
Trained by ACCA to make clear judgements.
I entered the public sector after secondary education to gain experience and to be able to contribute to the public sector. It offered me valuable training and upskilling as well as an insight into public policy and administration. Accountants offer a valuable skillset to the public service. Being professionally accredited provides accountability to the governance of public expenditure, and they can provide assurance to the general public that the public expenditure has professional oversight, and qualified officials.
As a Member for the European Court of Auditors, ethics and governance are integral parts of my role, which are underpinnings of the ACCA qualification and training.
The ACCA Qualification places emphasis on professional values, governance and ethics making it an ideal training for the public sector as these are all important values of good public service. I believe my qualification has prepared me for public financial management, as well as offering me a worldwide community in which I can both gain from and contribute to. I have felt supported by ACCA throughout my career and it has provided me with the confidence to apply for new and exciting roles knowing that I am certified by a worldwide-recognised organisation. Equally, they have provided training and direction on new standards. Our ACCA employees at the ECA always know that they have access to training and updates to international standards. They feel there is a community of expertise and experience behind them.
Years served: 8.5 years in the ECA, 40 years in public sector, fellow of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants since 1989
Country/market: Luxembourg , European Union Institution
Job title: Irish Member of ECA, Dean of Chamber V – Administration and Financing the Union. Formerly Director of Chamber IV - Regulation of markets and competitive economy, European Court of Auditors
Trained by ACCA to look for new solutions.
With the continuous improvement of China's international status and the improvement of the management ability of the public sector, financial personnel are required to have international economic and management vision, along with ideas to improve systematic and optimized internal control.
Working in the field of intellectual property, I hope to apply what I have learned to the public domain and realise my desire to serve the public. There is currently much room for improvement at the financial management level in the public sector. High-end financial personnel in the public domain are scarce, so professional leaders are needed to train and lead talent to provide professional services for the public. Our role is vital in accurately reporting the operation and management of public utilities, to make the best use of state funds, and avoid any waste of resources.
ACCA members can enable their departments to get comprehensive support and business development. It brings together professional financial knowledge with strategic planning and development direction, and plays an important role in adhesion and promotion. The perspective of looking at problems helps meet the requirements of senior managers, and plays a vital role in helping with business diagnosis.
ACCA activities and special symposiums have enabled me to expand my network, and allowed me to draw ideas and inspiration from the experiences of others, such as listed companies, multinational companies and central enterprises, and convert them into contributions for my organisation.
Years served: 24 years
Job title: Head of Finance Department, China Patent Technology Development Corporation
Trained by ACCA to move the front line forward.
I entered the public sector to contribute to improving the accounting of finances in government. I initially started with auditing in the public sector space and then moved across to working in a department. Ensuring that accounting and transparency is improved increases confidence in the public sector, improves credibility and contributes to achievement of service delivery.
My work includes allocation and monitoring of budgets for departments in sub-national who are at the forefront of service delivery. This includes understanding the policy priorities of government and assessing budgets to determine how it is responsive in achieving the prioritiesBy doing this kind of work it contributes to a hospital being built, a school being resourced, social workers being available, and bursaries being available for learners to further their studies, and much more!
An ACCA training is ideal for public sector due to the broad content of the courses provided. One does not only need to keep abreast with changing accounting standards but to explore strategic ways to ensure service delivery is improved. The ethics module emphasises the importance of doing the right thing at all times. There may be various pressures in the public sector which can open up the risk of one compromising integrity and we need to ensure that the reputation of the profession is upheld and not brought into disrepute.
The training has provided me with the necessary technical expertise to contribute to the correct accounting of transactions and reporting. There is also a focus on professional values and governance which is key in the public sector.
Years served: Five years
Country/market: South Africa
Job title: Director, Provincial Budget Analysis, National Treasury, South Africa