Programme Manager at the British Embassy in Kabul
I chose accountancy because I wanted a diverse career and to gain a professional qualification that could be transferred between organisations and sectors. I certainly got the diverse career I was looking for, and it’s now taken me to Afghanistan – a world away from the UK! I know that wherever I choose to work in the world, ACCA will help me establish myself. I particularly liked the international aspect of the Qualification- it’s globally recognised and respected.
I’m now Programme Manager at the British Embassy in Kabul, my team and I manage around £60m of UK funding directed towards activity in Afghanistan. The money is used in a number of areas, including conflict prevention; counter narcotics, and promoting good governance and democracy. The role is part project management, part financial management.
With my ACCA Qualification and previous finance experience in other areas of the Foreign Office, I take a lead on the financial management side of things. It’s a big responsibility, but I love it. It’s extremely important that the money is well managed for two main reasons: we need to provide the best value for money to the UK taxpayer; and we need to ensure that the funding is put to the best use to achieve our Foreign Policy priorities.
Looking to the future, I see myself progressing within the FCO, with the help of my ACCA status. I’d like do some policy jobs and work overseas again - I think the ACCA Qualification will be beneficial wherever I end up, as having a good grasp of financial issues and financial management is key in any job.
If you’re considering a career in accountancy, choosing the right organisation is really important. I was lucky in that the FCO was very supportive with study leave and mentoring while I was qualifying. Think about where you want to be in three, five and 10 years’ time, and consider applying for roles that will help you get there. But don’t worry if you don’t yet know – qualifications like ACCA give you lots of options.