19 February 2018 — Stories
by Alexander Leach from ACCA
Through mentorship programmes, accountants raise awareness about the profession and its opportunities while helping young people build thriving careers.
Alexander Leach, Accountant and Tutor from the UK, shared his mentor experience with us:
I am a lecturer and tutor training people in accountancy, tax and finance. I also offer career coaching and apprenticeship recruitment. Across my work and activities, empowering people is the most important thing I do. I take a keen interest in attracting and helping young people into the profession from an early age.
I help young people through the numerous mentorship and apprenticeship programmes I am involved in. These programmes give them a good insight into what a future career in accountancy might look like.
I have close links with many local secondary schools in the UK, raising awareness about the accountancy profession and trying to disband some of the myths surrounding it. We discuss what being an accountant means and the various apprenticeship routes students could take into an accountancy career. I also have been dedicating a week during summer to initiate 20 to 40 students from secondary schools into accounting. We engage with them, give them business case studies, solve problems together and guide their first steps into accounting.
A programme of mentorship is not only about informing what are the opportunities the profession offers or helping young professionals with the technical expertise before the exams. It is about helping build their confidence. People feel more valued when they see they are listened to.
I consider myself not to be a typical accountant at all. Becoming an accountant just happened. I started my career in recruitment before being approached by an accounting firm due to my background in business. At first, I was rather sceptical, but after an internet search on the opportunities this company offered, I knew I had to embark on this new challenge.
Soon after, I decided to pursue my accountancy qualification as I knew it would help advance my career. Being part of a professional body, in my case the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), greatly helped me in gaining knowledge and expanding my network. I especially enjoyed being part of their Leaders of Tomorrow programme, where 20 young professionals with different background and experiences develop professional and personal skills by learning from their peers and mentors.
As I am very grateful for my experience as a professional accountant so far and for the steep learning curve. Now I am happy to be able to share what I have learned and help other young professionals thrive in a meaningful career. It is my way of paying it forward.
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