As a child, I loved playing the “Profession” game. From around the neighbourhood, kids will huddle together in a circle, and randomly pick a profession they dream of becoming, with rhythmic clapping and dancing. The trick was that the person who mentioned a profession already mentioned is knocked out of the circle until there are two or three kids still in the circle. It was a thing of pride to be one of the “last-kids-standing”. To always be a part of the winning kids, I felt sticking to a profession that was unique and not easily remembered, was the trick.
This began my journey to becoming an accountant. Thus, even though I was meant to be in Science class back in secondary school, I opted for the social sciences, because “accountant” stuck on my mind, and my love for figures and numbers wouldn’t go away. I knew accounting was what I wanted and there was no going back. Through hard work and passion, I won best in class in secondary school and this drove me to major in Accounting. With scientific evidence of working hard already playing out in my life, I further made a decision of not just being a pragmatic accounting graduate but a pragmatic chartered accountant.
The ICAN journey was not easy. It involved closing from work and going for evening classes, hence, I barely had a life outside preparations for the exams because I was struggling with office deliverables and reading for my exams. I knew the fulfilment and benefits I will get from being a Chartered accountant- including, improved capacity to effectively manage an entity or country from the financial perspective. However, it required herculean financial and time resources, of which I had constraints.
At last, on May 9, 2018, I overcame all the hurdles and was inducted as an Associate Chartered Accountant (ACA) with The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN). Apart from hard work, I was blessed with amazing tutors, a supporting family, friends and Connected Development (CODE). Working with the CODE team so far, has enabled me to hone my accounting skills. CODE has given me the opportunity to meet with professional mentors who have also motivated me to strive to be the best in my profession. I have also had the opportunity to train staff in order to improve their expense reconciliation skills and ensure they have basic financial management knowledge. Also, my interaction with other departments such as the Programmes and Community Engagement units has availed me the opportunity to learn programme roles and responsibilities in order to effectively carry out my duties in financial project management, such as project budgeting and financial reporting.
Follow The Money which is an initiative of CODE; tracks, advocates and visualises government spending in rural communities. Through this, we ensure rural dwellers have access to education, health, water, sanitation and hygiene facilities. Basically, we make sure the government is accountable to its citizens. As the accountant and internal control specialist, I follow the “follow-the-money” team to ensure our organisation is accountable to rural communities – the bane of our existence, and our donors all around the world. Hence, I am the Chief Follow The Money Specialist.
Accounting has allowed me to grow and learn both professionally and personally. Although it is a competitive field, it offers fantastic opportunities for career progression in different organizations, industries and countries. Accounting is not only the commercial language of an organization it is also at the centre of ever-changing business dynamics and management practices.
However, we don’t have to be “official” or possess “full technical capacity” to hold our governments accountable. It is important for us to track government spending within our communities in order to ensure sustainable development for all. A great way to start is to join ifollowthemoney.org. Have you done that? Sign up today!