Accountancy offers young Bermudians route into IB
Pursuing a career in accountancy can lead to plentiful job options and builds the skills needed for a wide range of leadership roles.
That is the view of Melissa Logie, president of CPA Bermuda, the island branch of an organisation representing holders of the internationally recognised designation, Chartered Professional Accountant.
CPA Bermuda has about 350 Bermudian members and almost 1,000 international members, Ms Logie said, as the group prepared to mark International Accounting Day, today.
The idea that accountants stayed with accounting firms for their whole career was outdated, she added. “Now we see accountants in all fields. Accountants can go on to be underwriters, or regulators or business owners.
“You get a professional designation that you can take anywhere in life. The world is your oyster.”
The CPA designation provides tools needed to reach the C-suite, including knowledge of the technical competency areas of financial reporting, strategy and governance, management accounting, audit and assurance, finance and taxation.
Qualified Bermudian accountants are all but guaranteed job opportunities, given Bermuda’s thriving financial-services sector.
Earning the designation takes several years and has some educational and work experience requirements, as well as passing the exams.
There are three different routes to accountancy in Bermuda, the Canadian CPA, the US CPA and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants. The ACCA courses are offered at Bermuda College.
For many Bermudians, accountancy is the pathway into international business.
Travis Trott, 28, is a senior accountant with Bermudian-based life reinsurance company Athene Life Re. Mr Trott, a former student of Warwick Academy, attended the University of the West of England in Bristol, where he did a three-year accounting and finance degree.
“In my third year, I worked as an intern at Deloitte and when I graduated I pretty much had a job lined up for me there,” Mr Trott said.
“I was there for three-and-a-half years, working and studying and I took the US CPA. I took four exams, for which I had to travel to the US.
“I knew audit would be a stepping stone into insurance. I moved to Chubb as an insurance accountant and worked my way up to manager in the finance department, where I worked on internal and external financial reporting and helping with budgeting.”
After two-and-a-half years at Chubb, he moved to Athene, where he has worked for the past 18 months.
He said studying towards his CPA has taught him time management, while the accounting knowledge gained gave him the tools to work in many different fields.
He offered one piece of advice to any young Bermudian looking to enter international business: “Take advantage of the scholarships and internships we have in Bermuda. We are blessed that there a lot of companies interested in helping Bermudians.
“We have to do our part and work hard when we get the opportunity. I believe there are a lot of jobs for accountants in Bermuda and it’s one of the safer jobs.”
For another Bermudian, Yvonna Osborne, who is studying for her ACCA designation, accounting has proved to be the route to her preferred destination.
“I didn’t start out wanting to go into accounting, Ms Osborne, 29, said. “I studied economics at Temple University and wanted to do consulting work, because I was always interested in business.
“After university, I worked in the finance department at Clarien Bank. I decided to pursue an accounting designation, because I thought it would help give me the skills and knowledge I needed for advising businesses.”
After five years at Clarien, Ms Osborne moved to Deloitte, where she has worked for the past two years, now as a financial advisory senior associate.
For the past five years, she has been working her way to her ACCA at Bermuda College. She has had to take 13 exams and has one remaining.
“The ACCA is the equivalent of the CPA and it’s a great option for Bermudians, particularly if there are financial constraints that may stop you from travelling to take your CPA exams, since you sit the ACCA exams at Bermuda College.”
For more information, go the CPA Bermuda website at www.cpabermuda.bm