I studied physics, chemistry, pure mathematics and applied mathematics at advanced level, and planned to be a mathematician. However, my elder brother inspired me to study accountancy instead.
A thirst for knowledge helped me to sharpen my technical skills in accounting, audit and taxation. I pursued my ACCA Qualification while training at a Big Four firm.
I grew up amidst civil conflict and ethnic tension and have seen how educational opportunities can be snatched away from the young
I started my career with PwC in Sri Lanka, where I rotated through the usual specialised accounting and auditing roles. Getting assigned to important clients provided me with the training required to work under pressure with short deadlines.
Then an opportunity arose to become a member of EY’s IFRS implementation and consulting team. This was a formative time in which I gained skills in managing multiple clients, especially in conversion from Sri Lanka accounting standards (SLAS) to International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). I also played a crucial role in supporting the EY assurance teams, providing technical solutions to solve a variety of IFRS-related issues.
Having completed my tenure at EY, I was ready to step out of my comfort zone. As an accountant who had an interest in wildlife, I chose to relocate to southern Africa to work.
I joined an accounting firm in distant Botswana, as assurance manager. As the sole manager, I was responsible for the reviewing of audit files, tax working papers, recruitment, training and development. It was stretching and I enjoyed the experience. While there I had the opportunity to train and coach many local staff, who are now qualified chartered accountants in Botswana. I also volunteered with the Botswana Educational Research Association.
Having returned to Sri Lanka, I am director for assurance and tax advisory services at Diotimaa, an SMP with operations in the capital Colombo and in Massachusetts, US. Alongside this role, I also co-founded Diotimaa Educational Services which allows me to give back to the accounting community by lecturing for ACCA. This has helped me to strengthen my technical and communication skills, but also to contribute to society at large through coaching and mentoring future accounting professionals.
I enjoy both aspects my career as a senior manager and a lecturer. The managerial role allows me to work across many projects with diverse people from different parts of the world. One of my greatest professional accomplishments was to be part of an IFRS conference held in Switzerland in 2016. This exposed me to top international accounting standard setting board members, helping me to complete my professional experience.
If I were not an accountant, I would have been a trial lawyer, and then perhaps a judge which I see as a noble profession. A public auditor is similar to being a judge, but in a different context. Our profession can serve the world by contributing to regulation, compliance, intellectual property and environmental protection. I like the fact I can combine accounting, law and technology to solve future problems that humanity might face.
I grew up amidst civil conflict and ethnic tension in Sri Lanka and have seen how educational opportunities can be snatched away from the young. Therefore, I take a keen interest in helping Sri Lankan youth to gain the benefits I have enjoyed: I became a board member of Young Achievers Foundation (YAF) LANKA, a non-profit organisation that helps young people in their pursuit of economic and social development. It feels good to give back in this way.
Outside of work, I have a particular interest in rescuing animals. I am also passionate about sport, and enjoy swimming, squash and playing golf.