I am currently working as a senior project control officer with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), where I handle financial oversight. I started my career more than 20 years ago, as an accountant for a development agency in Uganda. I have always worked in finance in the development sector, starting as an accountant growing to a finance manager, director and risk manager.
To work in finance was not my first choice; however, once there, I have never looked back. I can’t even imagine how my life would have been if fate had dropped me somewhere else.
It is sad seeing people forced to flee their homes, children separated from their parents, and living with the barest of necessities
I certainly think that accountants should consider a career in the NGO and public sector, as we approach accounting as a public service duty, which is a joy. Our bottom line is defined not by numbers, but by the difference we make in people’s lives. In this sector, numbers matter, but differently. Making savings resulting in a profit or surplus is sometimes considered a failure, because resources must be used to address pressing needs. We must do more with less. I believe accountants can make a big difference by delivering innovations, mitigating risks and establishing prudent stewardship. We must see that resources are carefully applied to achieve objectives.
I chose to do both an MBA and MSc because of the many credits afforded me by my ACCA Qualification, which made both easier. However, the main reason was the professional direction I needed to take, with my MBA about business leadership and my MSc tackling professional accountancy. Each of these had a specific purpose in the future I wanted.
The Ukraine crisis has made things worse for vulnerable economies in Africa. The ability to deal with adversity in the face of this crisis is diminishing. There are already signs that we are headed for the worst-case scenario, with social unrest and political instability being witnessed. Displacement is usually a result of such pressures. Once there is unrest or violence, people are forced flee. UNHCR will always do its part, with emergency preparedness and response, looking for resources, establishing early warning systems, supporting those in need and emphasising the urgent need for collective action. However more needs to be done to make the world safer for all.
It is sad seeing people forced to flee their homes, children separated from their parents, and living with the barest of necessities. In almost all these situations the perpetrators rarely suffer the same fate. If I had the law-making powers, I would make sanctions and penalties for belligerence and warmongering extremely stringent. I would also ensure the cost of environmental degradation and pollution is borne commensurately.
What I enjoy most about my job is witnessing the outcome of my professional mentoring on people’s lives. I can see how they have been impacted for the better, which is very gratifying. A significant number of people – accountants and others – have benefited from my professional guidance and support. Indeed, I feel the biggest achievement in my career is when I look back and see the people I mentored succeeding professionally and socially.
If I weren’t in finance, I would be a lawyer. This was my dream during my school days.
In my spare time I love to read and perform physical exercises. I also enjoy studying with those in my faith group.