I made the decision to work in finance when I was in my final year of school in Ghana. My goal was to become a chartered accountant even though I had a huge misconception of what accounting entailed.
I studied business administration at university and then landed a job with PwC in Ghana. I worked there for three years, took a break to pursue my master’s and complete my ACCA Qualification, and then returned for another four years before joining Unicef as a finance officer.
Working for an organisation that is not purely focused on profits but on helping others is fulfilling
It is sometimes difficult in the NGO sector to recruit the talent we need, and this is also true of our finance section. If you are thinking about joining the NGO sector, consider how much of a challenge you are looking for. Although it is not necessarily easier, it may not be as challenging as working as an accountant in the private sector. However, if you can recognise the impact you are making, then working for an organisation that is not purely focused on profits is fulfilling.
In times of crisis such as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the world mobilises to provide support. Our current challenge is an increase in our restricted emergency funding, which can sometimes lead to our flexible funding suffering. We rely heavily on flexible funding to support our broader causes, which may not be as ‘attractive’ to donors but are equally important to support our operations. When this funding suffers, the organisation suffers.
If I had law-making powers, I would influence child-labour laws in countries where young children work to survive
I stepped out of my comfort zone when I recently took up the role of staff association chairperson for all Unicef Geneva staff, where I represent their interests. A major reorganisation was launched just after I took up the role, which brought about a whole host of challenges. I was pushed to really work on my communication, diplomacy and leadership skills, but this role has provided great exposure to senior members of our organisation, including our executive director.
If I had law-making powers, I would influence child-labour laws in countries where young children must work to survive. Surely something can be done to protect these children?
What I enjoy most about my job is that I love the team that I work with. It is one of the most diverse in our division, made up of 25 people from 19 countries across four continents. It is a real pleasure to work with them and learn about their different cultures.
Joining the UN system was one of my biggest achievements. I had always wanted to work within the UN, so when I landed my first job with Unicef it was a very proud moment for me.
If wasn’t in finance, I may have pursued a career in the arts. Although I don’t know how to sing, I would have probably explored options in the music industry.
In my spare time I like to try different things at different times depending on where I am in life. Last year, I took up yoga, which I try to practise as often as I can, and swimming. During lockdown, I really got into puzzles; some are framed and hanging on my wall. I really enjoy hiking and try to take advantage of the amazing hiking trails here in gorgeous Switzerland.