Where I am today: Susan Findlay CA

Edinburgh sunset
By The CA magazine

13 March 2018

Susan Findlay CA - Assistant Director, Regulatory Authorisations at ICAS - describes her role and explains why she mentors peers.

After qualifying as a CA with EY in 2011 on their audit graduate scheme, Susan - a Strathclyde University alumnus - took some time thinking about her career path, and whether she wanted to go out into industry, or work towards becoming a manager.

"I drew up my CV and realised I still had gaps in my knowledge and experience, so I made the decision to become a manager with EY and then reassess," she explained. "I applied for ICAS just over a year ago, as it ticked all the boxes of everything I love to do, and it was an exciting and challenging opportunity."

What does your current job involve?

A typical day for me involves reviewing licences for our firms and our members, whether it be practising certificates or audit firm licences. I deal with monitoring all our members’ CPD, and am also involved in regulatory policy and regularly engage with our regulators and other stakeholders in relation to issues such a professional indemnity insurance, anti-money laundering and other regulatory requirements.

Is there anything you miss about EY?

If anything, it would be the people. When you speak to anyone who has worked or does work for EY, they always say it’s the people who make the company. However, working at ICAS I’m still in regular contact with a lot of people through the firms we regulate, those that sit on ICAS boards and committees, and at networking events.

My position at ICAS is a completely different role to what I did before. It’s less technical, and focuses more on the people and regulatory side of the business, both of which are key areas in which I love to work.

Do you enjoy networking?

It used to be one of my weaknesses. The thought of going to a networking event petrified me, but when I saw the job come up at ICAS I realised it was an ideal opportunity to work on that weakness and to make it into a strength.

Now, on a daily basis, I have to network with members, firms, other ICAS staff, other institutes and external regulators. The breadth of people I’m in contact with is huge.

What made you decide to become an ICAS mentor?

During my time at EY I was a counsellor to some colleagues and I was also a mentor to school students doing the EY Smart Futures programme.

That was something that I was keen to continue at ICAS. I recently met two students from the ICAS Foundation and heard how it had benefitted them personally. It had a huge impact on me and I immediately went to find out what I could do for the Foundation.

To become an ICAS mentor, you need to be at least five years post-qualified. I’ve been qualified for six years now, so it was perfect timing for me.

What advice would you offer to today’s CA students?

One key piece of advice that was given to me was to never leave your current job with any animosity. Although accountancy is a huge profession, it is very much a small world and you will always come across people you’ve worked with before.

Watch Susan share her Gold Dust career insights

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