One Young CA: Introducing Amjad Hassan CA
From a long list of 100 nominees, the Restructuring Manager at EY, Edinburgh is this year’s One Young CA due to his ethical conduct, social responsibility and strong work in raising mental health awareness.
Asked for his reaction to being named One Young CA 2020, Amjad Hassan CA says, “Surreal! I was completely overwhelmed with joy and shock. It actually felt really strange to win, because you often just go through life thinking, ‘I’m working hard, I’m doing the best I can and having fun while I’m at it, but it’s just part of life’. It was honestly really humbling to be recognised.”
Hassan, Restructuring Manager at EY, Edinburgh, is a noted advocate of diversity within the workplace, which includes being open about his religious beliefs, while also encouraging an inclusive culture. He’s an active member of mental health and wellbeing groups, speaking publicly about taking time out to practise mindfulness and recharge in the workplace. He’s also actively involved in the community, organising and supporting the likes of blood donation drives, and helping the vulnerable, especially within the Asian community.
Hassan grew up in Edinburgh, in a nine-person multi-generational household. Having migrated to the UK in the 1970s, his late grandfather believed in hard work and higher education, eventually opening up several restaurants and newsagents. His young grandson, meanwhile, was discovering a passion for maths: “When I applied for university, I just knew that accountancy would be the ideal career for me.” Hassan was the first in his family to go to university, where he decided to pursue a career in accounting – a move that in turn inspired others to follow in his footsteps, having witnessed his enthusiasm. He in turn cites the support of his partner, who believed in him and encouraged him at all times.
Hassan became a member of ICAS in February 2018, just before joining EY. “No two days are the same,” he says of his job, which involves advising stakeholders and looking after the financial wellbeing of various businesses. But his involvement doesn’t stop there: he is also involved in coaching, wellbeing, diversity and technology projects, locally and nationally.
His mental health advocacy began shortly after joining EY. Hassan says: “I wanted to play my part in ensuring everyone in the national team felt cared for by increasing support for mental health across the UK.” He has led a number of EY wellbeing initiatives, drawing on feedback sessions to help come up with solutions.
It’s an issue that is more urgent than ever during this era of remote working and often enforced isolation. “It’s really important that you take a break, go for a coffee and a chat with someone at lunch,” he says. “You need to recharge – otherwise you’re going to burn out.” His advice for managers concerned about their team members is to “try to be present and focused and mindful of others”.
Hassan believes workplace inclusivity comes down to education. “Let’s educate ourselves so that we can be more diverse and understand the challenges,” he says. “Make sure that people are involved in decision making and ensure that they have a voice. The BAME group at EY challenges and reports back to leadership” – a process he considers key. As a mentor, he also gets tremendous satisfaction watching someone “develop and grow and spread their wings… there’s loads of things that you can share with a mentee to help them not make the same mistakes that you made”.
Winning One Young CA 2020 has made Hassan realise that “anything and everything is possible and there’s no limits to success”. Asked to peer five years into the future, he says he’d like to be an inclusive leader in EY, having “really embedded wellbeing in our practice, while supporting those around me to grow and achieve their goals”.
From the judges: Why we picked Amjad Hassan CA
Amjad was selected as our winner because he has demonstrated business excellence and the highest standards of ethical conduct, integrity, and civic and social responsibility. A stand-out candidate from the outset, he was magnetic, well presented and his pride in being a CA was evident. Honest and thoughtful, he took time to formulate his responses to our questions. He also demonstrated passion and drive for technology and self-development (such as Power BI data visualisation), taking control of our screen and talking through visual graphs to demonstrate his points with the panel.
Amjad has a sincere interest in diversity and inclusion and wellbeing, and has been supporting his local community in these unprecedented times. It was evident that his values and morals are aligned with the ethics of ICAS. We believe Amjad will be a great ambassador for chartered accountants.