Interview: Nneamaka Ochuba CA
As ICAS continues its celebration of Black History Month, we caught up with Nneamaka Ochuba CA, Audit Manager at Azets, about her inspirations, her career and the BLM movement.
Can you share a little about your childhood? Where did you grow up?
I was born in Lagos Nigeria and lived there until the age of 16 when I moved to Scotland. My life in Nigeria was very family-oriented. I have four siblings and loads of cousins who all grew up together so I was always around family.
What was it that first attracted you to the CA qualification?
I knew from a very young age I was interested in finance. My dad was a businessman in Nigeria operating a cash-based business so every evening I would count up his sales receipts comparing with cost price, working out profits and doing things like month-end recs etc.
My aunt coincidentally is a Chartered Accountant as well and worked for a large bank in Nigeria at the time and I remember being very interested in what her day to day work life looked like and even shadowed her at work on my school holidays. So, there were equal parts a natural interest in the subject as well as influences around me. I then went on to study accountancy at the University of Dundee and decided I wanted to become an ICAS Chartered Accountant.
Where would you like to see yourself in 5 years’ time?
In 5 years’ time, I hope to have mentored budding Chartered Accountants and have advanced to the next stage in my career. I try not to box myself in in terms of my career as with the CA qualification there are endless opportunities, so I could be doing something I never thought of in 5 years’ time.
What interests and hobbies do you have outside of your work?
I enjoy reading fiction novels and listening to podcasts to unwind. I have recently taken up hill walking after completing the 22-mile Cateran Yomp in 2018. I also enjoy sampling the cuisines of different cultures.
As the country celebrates Black History Month, is there anyone from the past who particularly inspires you?
Nelson Mandela really paved the way and sacrificed so much for equality. He has been duly recognised through the years however he is definitely an incredibly inspirational person to me.
The Black Lives Matter movement is not a new one, but global media attention in it has spiked over the past few months following the murder of George Floyd. How have you seen attitudes change towards race and ethnicity over this time?
The changes have been positive in some cases with people being more mindful of their unconscious bias and being willing to educate themselves.
However, there is still a lot of work to do as some choose not to recognise this reality, especially in Scotland, as we are well known as quite welcoming people so we don't want to confront the fact there is still discrimination in our community.
I think it is important to keep having these conversations, challenging ourselves and others to do better and make the world a better place for everyone in it.