An interview with the Executive Accountant
There’s a stereotype that accountants are boring introverted math geeks who spend their days hypnotizing excel numbers. They rarely talk to people and their hobbies can be equally boring, like bird watching or knitting. Maybe it used to be like that in some conventional companies. But nowadays in modern IT companies, you can meet people like Halyna – an energetic communicative person who likes to help people and is fond of extreme sports.
About you and your work
Why did you choose to be an Accountant?
I didn’t choose this profession, the profession chose me. When I started my work at KPMG (one of the Big Four accounting organizations providing Audit, Tax, and Advisory services), I was an intern at a legal department (Transfer pricing). Frankly speaking, it was terribly boring for me, every day the same cases, the same documents. When I finished my internship, I decided to quit, but my friend advised me not to do so, as there was a vacancy at the Outsourcing department that was worth trying. That’s how my Accountant career started. At that time I didn’t know anything about debits and credits and all the other things related to accounting, but I learned fast. By the end of the year, I had lots of clients, for which I provided services by myself. But in any case, that’s all about people that were around me, they helped me a lot. We usually stayed at the office late at night just to do our job and I appreciate their help and support during that period of my life. I became good friends with some colleagues.
What was your dream profession in childhood?
I really wanted to study as a lawyer and it came to me because of the movie “Legally Blond”. I saw that beautiful business lady, the main character, and she became my idol. I applied to several places after graduating school, one was Finances in Lviv Polytechnic Institute, and the other one – the Law Faculty in Ivana Franka University in Lviv. The first offer was approved first and I took it without hesitation, but later the second offer came up but it was too late to accept it cause I was already a Finance student. It’s a pity to think about it now but actually, I don’t regret it. I don’t know what my life would have been like now if I took the second offer.
People say you must love math and be great with numbers if you want to be an accountant. Would you agree? Are there any other skills that are important for a good accountant?
I don’t like math, when I was at school it was my nightmare. Jobs in accounting are not about math, they’re about logic. You have to understand the nature of the business to be a good accountant, you have to understand processes, lots of legal things, especially when you are working for an international company, you have to have a good legal base, you have to be communicative (especially when you are working with several clients), and you have to be really patient.
There’s a stereotype of accounting being boring and monotonous. Tell us if it’s true?
Depends on what kind of Accountant we’re talking about. As for me, there are two types of Accountant – the first one is Accountant that can work in one field (Fixed Assets, Accounts Payables, Payroll, etc.), they can do the same job for years. And there is another type of Accountant, those who become good CFOs, such kind of people study all the time, they are ambitious and they truly love what they do. It’s not bad or good to belong to any type of Accountant, it’s about your choice. My choice is to be the second type, but you have to understand that after you made the decision it’s a long way ahead and it’s not easy and sometimes you can think “Why should I do this? Why should I put so much effort into it?” But after such thoughts, I tell myself the famous retort from the film “After all, tomorrow is another day”.
Does your typical working day consist of constant communication with Excel?
Absolutely not. I’ve got a lot of communication through emails and calls, there are always discussions about this and that. There are typical periods in the year when something is more important and needs my attention, like closing periods, etc. I also coordinate with an insurance company, private entrepreneurs, and so on. And, by the way, I rarely use Excel, even though I consider it a useful instrument for working with lots of data.
Do you think that someday technology will eliminate the need for accountants?
I believe that all manual work as document posting, bank posting will be automatically done. But in any case, technology will never eliminate types of Accountant work such as preparation of financial statements, financial analysis, communication with Tax authorities, providing some explanations to clients and others.
What do you like most about being an accountant?
Helping people. My previous jobs were related to client support, and to be honest lots of them didn’t understand files with numbers I sent to them and it was my job to explain, to advise, to provide any support to avoid fines, penalties, and to receive auditors’ opinion that would suit them.
Found this in one article:
“You might imagine accountants as bleary-eyed folks silently fiddling with spreadsheets for hours on end, only to emerge from their cubicle caves for more coffee. But most accountants aren’t sealed off from the world and rely on their communication skills to be successful.”
Would you agree?
Have you ever tried calling Ukrainian tax authorities to solve a question? Believe me, without strong communication skills it’s almost impossible to receive the answer. Once more, I can not tell for each accountant, but from my experience communication is the main skill accountants need to be successful.
I can tell you a part of my life story. At my previous job I had really fast career growth: I joined that company (called Eltoma Corporate Services) in July 2018 and in August 2019 I was already the Head of the Kyiv office (not just the accounting department, but legal and marketing as well) with lots of people I needed to support. Half of my workday was about calls, communications, and problem-solving.
That was an outsourcing company, right? Can you compare what’s it like to work for an outsource and a product company?
It is very difficult to work for an outsourcing company, morally and physically. You do lots of work overtime, there’s big responsibility, etc. But it is definitely a good experience for newcomers, whether it’s a technical specialization or not.
What inspires you and gives you motivation?
My family. They really believe in me and support me in any case and I know that when I feel lost I can just give them a call and I will receive lots of love from their side and it helps me to move forward. Also, I have an amazing sister, I am inspired by her achievements (by 23 she became a Team Leader of a famous IT company), and every day I understand that I cannot let her down. That’s my biggest source of inspiration and motivation.
What are some of your hobbies?
I am keen on reading, I buy paper books (it’s some kind of ritual) and put them in the correct order: in my home, there is a three-level bookshelf. The first one is for those books I’ve just bought, the second is for those I’ve recently finished reading and the highest one is for those books that I read a long time ago. Throughout 2020 I’ve read more than 10 books.
Oh, and another one is doing extreme sports! I’ve tried lots of things from zip-line to rope jumping. I think it’s a great way to get rid of the negativity in your life. When you do something extreme you forget about your problems and everything kind of goes away. SUP board was quite an exciting experience as well.
I am also really into meditation. Can I say it is a hobby?
Sure it is. How does it help you cope with daily tasks?
I enjoy the process when you clear your head from all thoughts and you just listen to yourself, that’s an amazing experience and it helps to deal with stress and when something goes wrong in your life. I’ve got a habit these days to set meditation breaks during my day. Every 3 hours I switch off all notifications, put on my headphones, and meditate for 10 minutes. It helps me to deal with stress, especially when there’s a lot of things you have to do immediately and you don’t know what to start with. It just helps me to think clearly, prioritize my tasks, and be more productive. Moreover, it helps me to stay calm even if everything around seems to be falling apart.
How do you stay organized when working from home?
It’s simple. I have lots of notebooks around me, and I put down everything I have to do, from job-related tasks to meeting with friends, going to the doctor, etc. At Clearmove I’m the only accountant, so I do understand that all my tasks are my tasks, and I have no option to delegate them to someone else. So it’s not about staying organized for me, it’s about doing my work properly and on time.
Did you know anything about Global Mobility before joining Clearmove?
I had some clients, who acted on the Global Mobility market previously, but I didn’t know anything about this specific market. But I had my own experience of relocation: when I was 22 I decided to move to Kyiv from my native town Lviv and it was a great experience. I had to find a flat, a new job, and move all the things I needed to live in Kyiv.
When it was my first day in Kyiv, in my new flat, I realized that I have no friends, no relatives and I don’t know whom I may call to ask for help in case of emergency. But I understood that it was a faith move to Kyiv when I met a lot of new friends during a short period and I felt like I was at home just one month after my arrival.
My sister and my cousin both work in IT. They always told me how it’s good to have a flexible schedule, being able to sometimes work remotely, and working without a strict dress code. And when the former Clearmove’s HR manager found me on LinkedIn I thought “why not, I can give it a try”. I’ve been working in an IT company for almost a year now and I surely don’t want to return to a strict working schedule, to dress code and everything else associated with other jobs.
Do you miss working from the office since the lockdown started? Do you miss your colleagues?
Sure, I can’t wait for when I will be able to come to the office and to see my colleagues. I used to be in the office 5 days a week, and now I miss being able to communicate not through slack or zoom, but in reality. And I’m definitely an office lover and I do believe that productivity is much higher when you can reach your colleague immediately and decide some cases much quicker.
Which of the company’s values (Innovation, Initiative, Responsibility, Leadership, Resilience, Teamwork, People) resonates with you the most?
Surely it’s People, I believe that great people make great companies.
What’s great about Clearmove?
Clearmove brought to my life people I truly love and care about, that is the greatest thing for me.