The view from Olayinka Alimi FCCA, relationship manager, Access Bank, Nigeria

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My career has primarily been in sales roles across retail, commercial and investment banking. As a relationship manager I provide advisory services to institutional clients. To be successful in this role requires a good blend of business acumen and soft skills, and my ACCA Qualification gives me an edge.

There is a simple reason why I chose to study accounting at the University of Lagos. I was intrigued by the critical roles that financial decisions and transparent financial reporting play in building successful organisations.

It was my older sister, Motunrayo Alimi FCCA, who steered me towards ACCA. She told me the world would be my platform with the ACCA Qualification under my belt. I’m glad I took her advice because it turned out to be one of my best career decisions.

My parents were a very positive influence, teaching me to always put my best foot forward. They ensured I got the best education and gave me a head start in life. I have also been very fortunate to have great mentors at Access Bank, such as its head of corporate and investment banking Iyabo Soji-Okusanya and HR head Bolaji Agbede. Adedeji Olowe has also been pivotal to my career growth and break into fintech. All three have shown keen interest in my career development.

I chose the banking sector because I enjoy building business relationships and solving problems for clients. What I like about banking is the facilitation of investments, loans and payments for customers. It is fascinating how banks create loans from customers’ deposits and complete payments at a very fast pace, leveraging technology.

As a relationship manager, I’m required to gain deep insights and understanding of our clients’ businesses. I use this to guide me in providing them with appropriate financial solutions. I find helping clients to successfully build their businesses very fulfilling.

We’ve been observing Covid-19 protocols at the office to curb the spread of the virus. We have a mix of people working remotely and on the premises, and are doing pretty well in managing the ‘new normal’ way of working.

Too many children are still unable to access education in my country. According to the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), as many as one in every five of the world’s out-of-school children is in Nigeria. Primary education is free and compulsory for every Nigerian child, yet still many do not benefit. If I had the power, I would enact social policies that incentivise parents to keep their children in school, ultimately improving their future life prospects.

My biggest achievement was passing the ACCA Qualification early in my career. It was a springboard, sharpening my business and financial skills and setting me apart from the pack. If I weren’t an accountant, though, I’d probably be a lawyer, as I find legal matters very interesting.

I love listening to music and playing tennis. I’ve recently developed a keen interest in creating solutions that leverage technology to enhance funding and finance functions, which occupies my mind even outside working hours.

This article was first published in the March 2021 edition of Accounting and Business magazine

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