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Monique Malcolm-Hay

Monique Malcolm-Hay: My accountancy journey

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In celebration of Black History Month, Monique Malcolm-Hay shares her incredible story of success as a black female in the accounting industry.

14th Oct 2020
Consultant at PwC
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By profession, I am an ICAEW Chartered Accountant working as a Consultant at PwC. Over the past five years, I have worked on a number of high-profile insolvencies and helped people and organisations globally prepare for the future of work. 

I co-founded a non-profit organisation, became a shadow board member for the ICAEW Tech Faculty and won the We Are The City Rising Star in Professional Services award. 

Having studied abroad at the University of Florida, undertaken a secondment at the PwC Middle East firm and volunteered in Brazil and Kenya, I now consider myself to be a global citizen who is endlessly giving back, connecting people and empowering those around me.

New Gen Accountants (NGA)

As part of my mission to educate, empower and inspire, I built a team of six and spearheaded the creation of New Gen Accountants, a growing non-profit organisation which provides career development advice and underrepresented millennial and Gen Z professionals. The New Gen Accountants network has a strong mix of ethnic backgrounds.

The organisation now has over 3,000 followers across its social media platforms. It helps ambitious individuals to consider accountancy as a career choice, manage their wellbeing while studying and working, and progress their careers after qualifying. 

It wasn’t until meeting a PwC senior manager at a careers fair that I decided I wanted to become an accountant. And if I hadn’t spoken to that senior manager, I don’t know where I would have ended up. I now want to inspire other people coming through.

#MyAccountancyJourney

I led NGA’s first event #MyAccountancyJourney in 2018 where 100% of attendees stated they left the event feeling empowered to take positive action within their own careers. 

I also ran the #MyAccountancyJourney social media campaign. The campaign profiled accountants from ethnic minority backgrounds in an aim to empower more underrepresented individuals to consider accountancy as a career.

In 2019, my team launched a WhatsApp group which enables prospective and qualified accountants to share tips and advice. The website contains interviews with CEOs and partners so that members can learn from their career journeys.

A quarter of FTSE 100 board members are chartered accountants. But how do we know how to progress our career to that level after qualifying? New Gen Accountants aims to shed some light on that.

Pushing black accountants forward and boosting ethnic diversity

Our team delivers career talks at companies and institutions such as JP Morgan, Kaplan, Cambridge Judge Business School and Grant Thornton. As the majority of the founding team are black, we also advise companies on how to boost ethnic diversity within their organisation. 

We recommend several key approaches. To start with, many organisations find it difficult to recruit people from ethnic minority backgrounds. There are plenty of qualified and extremely talented people from ethnic minority backgrounds – it’s all about knowing where to find them. 

There are also many organisations such as recruitment companies which can help. It is also crucial to capture data on ethnicity to identify patterns and trends – how many black people do you recruit every year and how often are they promoted, for example? 

Belonging and progression in the workplace

Abraham Maslow was the first to point out that having a sense of belonging in the workplace is an important need. However, research conducted by Harvard University shows we have a natural tendency to navigate towards those we are most similar to. 

As a result, minorities, often find themselves forming weaker relationships in the workplace. Without meaning to do so, this tendency affects their progression and their sense of belonging. Progression and inclusion are then further hindered if others around them have stronger relationships with each other. 

Upon reflecting on my own experiences, I know I have performed at my best when I felt valued and part of a community that respected me.

Going forward

As McKinsey and World Economic Forum research illustrate, finance functions will become increasingly disrupted by technology, accelerated by Covid-19. Repetitive and mundane accounting tasks will become automated. 

As a result, accountants will become more forward-thinking rather than focusing solely on what happened in the previous financial period. 

In order to progress the diversity and inclusion agenda, it is vital that organisations invest in their people as well as technology to ensure that no one is left behind in the digital world.

Replies (7)

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By Marsha54
19th Jan 2021 02:24

I have read article and Now I am inspired from you, such great work by letting us know about this.

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By LakeCity
19th Jan 2021 04:39

Thanks for the update and quick reply. I'll be sure to keep an eye on this thread. Looking for the same issue. Bumped into your thread. Thanks for creating it. Looking forward for solution.
https://www.alaskasworld.me/

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By Michalski
07th Jul 2021 07:17

Outside of client work, I contribute to driving positive cultural change through proactively advocating for diversity, inclusion and wellbeing within both PwC and the ICAEW through my roles on the PwC D&I Council, the Multicultural Business Network steering committee, as an ICAEW Diversity Champion and a blogger for the wellbeing charity, CABA.

https://www.paygonline.us/

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By ViciousQuail
09th Jul 2021 07:41

Monique's route to chartered accountancy has taken her to PwC Dubai. She is an advocate of equality, diversity and inclusion in accountancy and has done incredible work to support these values. She is also a co-founder of New Gen Accountants, a community of accountants who support those looking for a career in finance.

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By ViciousQuail
10th Jul 2021 06:01

Growing up I was very good with numbers. I still remember when I was about 12 years old, we had visited someone's home. His house was lavish and beautiful and I thought, “Wow! What does this guy do? I want to have a home like this one day.” Turns out that he was a Chartered Accountant!

At the time, I did not know exactly what that entailed but I just knew that I wanted to have this prestigious designation. And so the dream to be a Chartered Accountant was born even before reaching high school. https://www.dgcustomerfirst.page/

While in high school my favourite subjects were mathematics and arts. I did everything from drawing, painting, sculpture to design. I loved creating things. I was the topper of my class. But building a life and a home by selling art is not very easy and unfortunately, not everyone appreciates it. So I continued to stay focused on my CA dream.

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By ShadowTerror
13th Jul 2021 12:49

I was inspired by a PwC Senior Manager whilst studying abroad at the University of Florida. I could see how passionate he was about a career in accountancy, about what it meant to him and how his ambitions were being exceeded by the opportunities. I am so glad I met him as I feel the same way and seek opportunities to try to inspire others to the same career as I chose through a non-profit organisation I started named, New Gen Accountants.

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By Williamson85
27th Jul 2021 13:22

While I was on a property management graduate scheme after uni where I developed valuable skills, my mentor who is the CFO of the company made me realise that I needed to show ambition and chase my goal.

https://www.myccpay.today/

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