Name: Ionut Gutu, FCCA
Job title: Central Europe Greater Balkans (CEGB) Controller
Can you briefly talk me through your professional journey so far?
I’ve worked in finance and accountancy for over 16 years. Throughout that time being ACCA qualified has allowed me to work in a range of different roles, from auditor to accountant to financial controller. And what’s remained consistent throughout my entire journey is that I’ve always given time to continually learn and accumulate new information to help keep me up to date with the latest changes in my industry.
What skills do you feel you gained from studying the ACCA Qualification?
Studying the ACCA Qualification has given me a broad perspective on accounting and economic sciences, offering a comprehensive understanding of transaction phenomena and processes. However, soft skills are also crucial in the job I do, and ACCA has helped me to improve my English and develop my problem-solving skills – understanding that a problem may have different solutions. The varied skill set I’ve developed also ensures I’m able to continually adapt to changes and challenges in the business environment.
The ACCA journey is completely transparent and covers all potential vulnerabilities that may arise in a financial career: from the methodical allocation of points for each step of solving problems and continuing with an approach of the topics in which the theoretical part is combined in an inspired way with the practical part, the ACCA exams have meant effort, emotion, but also a comfort that the examination process is very transparent. Another thing I would like to say, with the risk of seeming unpretentious, is that, after each exam, I felt wiser and safer.
How has becoming an ACCA member helped you in your career?
Being an ACCA member has been one of my greatest strengths in all the interviews and evaluations I have had throughout my career.
Employers, both those in Romania and those in the area of multinational companies, appreciate a candidate who has an international qualification and demonstrates an understanding of the risks and opportunities from a wider perspective.
In my opinion, when I recruited, a key question I had for candidates was related to their professional qualifications. Moreover, I have encouraged and supported numerous members of my team in their efforts to become ACCA members.
The qualification is an international professional passport and is an essential part of a young professional’s business card who wishes for a successful career. Besides providing a solid basis in mastering the financial field it also gives you a feeling that you are part of a professional elite. And maybe, most importantly, ACCA allows you to connect with professionals from different countries and cultures.
Do you have any tips for professional growth in order to cope with changes in the financial landscape?
Often, we do not understand what the change entails, it seems to us a vague concept and may be too far away to ever affect us, but we are still afraid of it. We are afraid of change because it is produced not only at the macro level, but also at the personal, professional, workplace level. We fear that we will become irrelevant, that artificial intelligence will replace us at work, that the employer, the company can move at any time to other countries with cheap labour, that everything can change to our detriment.
However, there are many people who take advantage and develop from the change. In the financial field, these people see change not as an obstacle, but as an opportunity. For them, the change comes with the professional development package, salary increases, career opportunities that until then were impossible to achieve. They do not seek to limit change, but they want to feed it because from there their profit and professional progress will come. And their recipe is simple, and does not involve motivational speeches or inspirational messages, only learning.
ACCA is an international organisation that offers professional qualifications in the financial field and mechanisms through which you as a professional in the financial field will remain not only relevant, but especially innovative and winning in the face of (and even due to) permanent change.
I am one of the people who returned the wave of change in my favour through lifelong learning. For me, lifelong learning is essential in the profession of an accountant, in a very dynamic business environment, where professional accountants are increasingly involved in decision making.
Tell us about the accounting professional yesterday versus today
Change in the financial field means in addition to professional skills and a series of soft skills, how you interact with other professionals, but also the ability to make decisions, make strategies, be a manager and a visionary in the financial field.
If we think about the image of the accounting professional yesterday and today, we see a significant change - from being perceived as the official who writes logs and chess files, to being a strategic partner in making decisions the company, responsible for achieving the financial and commercial objectives, together with the general manager and the other members of the management team.