I caught up with the lovely Sanaa from our accounts team to ask her about her about her role here at The Collective, co-living and her guilty pleasure, among other things..
1. You’re in the process of completing your ACCA qualification, how do you balance studying and sitting for exams, whilst still working full-time?
There are 14 exams as part of completing the ACCA programme, and I’m 4 exams away from completing – and one year down out of three in practical experience. It’s bloody hard to juggle both! There was one month where I was working 9-6pm Monday to Friday, and then going into college 8.30-6pm Saturday and Sunday, which needless to say was exhausting. It’s very important to be motivated and keep on track to achieve your goal. Mine is to become a certified accountant and I’ll do anything it takes to achieve it.
2. When and why did you decide that was your goal in life?
I studied Biology, Maths, Chemistry and Geography at A-Level, which is very science focused and I worked in a pharmacy on the weekends. But of those subjects, Maths was the one I enjoyed most so it made me consider a career in that field. When I heard about the ACCA programme at uni, it was something that immediately caught my interest and once caught I found it hard to let go. Now I feel that I’m so close, there’s no point losing focus now.
3. Do you think there is a problem with inequality in the workplace, particularly in the finance sector?
When I started uni, I was pretty much the only girl on my course, which I kind of expected and had never really questioned. I think maybe this used to be down to the long hours often associated with working in finance, which would have been off-putting to women wanting to start a family. However, there has been a massive shift recently as women are taking longer to settle down, choosing to focus on their careers first, something I wholeheartedly encourage.
4. What is your core focus in the accounts team/ what are you responsible for?
In a nutshell I’m accounts payable – which basically means I deal with all company card payments, the utilities across all our portfolio, petty cash, and I also help my line manager, Vineet, analyse the management accounts at the end of every month.
5. What is the main challenge you face in your role and how do you work to overcome it?
Dealing with all the utilities, because of the sheer volume of workload. I have a utilities database, which I manage and am about to start using Xero for it, an accounting software tool that we use for everything.
6. What was it that initially attracted you to The Collective?
What attracted me to the company was my first impression of the vibe and culture, everything from the office’s quirky design to the interviews with several members of the team, made me want to be part of it.
7. What would you consider the main value of co-living?
Bringing people together to create communities to me, is the intangible value of co-living.
8. What would you do with a friend visiting London for the first time?
I love shopping so despite all the warnings around the tourist trap that is Oxford Street on a Saturday, I’d still drag her there – followed by a big, fat, well deserved burger at Stax in Soho.
9. I hear you just got back from a two-week holiday in Dubai. How does it compare to London?
Similar way of life, very fast paced, a lot of hustle and bustle as you would expect from a global city. However, whereas Londoners can sometimes be very reserved to the point it can come across as stand-offish, people in Dubai seem more approachable and willing to help out. One of the stark differences is in the architecture of the buildings, in Dubai it’s all about making a statement with bold and innovative designs, conceived to break World Records, whereas London again is traditionally more reserved, although with buildings like the Shard that’s starting to change – for the better in my opinion.
10. What’s your guilty pleasure?
Watching “Keeping up With the Kardashians”...