Interview with Hemnomita Chana

Head of UK SSC Finance
“Professional finance qualifications are useful assets”
 Why did you choose this career path?   

Finance is the heartbeat of any organisation irrespective of it’s size and I wanted to have an opportunity to be able to contribute to this. It’s not just about producing the numbers, but understanding what the story is from them. 

What inspired you?

I was inspired by the fact that many FTSE CEO’s are qualified accountants and have previously held roles such as Finance Director. This certainly helps to run a business successfully as you need to understand your profit and loss accounts and your balance sheets and what they represent. These are key indicators of what factors need to be managed carefully in order to maintain momentum, respond to changes due to factors that are completely out of your control and also to ensure profitability and liquidity of the organisation.         

What were your biggest challenges in a male-dominated industry?

The biggest challenge has been to progress upwards through roles where the senior positions have historically been held by males. Thanks to the wide range of experiences I have had throughout my career at different organisations, I have now built a commendable skill-set that can be utilised for more senior finance roles in the future. There is a great focus now on ensuring equal representation of all people (both male and female) at senior levels and that is to be welcomed as this will help companies to move forward and ensure that they are well-equipped with personnel who are capable of doing a good job.    

What is the best advice you can give to a woman that wants to work in Finance?  

Any professional finance qualification such as ICAEW, ACCA, CIMA etc. will always be a valuable asset to you. Be committed to your path, but also flexible so that if circumstances change you can adapt accordingly. And stay humble no matter what position you get to in an organisation – you never know who you may meet again in the future.