Yina Li

"I enjoyed being able to discuss my academic viewpoints with professors, who had carried out research in this field, benefitting from their cutting-edge theories and practices."

Course: BSc Accounting & Finance
Year of Graduation: 2020

Why did you choose to study BSc Accounting & Finance?

I undertook an audit internship during my high school studies. Having learned the audit process and having had the chance to carry out some assisting tasks, the experience gave me a picture of the importance of corporate financial statements in the economic activities of a firm, and I was inspired to pursue a study of the topics around financial reporting and conceptual frameworks because I found the changing landscape of accounting so attractive.

I also interned at a Chinese bank. This experience exposed me to how corporations solve corporate finance issues and make financing decisions in the capital market.

Through my internship experiences, I feel the world of accounting and finance is intertwined and I hoped to gain an in-depth perspective of both academic areas. Eager to keep up to date with the ever-changing business world, I decided to pursue the BSc Accounting and Finance.

What would you say is great about accounting and finance at the Business School? How did you become interested in it?

I would say the overall course structure is great. In year one, the course mainly focuses on accounting and finance basics in an intuitive way and equipped us with a strong background and necessary numerical skills. The study focuses on a more advanced level in year two, for example deriving asset prices and financial statement consolidation. In the third year, the content is very applied and highly intellectually stimulating.

I became interested in the topics because the professors were really good at explaining things in an intuitive way, and many of them are well respected practitioners in accounting and finance. During teaching, they drew upon many of their past professional experiences, therefore I got a better view of how theories are applied in the real workplace.

Do you have a favourite memory from your time at the Business School?

I had several best friends who were very bright minded and hardworking (and we still keep in contact!). I still remember the times we spent with each other having lectures and tutorials and spending time in the library. Every time we completed coursework or an exam we would take the bus to Soho (entertainment district of London) and have some really nice food. They were very supportive of me and the time I spent with them is my best memory.

What was your favourite part of the course?

My favorite part of the course was the flexibility to tailor my study and delve into the academic aspects that I’m interested in. Apart from the core modules that the School offered, the wide range of electives gave me the freedom to tailor my study plan and help me gain a broader spectrum of the academic fields, such as derivatives trading and hedging, international finance and portfolio management.

Also, the final year project further gave me an opportunity to research the prominent topics in accounting and finance that interested me and enabled me to further explore the academic aspects at an advanced level. I enjoyed being able to discuss my academic viewpoints with professors, who had carried out research in this field, benefitting from their cutting-edge theories and practices.

Tell us more about your current job? What’s a typical day at work for you?

I will be joining the graduate scheme at Deloitte’s Audit and Assurance team in their London office. I will be finishing the ACA exam and qualified as a chartered accountant in 3 years. Upon joining Deloitte, I will be working with high profile listed companies around the world, in various industries. The work involves understanding how complex businesses operate, carrying out testing in specific areas, and producing an audit opinion on whether the company’s financial statement is true and fair.

How did you secure your role? Did you work with the careers team during your time with us?

I applied to Deloitte through their graduate scheme and was successful after completing the ‘job simulation’ and final interview. I worked with the careers team frequently during my undergraduate study. Each time I had an interview, I would book a mock interview session with them. They were very supportive and gave me lots of useful guidance on the application process, how to write a good CV, and interview techniques.

What impact do you feel the course has had on you personally and professionally?

Personally, the course has undoubtedly opened up more possibilities for me and provided me with the best support to achieve my academic and professional aspirations. Being a student at the Business School motivated me to push beyond my boundaries and I became more competent and confident.

The course definitely equipped me with the essential skills to excel in my professional career. On completion of my studies, my enhanced academic background and analytical skills enabled me to ‘hit the ground running’ as a qualified person to deal with complexities within a professional setting. Moreover, successfully finishing the course allowed me to gain exemptions from several well recognized professional bodies including ACA, CIMA and ACCA.

What are the developments in the profession of accounting or finance, you’re most looking forward to or most interested by?

I’m looking forward to fact that accountants will use increasingly sophisticated and smart technologies to improve audit efficiency and quality. Emerging technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), data analytics and robotic process automation (PRA) have enhanced this process. Besides this, the accounting for corporate environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance and the impacts of COVID-19 upon financial reporting interest me a lot.

What are the benefits of working in accounting and finance?

Working in the financial sector can yield a good career trajectory, as you have many choices ranging from accountancy to banking.

The work environment is challenging and dynamic. You will be kept on the frontline of the most prominent business topics and issues. You will have the chance to learn how corporate failure occurs and understand the debates and issues in the global marketplace. Meanwhile, you can also have a balanced lifestyle and high earning potential.

What key piece of advice would you give to future BSc Accounting & Finance students?

My advice is never place limits upon yourself. Doing hard work in the early stages can lead to a better trajectory in the future.