Shakeel Rabani, IRMCert: Assistant Manager in the North Financial Services Practice, Deloitte

How did you get your job?

Since graduating in accounting and finance, my goal was always to complete my chartered accounting exams, however, as I progressed through my previous firm, I had the opportunity to join the 2nd line enterprise risk team. This role allowed me to obtain a much wider understanding of the business as well as engaging with very senior personnel such as directors and executives.

Having been in the risk role for around 4 years, where I was promoted from a risk analyst to risk governance manager, I had an opportunity to join one of the big 4 accountancy firms. Having spent ten years since graduation at one firm, I saw it as an excellent opportunity to challenge myself at one of the world’s largest and well known firms. A dynamic and fast paced environment has no doubt kept me busy.

What’s a typical day like in your job?

There is no typical day! Every day brings its own challenges, this could be in the form of clients requesting assistance with specific aspects of risk such as appetite, governance, strategy and culture, or the performance of Risk Management Framework reviews in response to either regulatory scrutiny or the requirements of the Internal Audit plan. My day is adapted and moulded to what our clients want and need, ensuring I'm in a position to deliver.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

The most enjoyable part of my role is I get to meet a diverse range of individuals across a whole spectrum of businesses and organisations. This allows me to widen my network as well as advise and learn from them too.

What are the challenges?

The major challenges arise from quick turnaround for assistance. Working in financial services has allowed me to experience first-hand how quickly things change and what firms need to do to ensure they remain compliant as well as competitive.

Staying one step ahead is not always easy, but it’s important and something I always strive to be.

In what way are your IRM qualifications relevant?

IRM qualifications are essential in my role as they allow me to be confident in what I do and engaging with clients in the same manner. The qualification gives risk professionals the gold standard approval, a form of recognition which firms can see and appreciate.

What would you say to others thinking about joining IRM as a member?

I would say read all the material on the IRM website and ensure the qualification is for you. With the examinations being of a high standard, expect to be challenged, but the end goal is worth it.

How has your role developed and what are your career ambitions?

Moving from industry to practice has its own challenges, but my current role is developing further as I aim to become the Risk Management Subject Matter Expert across the Regional FS Practice. Being an IRM member has definitely helped as it gives me the knowledge which I can bring into practice, especially when clients have queries around certain risk related topics (e.g. Risk Strategy and how it needs to feed into the firm’s Corporate Strategy, ensuring risk is play a central role in the strategy setting phase). Having the ability to point to IRM as a source is an added bonus, definitely.

Top tips:

Have clear goals and objectives in what you want to do with your career. If you do decide to study, I would recommend IRM for anything risk related, but do expect to put the time and effort in to pass the exams, which are not easy at all. Speak to risk professionals in your organisation to get a better understanding of what it entails.

Risk management continues to adapt, and it needs to, ensuring firms have a framework in place which is robust and able to support their ambitions in line with the ever-evolving landscape.