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Audrey Onsomu, IRMCert: Audit and Assurance Supervisor, PwC

Audrey Onsomu, IRMCert

Audit and Assurance Supervisor



How did you get your job?

I work at PricewaterhouseCoopers, Currently, I am an international secondee to the US office in Minneapolis, MN from my home office, Kenya, I got my job as a graduate recruit, straight out of college, it was a big dream come true to join PwC, the opportunities here have been great and it only gets better! I have worked on different kinds of assignments and addressing risk is at the centre of it all, evaluation of client control environs, risk assessment and quantification is always the starting point and this links up to my interest to understand risk in depth and why I chose to pursue IRM qualifications.

What’s a typical day like?

I currently work as an Audit and Assurance Supervisor, my typical day starts with catch up on industry and regulator news, working in a regulated industry, only means you have to keep up with the pace of regulation, this is part of risk, I then catch up on my emails and get a plan for the day set up and dive in to my day-to-day work, we work in teams, so engaging my team and creating solutions for our clients is what we do day-to-day, this includes sitting in meetings to catch up on such matters throughout the day. I am looking to transition fully to risk assurance and advisory and my day will be pretty much standard and similar to what it is now.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

The learning curve is what I enjoy most about my job, you cannot be the same person that you were yesterday, every day presents an opportunity to learn, and you just have to be the kind of person that loves to learn, my job also affords you the opportunity to do what you love most and what you are good at, you have to take initiative and identify the right opportunities for yourself, I have learnt that I drive the outcome of my circumstances, it doesn’t matter where I am, the environment is safe enough for you to make decisions that influence your career, that is a big opportunity and a big challenge at the same time, you have to make it happen for you.

What are the challenges?

One of the greatest key challenges is time management, balancing your time and resources around everything that you want to achieve and be, being a parent, having to be a present parent while at the same time being a student while at the same time meeting your obligations as an employee is an act of balance and you have to make time work for you, one of the ways I have learnt to do this is by setting boundaries and planning ahead, when it’s time to play, it is time to play and when it is time to work, it is time to work, there aren’t too many options, you just have to master time discipline. Having a supportive employer makes it easier if you are not self-employed.

In what way are your IRM qualifications relevant?

My IRM Risk Management in Financial Services qualification is a treasure, I primarily work in financial services and having the opportunity to study risk and understand why it is so important especially in the financial services arena is one of the wisest investments I have made so far.

The IRM qualification did not only teach me about Basel III, Solvency II, operational risk and why risk management is essential, it also helped firm up the experience I have had over the last 6 years.

For example, working in banking, assessment of loan loss reserves, review of client models and how they determine their PDs, LGDs and EAD was a “PwC” concept, diving deep into Basel II and understanding why these concepts are regulator driven and understanding that some of these inputs are set by the regulator and why they are set by the regulator was eye opening, reviewing Basel III and capital adequacy assessment, understanding what steps regulators are allowed to take should capital drop below the required minimums, and why the concept of capital adequacy is so critical in the financial services industry brought such clarity to some of the things I encounter day-to-day in my work, ERM and the COSO components review will only make me better at articulating why this is essential not just to the financial services industry but just any organization that wants to succeed, risk and regulation is only getting more complex and taking an IRM qualification is the first step in being one step ahead.

At this point all I want is to keep learning more, studying for the IRM qualification also reminded me how to be a diligent student, which I have carried over to my next phase in my quest for knowledge.

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

I would encourage anyone already pursuing a risk management career or looking to move into risk management, the qualifications and study are well set up to ensure you obtain the knowledge that you will need to succeed. IRM also has benefits for its members who are not currently pursuing the qualifications and this can be a good starting point, they have regular risk trainings that can also serve as a refresher to risk knowledge.

How has your role developed and what are your career ambitions? Has being linked to the IRM helped?

My career ambition is to transition fully into risk and help financial services firms and clients make a difference in their business through proper risk management. I have a good employer that can help me achieve this and I believe opportunities are all around us, we can be the change that we want to see and having my IRM qualification will help me build a strong case for my switch, I just need to put into practice all the knowledge that I now have.

Top tips:

My advice would be to find what you love doing, pursue it and work at becoming the best version of yourself at it, you can never go wrong with enhancing and furthering your education.

Second, network and find the right opportunities for yourself, nobody else will do this for you.

Lastly it’s never too late to begin doing what your heart truly beats for, sometimes we get stuck in the wrong career thinking it’s too late to make that switch, the time is now, make it happen! And you will be surprised at the contentment you will find.