There was a time when Jacqueline Nnko CPA was sceptical about a career in accounting, but since embarking on her career she has lost little time in progressing to the role of director.
By Jessica Mudditt
In the space of eight short years, Jacqueline Nnko CPA has worked for two of the Big Four firms in Papua New Guinea, and has risen to the role of director. She explains how her career momentum built.
Nnko inherited her aptitude for numbers from her father, but it took her some time to recognise her own talents.
“When I finished high school, I was very indecisive about what to study at university. It was my father who helped me fill out the application form, and he picked accounting because he’s an accountant by profession.”
Nnko is a director at Deloitte Papua New Guinea (PNG), as well as vice president of CPA Australia’s PNG branch.
She’s well-versed in financial and IT general control audits, assessment of regulatory compliance, risk management, security and governance. However, there was a time when accounting principles were something of a mystery.
“I must admit, in my first year, debits and credits seemed illogical. I came from a science background, so accounting was very strange to me.”
She began to enjoy her studies and was invited to become a part-time tutor in her fourth year because she was one of the University of Papua New Guinea’s top performing students.
“It was then that the basics really cemented because I had to know what I was tutoring. And that’s when I developed my passion for accounting.”
Nnko joined PwC’s Graduate Development Program in December 2010 and, from that moment, she has never looked back.
“I was very driven and motivated. I knew where I wanted to be in a few years’ time.”
By June 2014, she was a senior associate.
Career skills revisited: decision making
After almost five years with PwC, an opportunity with Deloitte came up in August 2015.
“It was an opportunity to step up. It presented new challenges and new ways to contribute.”
She joined the company as a manager, and less than two years later was promoted to senior manager, and now to director.
Nnko credits her mentors as helping her to rise rapidly through the ranks.
“Over the years I’ve had mentors who were partners, managers and directors, and people from different backgrounds and sectors. I think that diversity has helped me become the auditor I am today.”
Nnko also recently completed all six CPA Program subjects.
“I decided to do the CPA Program because it’s an internationally recognised qualification that will allow me to have more opportunities, and being a member of CPA Australia will help me to stay up-to-date with developments in the accounting profession.”
As an auditor, life moves at a fast pace.
“We have very strict deadlines and it can be really full-on. And, of course, the higher up you go, the more you have to manage – everything just compounds and it can get pretty stressful.”
Added to this is the need to help her clients succeed in the challenging business climate of Port Moresby, where foreign currency shortages have restricted payments out of the country and finding talent can prove tricky.
Fortunately, Nnko thrives under pressure and cultivates strong skills as a multitasker.
As soon as she arrives at her desk, she sets herself up for success by creating a daily plan.
“It helps me prioritise and focus. Otherwise you can go through a whole day and not get anything done because you’re just answering emails or phone calls.”
One piece of advice
“Keep an open mind when it comes to your career. I never thought I would end up where I am today. I just decided to give accounting a try and I developed a passion for it. But if you’d asked me 10 years ago if I’d be doing this, I wouldn’t have thought I would be.”
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