Rishi Lakhani

Accounting and Finance BSc (Hons), MSc

The first in his family to go to university, Rishi chose BCU’s Accounting and Finance course to kickstart his career and stayed on to complete his postgraduate studies, too. Now, he’s a Financial Controller and has his eyes set on climbing the career ladder. 

“I've always had a keen interest in numbers and financial management, but going to university wasn't always a certainty for me. My family had limited resources, making higher education seem daunting. Determined to kickstart my career, I worked part-time jobs to save money. During my A-levels, I explored various career paths and considered entering the workforce directly.

However, after researching and talking to professionals in the accounting and finance industry, I realised that obtaining a degree would provide a solid foundation and open more career opportunities. The curriculum at BCU convinced me it was the right place to further my education and career aspirations.

Studying at BCU was a transformative experience. As a first-generation university student, I faced the challenge of adapting to a new environment, which required a lot of resilience and determination. The coursework was rigorous and intellectually stimulating, offering a balanced mix of theoretical knowledge and practical application.

The modules in accounting, finance, and business management were particularly engaging, and the lecturers were supportive and knowledgeable. The university provided numerous resources, such as the library and study groups, which enhanced my learning experience. Overall, BCU created an environment that encouraged academic excellence and personal growth within me.

During my time at BCU, I undertook a summer internship at a local accounting firm. This internship was invaluable as it allowed me to apply the knowledge I had gained in real-world scenarios. I worked on various projects, including financial reporting, auditing, and tax preparation. The hands-on experience and mentorship I received during this period were crucial in building my confidence and professional skills.

I am now working as a Financial Controller at The Workplace Depot where I’ve been since March 2023. My responsibilities include overseeing the financial operations of the company, preparing financial statements, managing budgets, and ensuring compliance with financial regulations.

A typical workday for me as a Financial Controller involves overseeing the financial operations of the company. I start my day by reviewing financial reports and ensuring that all transactions are accurately recorded. I then work on budgeting and forecasting, preparing financial statements, and analysing financial performance. Throughout the day, I liaise with different departments to provide financial insights and support decision-making processes. I also ensure compliance with financial regulations and manage the external audit process. The role requires attention to detail, analytical skills, and effective communication.

Since graduating from BCU, my career journey has been both challenging and rewarding. I started as an Accounts Controls Analyst at Otis Elevator Co., where I gained a deep understanding of financial controls and regulatory compliance. I then moved to Birchwood Price Tools as an Assistant Management Accountant, where I honed my skills in financial analysis and budgeting. My role as a Management Accountant at XMA further developed my expertise in management accounting and financial reporting. These experiences collectively prepared me for my current role as a Financial Controller at The Workplace Depot.

For anyone considering studying Accounting and Finance at BCU, I would advise them to take full advantage of the resources and opportunities available. Engage actively in your coursework, participate in internships, and seek out mentorship from lecturers and industry professionals. The knowledge and skills you gain from this programme will be invaluable, but equally important are the connections and experiences that will shape your career. Stay curious, be proactive, and embrace the challenges and opportunities that come your way.

My proudest achievement since graduating has been my progression to my current role, as it is a testament to my hard work, dedication, and the solid educational foundation I received at BCU. It represents a significant milestone in my career, as I am now responsible for the financial health and strategic planning of a thriving company. This achievement is particularly meaningful because it reflects my growth and development as a finance professional.

In the long term, I aspire to take on more strategic roles within the finance sector, such as Chief Financial Officer of a leading company. I aim to continue expanding my expertise in financial management and strategic planning and to contribute to the success and sustainability of the organisations I work with. Additionally, I hope to mentor and inspire the next generation of finance professionals, sharing the knowledge and experience I have gained throughout my career.

For me, ‘I AM BCU’ signifies pride and belonging to a community that has been instrumental in shaping my academic and professional journey. It represents the values of resilience, excellence, and continuous growth that BCU instils in its students. Being part of BCU means being part of a legacy of success and contributing to a network of professionals who are making a significant impact in their respective fields. It’s about carrying forward the knowledge, skills, and values learned at BCU into the wider world and making a positive difference.”