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George Acquah was the star turn to the ACA prize-giving ceremony, where he gave the winners his ’10 things to leave you with’

June 2018

George Acquah is the finance manager for the central Marine HQ corporate function at Rolls-Royce. Before joining the firm he spent six years at PwC, working mainly in audit, but he also spent a year on secondment to Lehman Brothers Investment Bank Administration. Oh, and he’s also a prize-winner himself, landing the Howitt prize in 2013.
A London boy, he studied physics at university and finally became an accountant. But, he told the packed audience, he wasn’t always an accountant. For a while he was a professional musician, and he still loves playing (the piano) and felt you don’t have to define yourself at a particular time. However, while you may not be defined by your profession you should, he stressed, be defined by your values.
Acquah told the audience that he had 10 things he wanted to ‘leave you with’, which can also be known as his common sense reminders, and here they are:
1. Play to your strengths – you don’t see great attacking footballers spending time developing their defensive qualities! We all have our strengths and we should know what they are and play to them. It’s the way to succeed.
2. Share your knowledge – someone once said if you are the smartest person in the room you are in the wrong room! But, sharing is the way to grow, stay motivated, and build a role in the organisation. It also increases productivity.
3. Take risks – as president of the Nottingham, Derby and Lincoln Society of Chartered Accountants, Acquah is the youngest and first ethnic minority president they have had. The role has taught him new skills, such as how to become more creative, and his confidence has grown. But don’t go crazy! You need to weigh up the chances of success and failure.
4. Dream big, dream small – nothing can stop a dream whose idea has come.
5. Keep learning – in an environment where everyone is learning it often means everyone is teaching as well. If you have to keep doing the same things just try to do them better.
6. Do what makes you happy – as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else. And being happy certainly improves performance.
7. Harness your passion – passion motivates and drives commitment. It can also help you find that extra level of performance.
8. Always do the right things – ethics is a thread that goes through all the exams. You must always remember you are representing the institute and yourself at all time.
9. Own your future – do what you want, decide what you want to do and then you will choose your future.
10. There is no secret to success – just keep doing what you are doing. Oh, and if you are a prize-winner, it doesn’t do you any harm if you put that on your CV.

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