Helen abari - #iabstories

Helen Abari – #IABstories

Hobbies/Special Interests: Teaching, Mentoring, Cooking, Supporting charities etc.

What motivates you to work hard?

What motivates me to work harder is mainly the continuous great support from my children and my husband Mr. A.M. Abari. I also feel motivated by having committed students who demonstrate a keenness to learn something new and achieve excellence despite their personal issues.

I have been very fortunate to have several inspirational teachers in my academic career, both at the university and during my teacher’s training, these are teachers who have challenged and motivated me to be a vibrant teacher. Due to their influence, I have then committed to keep the fires burning throughout my teaching career, by going the extra mile in supporting my students.

Receiving an award also motivate me to work harder and to celebrate more and it enhances our business profile.

What has your career path been?

My career path as a bookkeeper, accountant and lecturer began from my youth. I loved figures and helping my mother in her trading as she was a local businesswoman in the area I grew up. I attended a catholic college in Nigeria, and I lived in the convent (boarding school) where we are taught to care and support each other and help the poor and needy. I believe my interest in lecturing derived from this caring nature.

Having been blessed with a character trait of perseverance, I have been able to cope with all challenges that comes my way and never thought of given up.

I have received a series of awards from various organisations such as IAB, Stanmore College, Haringey Adult Learning Centres etc.

In my years of teaching, I’ve come across most exceptional students that have a keen interest in Payroll, bookkeeping and accounting and either with basic skills or no skills.
Sometimes students show low self-esteem and confidence, and I would be able to build their confidence by tailoring their lessons according to their needs.
This is usually done via a holistic approach, taking the student as a whole and considering their personal life, challenges and beliefs or anything that can impact their learning.

Many of my IAB students claimed that the skills they gained from the IAB qualification had contributed to their achievement and they had excelled in their respective job role and further education.

Why the financial industry?

In the financial industry, you will have a lot to learn when you start and you are likely to have intensive training and ongoing mentoring, which gives you the tools to do the job well. You will be given responsibility at an early stage and working as a team will help you succeed easily.

Transferrable knowledge and skills are of good advantage. As a lecturer I always embedded my practical knowledge skills into all my lessons such as payroll, bookkeeping and accounting.

By working with clients, colleagues, industry contacts and HMRC, you will develop a strong network both within and outside your area of expertise which will help you to progress.

A role in regulation or compliance is valuable, such as Anti-Money Laundering (AML). Also, the Knowledge of financial regulations is very useful to companies.

Pay in financial services is not huge, but it is competitive. After a few years in any role, you could find yourself having a pay increase and you are likely to be promoted based on merit.

What is your current role like?

My teaching career is wonderful, I have great passion for it. I am working towards progressing to Accounting Practices so that I can provide my students with practical experiences to enable them to have a head start and be more competitive in the job market.

What does an average week look like for you?

An average week for me consists of teaching, attending personal training and doing some accounting practises work and attending Muslims Jummah Prayer on Friday. Half day on Saturday is mainly to teach and support working adult students and the rest of the day and Sunday is for socializing and looking after my family and catching up with things in my life.

What’s been your career high point and what are your aspirations for the future?

My career high point is teaching and giving my best to my students and seeing that they are successful in their chosen subjects. My future aspirations are to have an accounting practice to provide practical experience to my students and to upgrade my centre here in UK. A further aspiration would be to have another branch abroad e.g., Nigeria which has been one of my challenges so far.

Do you feel like you’re making a difference in your job?

I am hopeful I am making a difference in my career which can be reflected in my student’s achievement and in the series of awards received such as: IAB Honouring Ambassador in 2016 and same year I received Gold Centre Award for the Haringey Adult Learning Services, 2018. I was also awarded IAB Tutor’s of the Year and in 2021 one of my students Mrs. Diliek Kacmaz was awarded IAB Student of the Year.

Are there any expectations you had about this career path that you have found differed from reality, in both a good and bad way?

Pursuing a career as an accountant and a teacher is not an easy journey. However, it is one of the most rewarding careers one can engage in. Becoming a key component in another individual’s life is a big step. Teaching is a profession that can change the lives of students for the better.

Teaching can be such an exciting and challenging profession most especially if you are teaching young students and vulnerable adults.

What are the biggest challenges?

Learning blocks:

Students might continue to struggle to understand the tutor’s explanation or unable to apply basic knowledge to more complex situations.
This may occur because the students don’t have the prior knowledge and the tutor’s explanation is not registering. Therefore, the tutor needs to go back a few more steps to connect to what they do know and practising smaller steps one by one with more repetition. This can be time consuming, but it is necessary.
What are the compromises?
Learning blocks – Another explanatory method might be needed – using a different teaching style; provide more worked examples; additional discussion by breaking down information into much smaller steps and stages.
The challenges that most tutors are facing are entirely predictable, so it is better to get ahead of them, by planning strategies to address them in advance before you react. Tutors need time and the right working culture where they can openly express the challenging which they are having in other to find solutions.

What skills are the most crucial to succeeding in this career?

Teaching requires good inter-personal skills along with effective speaking, strong presentation and great organisation skills.
Also, to specialise in bookkeeping and accounting, requires qualifications in Bookkeeping and accounting such as IAB qualification, IAB Practising Certificate and AML Certificate and in terms of teaching, you require teaching qualifications.

What type of person do you need to be?
You need to be someone with entrepreneurial skills that will have an excellent impact on people.

What the best bit of advice you have for someone looking to move into this area?

As a teacher you need to stay positive to remain an inspiration to your students. The students will perform much better when they are encouraged and learn to recognise their strengths and improve their weakness. You will be the main contributor to their self-esteem and their futures depend on your kindness and encouragement.
You will need different teaching methods and style.
You will need a sound classroom management skill.
Set clear expectations with each assignment.
Make sure you review the goals of each new assignment.
Set grounds rules for the classroom.
Acknowledge every student the first time you see them every day.
Be caring and empathetic – Regardless the age group that you are teaching, students are going through mental growth that can be challenging and frustrating. It will also help build trust, so they know they can come to you for help and mentorship, when necessary.