Blog - June 2016

Sebastian Sarmiento Orozco, Central Finance and Accounts Assistant, Amnesty International, Colombia (studied in UK)

Sebastian Sarmiento OrozcoI am a young business and finance enthusiast who has a strong determination to succeed in my career, I am from Colombia but I have been living in London for the past 4 years.Amnesty

I work for Amnesty International.  It is a non-governmental organisation focused on human rights with over 7-million members and supporters around the world. The objective of the organisation is "to conduct research and generate action to prevent and end grave abuses of human rights and to demand justice for those whose rights have been violated”. Amnesty International was founded in London in 1961, and has presence in 158 countries, with 8 regional offices and more than 800 employees.

I am the Central Finance and Accounts Assistant.  I am responsible for ensuring that all the payments to suppliers and employees are done correctly. I input accounting data into with speed and accuracy, I assist in the production of financial statements and applications, preparations of spreadsheets and reports.  I also assist with the end of year preparation and procedures, as well as financial reporting to external bodies, annual accounts preparations, debt management and income management. I work closely with the Finance Manager to ensure the smooth operation of all finance matters.

I enjoy working for a Non-Profitable Organisation that delivers human rights impact and being part of a good cause improving people’s life and rights. I also feel satisfied that I am able to put in practice all the academic knowledge learned during my studies.  I am able to see how a business works in real life.

I studied the ABE Higher Diploma Level 5 in Business Management in 2012, after I successfully completed this qualification I decided to continue my academic path by studying a BA (hons) in Business Studies at the University of Gloucester, for which I achieved 2:1 in 2014. I then started my professional career at a fashion company as a finance intern.  It was a great opportunity to gain business and finance skills. I then joined Amnesty International, an organisation that has supported and accelerated my professional career. I am currently studying towards relevant accounting qualifications.

ABE qualifications have been a crucial part of my professional and academic career. As soon as I completed the ABE Diploma I found a quicker and more cost effective path to enrich my academic portfolio, by entering in the second year to the degree of Business Studies, having been exempted for the first year. This qualification also helped me to consolidate my skills and abilities that enabled me to find my first job in finance. And when I thought it would be the end. I found out that thanks to my ABE qualification I got 5 exceptions out of 14 examinations in my accounting qualification.

Instead of advice for new ABE learners, I would prefer to motivate everyone who is thinking about whether to start ABE studies. I personally believe that with hard work, consistency and discipline everything can be achieved in life. My ABE qualification has changed my professional career in a positive way. It is a very flexible and affordable way to accelerate you career in any industry you would like to work in. Even after more than three years since completing this qualification, and after my university degree, and a couple of years of work experience, my ABE qualification is still very useful and keeps contributing my professional career.

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Joe Leprince, Management Accountant, Schlumberger

Joe LeprinceSchlumberger

I am from Brazzaville, Congo and studied the ABE Diploma in Kuala Lumpur where I met my African queen, Barbara. We are now married with one daughter and live  between Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and Jakarta, Indonesia.

I work for Schlumberger, the world’s leading supplier of technology, integrated project management and information solutions to customers working in the oil and gas industry.  Employing approximately 108,000 people representing over 140 nationalities and working in more than 85 countries, Schlumberger provides the industry’s widest range of products and services from exploration through to production. (

As Management Accountant for a Schlumberger business segment called Software Integrated Solutions, my role involves preparing management reports (i.e. profit & loss statements, balance sheet, payroll analysis, cost analysis and forecasts) as well as segment analysis reports for the operations manager and operations controller.

I am currently covering the Central West and South Africa region’s operations which includes Congo, Gabon, Chad, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, South Africa, Tanzania, Mozambique, Namibia, Kenya, Uganda and Madagascar

I enjoy the flexibility, empowerment and the opportunity to work with people from different origins and backgrounds.

I first joined the company in 2011 as an Accounts Payable Accountant, then got promoted to Intercompany Accountant in January 2013 followed by another promotion just over a year later as Management Accountant.

Studying the ABE Diploma in Business Management had equipped me with the necessary knowledge to venture into any role within any organisation and in any industry. When I first read the job advertisement I had the confidence to apply even though I had no accounting background because I knew that my studies of Financial Accounting and Management Accounting in the Business Management qualification would be relevant in the role.

The Organisational Behaviour and Human Resources Management modules provided me with the necessary skills to manage my relationships with both my colleagues and my managers and this contributed a lot in my career progression as organisations value not only technical skills and expertise but also positive attitude and interpersonal skills.

My advice to new new students is to stay focus and never give up, tremendous opportunities await after graduation.


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