Karim Chatter, France
Tell us about the people you look for in FAAS.
We look for versatile individuals — who can be both consultants and technicians; people who speak finance, accounting and control management, and have a real credibility in the field. This can make a real difference with our clients. Diversity is important to us so we also ensure that we’re recruiting from a wide talent pool. We welcome people from a variety of backgrounds such as finance, accounting, engineering or actuarial backgrounds. We take a unique approach to work as our teams are comprised of individuals who act as both technicians and consultants. There are many opportunities to undertake exciting global projects with a wide range of clients. New technologies and shifting regulations are changing our profession, which makes this is a very interesting place to be. Unlike our colleagues in Audit, we don’t work during peak seasons, so there’s also the opportunity for more flexibility.
I’ve been a part of our financial services organization (FSO) for the past six years and have come to appreciate the opportunities I have to work very closely with top management every day. In our financial services practice, you’re partnering with clients to support them in their strategic decision-making and we place a lot of focus on quality. There’s a great bond within the team and we really put our people at the heart of everything we do.
How much flexibility do you have in your working life?
I’m very happy with the flexible work options available to me here at EY. Sometimes this can be as simple as making time in the afternoon for a jog, where I can recharge. Flexible working enables me to reflect on everything I do throughout the day and perform better in my role.
One thing we need to do is communicate with our clients to reassure them that although we might not be physically present, the work is still being done for them. It can be challenging here in France, but we’re putting a lot of effort into this. It can be done.
What makes a great leader?
I would say the first quality of a great leader is to simply be acknowledged as one. In this sector, you need to have a positive reputation and a lot of credibility. Team members follow a leader who’s able to walk the talk and lead by example. It’s important to me that as a leader I’m approachable. I don’t want my managers on the team to ever feel like they are bothering me if they need to ring me throughout the day.
I am really passionate about the people‑centric culture we have at EY where I listen, grow talent and don’t throw people out into the field expecting them to come back with big financial wins for the team.
How important is it to take risks?
Taking a risk in your career is a very interesting point. I don’t know if I would use the work risk as I think it’s more around taking the initiative. I’ve certainly taken plenty of risks in my career, because I told myself that I had to act now in order to progress in my role. My leaders trusted me and I saw a lot of positive results after taking this risk because it helped me to grow my team and pursue new ideas.
Taking the initiative in your career helps to keep it interesting and stimulating. Our people are given opportunities to challenge themselves every single day. I encourage my team to take risks every day and to approach the market as one team with one central vision and mind-set. It’s all about maintaining communications across the team and regularly checking in.