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Employee Spotlight: Stathis Gould

What attracted you to IFAC when you joined?

IFAC provides a unique platform to work with and interact with many people and organizations around the globe. It provides the opportunity to influence the development and success of the profession and the economies it serves, to work on a variety of important and interesting issues, and to engage with so many different folks around the world.

When I joined IFAC, much of its focus was on accountants working in public practice. With my background and experience in management accounting, I was also presented with a great opportunity to broaden IFAC’s agenda and relevance to accounting and finance professionals who work in business and the public sector. Given this constituency represents the majority of the profession’s membership, and they have critical roles in driving business success, it was an opportunity to elevate our global voice on the issues of importance to PAIBs.

Were you surprised by anything once you became an employee?

IFAC is a relatively small organization in terms of revenue and number of employees, but it has significant influence because of dedicated staff and its ability to convene and leverage volunteers from around the profession who dedicate much time to our mission and objectives. Furthermore, IFAC has a strong and collaborative culture which means people value working in partnership with their peers, members, and external partners to get things done and continually improve the way we get things done. Many external stakeholders have the impression that IFAC is bigger than it actually is given the amount of output and influence we have.

What is your role at IFAC?

I started out leading the thought leadership and global advocacy work related to professional accountants in business. This involves understanding and positioning accounting and finance professionals as finance and business leaders, and working with our member organizations to ensure their future relevance in the face of important trends such as sustainability and digital transformation. It also involves working on policy and regulatory matters ensuring that the perspective of accounting and finance professionals is represented in international standard setting and in developing best practices, for example in corporate governance, risk management and internal control.

I am also now responsible for member engagement helping to ensure IFAC’s priorities and focus areas are aligned with our membership and network partners, and that we work collaboratively with our members to take global issues to a jurisdictional level. It also involves overseeing our membership process including bringing in new organizations into Member Status.

What does a workday look like for you?

The great thing about working at IFAC is that no two days are the same and that there is a variety of things to get done. During a typical work week, I can be preparing content for a product we are developing or for the website, engaging with member organizations and key stakeholders, setting an agenda for one of our global advisory groups, thinking about our strategy and priorities, preparing communications and presentations for the many events we convene or speak at, working with the IFAC Board, collaborating on joint projects with member organizations and partners, and working with my team to address challenges and find solutions.

It really makes for an interesting and varied career experience.

What’s your favorite part about your job?

The variety of activities and working with so many different experts and people with different perspectives from around the world, and having dedicated colleagues. And new opportunities always arise. For example, we are currently working across the organization to see how Generative AI can help increase our productivity and product development.

What’s the most unique part about working here?

The global platform and the opportunity to work with so many knowledgeable people from diverse cultural backgrounds on the most pressing issues of the day.

What kinds of resources have you taken advantage of?

As a small organization, we maximize our reach and influence through relationships with member organizations and partners. I spend a lot of time working on collaborative projects with others, and bringing together our collective knowledge and expertise, and leveraging the resources of others, to bring thought leadership to the profession globally.

How has your career grown since starting at IFAC?

I started with a narrow focus in my lane which was professional accountants in business and the public sector. Now I am part of the management team which has allowed me to influence the organization strategically and connect the dots between different workstreams within IFAC. We have become a much more connected and less siloed organization in the last 5 years, and this has led to greater focus, influence, and impact. It has been a great opportunity to help deliver greater connectivity and approaches to align people’s efforts and expertise, and to channel it to achieve greater value to our members and stakeholders.

What would you do for a career if you weren’t doing this?

That’s a difficult question! Probably managing a business or public sector organization.

Where is your favorite place in the world?

With my immediate family, I have lived in the US for 17 years and really like the community where we are in the NY suburbs. We are fortunate to be in a nice town. That said, heading home to the UK to see friends and family is special.

How do you spend your days off?

I walk a lot with our dog and spend time in the garden and doing DIY projects when needed. Since the pandemic, I have also ventured into cooking more, particularly different types of curries.