Ayesha Bedwei. Partner, Tax Advisory Services and Africa Diversity & Inclusion Leader at PwC Ghana.
Tell us about yourself
My name is Ayesha Bedwei, and I’m a Partner with PwC Ghana, specializing in Tax Advisory Services. I essentially help my clients efficiently manage their tax matters.
I am also PwC’s Africa Diversity and Inclusion leader and hold regional leadership positions within PwC as a member of the West Africa Management Board and the leader for Corporate Responsibility in West Africa.
With over 20 years’ experience in the Finance and Accounting field (14 being in PwC), I have been involved in a wide range of projects and have built up a network of influential clients and associates during my professional career. As such, I have worked with multinational clients across a wide range of industries including the oil and gas sector, fast-moving consumer goods, telecommunications and manufacturing.
I regularly contribute to articles in Ghana’s business print media and appear on Television programs discussing various issues including Tax, Corporate Responsibility, Career Development and Diversity and Inclusion.
In 2017, I founded the Careers Advisory Blog, www.careers1825.com, to provide honest and relatable career advice to young Africans between the ages of 18 and 25.
In 2018, I became a member of the Migration task force of the Think 20 (T20), a group of policy think tanks which advise the Group of twenty (G20). More recently, January 2020, I was appointed as a member of the Mastercard Foundation Advisory Committee, and President of the American Chamber of Commerce in Ghana.
I went to St Mary’s Secondary School in Accra, Ghana and continued to the University of East London in the U.K. where I pursued my undergraduate studies in Business Economics.
Walk us through your early career journey
With the help of my career advisors in University, I knew I wanted to pursue a career in accountancy quite early on. The first 5 years of my professional career were mainly made up of working as a Junior Accountant whilst also studying and writing my professional accountancy exams. My first job was as a Trainee Accountant in a mid-sized accounting firm in the UK where I worked for 2.5 years. From there, I worked as a Finance Manager in a small training firm.
What values/skills would you say you demonstrated in your early career journey that have contributed to your career success?
- Being able to process complex information into manageable bite-size pieces
- Good project management skills – being able to coordinate lots of people and issues. This I specifically learnt at my finance manager role in the small training firm.
- Being a strategic learner and recognizing patterns and trends – I love to learn but only learn what I need to get me where I want to be!
Did you always know you wanted to do what you are doing now?
I did, once I got life-changing career advice. Before that, I wanted to be an Artist, then an Architect and finally an Economist.
What were some of the mistakes you made on the career journey?
The main one was pursuing a master’s degree for the wrong reasons especially when I didn’t need one for my career. I eventually dropped out and was much happier and more focused for it.
If you had the opportunity to change one thing in your early career/work experience days what will it be?
Not a single thing!
Any advice to someone who is confused about their career planning?
Please seek advice from career professionals so you can get a realistic idea of what it is like to do what they do on a daily basis.
If you had a minute to coach/advice a tertiary student about work readiness, what would it be?
The unspoken rules of office engagement.
Knowing what you know now as a high-profile professional, what would be your advice to a rising young professional you are mentoring?
Be intentional about seeking guidance and approach each learning opportunity with curiosity and humility.