What sets Saltgate apart?
26 May 2021
‘Saltgate reflects what they want to see in their team – the people are personable with a happy attitude and an appreciation for those who like to get involved.’
Mariyah Hassan, a fund accountant in our London office, chats to us about settling in at Saltgate, and what she feels set us apart from the rest.
Read Mariyah’s interview to find out more about her journey from graduating to being in work, plus a funny moment that could only happen in a pandemic.
What is your professional background?
I’ve been in fund accounting since I graduated in 2018. By the end of my three-year English degree, I had enough of wishy-washy mark schemes and wanted to do something that had at least some semblance of a correct answer. I wanted to pick a profession with structure where I could study for a qualification, so I looked around for accounting jobs and one came up.
How did you get to Saltgate?
I lost my previous job during the pandemic so I was looking for new opportunities and, shout out to Alec at Cobalt, this position at Saltgate cropped up. I interviewed with quite a few members of the team in London – one being Jerome, who I instantly liked for how smiley he was – he’s now my manager so it worked out well! I also interviewed with Simon and Michala who were both really nice. I liked how they asked and were open to my questions for them – in fact, I think I asked more questions than they did! Their answers gave me a good opinion of the company from the outset and was a big reason why I wanted to join.
What’s your role and what are your responsibilities within Saltgate?
I’m a part qualified fund accountant and I work with my manager Jerome on a few clients. I do bookkeeping, payments and have distribution notices to take care of. For the most part, I’m working towards quarterly and yearly reporting. I also have other ad hoc tasks that float in through the day.
What advice would you give to someone who wants your role?
Set out a list of things you want to achieve and make sure you refer back to that when carrying out your role. It’s important to get your professional qualifications – figure out what you want to do and make sure you work towards that. There’s going to be pressure, so make sure you set out time for yourself too.
What’s the best part of your role?
The best is the people I work with, hands down! My line manager is amazing – he’s patient and mentors me which is a nice position to be in as I’m quite junior.
What’s the biggest misconception about your job?
I would say how people think you get into accounting. I had the perception that you need to study accounting or something numerical to go into it, but I did English! It’s not just about maths, although the basics are important.
It’s very vocational – a lot of people are learning on the job and studying, so you just need to have the desire to learn as there’s lots of opportunities where you’ll take on training. I’m learning so much on the job but if you told me that I’d be in a role like this five years ago, I probably would have laughed you out of the building.
Why did you go for the role you are in?
I learnt a lot in my last job, so this role was a big development for me. There’s a lot of varied work and you get to see a lot which is something I was keen to get involved with.
When you’re young I think it’s important to seize as many opportunities as possible to learn lots of different things and to build on your knowledge, and fund accounting offers that!
What’s the strangest or funniest thing that’s happened to you at work?
It’s not so much strange, but I’d say my most awkward or embarrassing moment was a work social before the second lockdown. I was new to Saltgate so I hadn’t met everyone in person yet. I’d reserved a table at a restaurant for the team and one of them was already sat down. The waitress asked if I could see my friend but I didn’t know how to tell her that I’d never met them in person before so I didn’t know what they looked like!
I looked at her blankly and answered ‘hmm’ and she saw the confusion on my face so pointed me in the vague direction. I was gingerly walking towards a table to try and find this person who looked like they were expecting someone, but after 30 seconds, I had to go back and ask her to show me to my table!
What trait in a person do you most admire/dislike?
I admire people who are easy going, friendly to talk to and recognise the effort you put into having a conversation. I find silence awkward so I try to fill it – there’s nothing worse than being in a lift, saying hi to someone and they suddenly find the lift buttons really interesting!
I dislike when people act like you’ve made a mistake on purpose. Mistake making is not a hobby so no one is doing this intentionally; I prefer people who are patient, understanding, and can explain how to improve. This can make sure there’s less blame culture and people take responsibility for their actions.
What do you do for fun?
I enjoy socialising and reading. I joined the Saltgate book club because I love reading, so much so, that I savour every letter and read very slowly! I enjoy listening to everyone talk about the book in the book club – everyone is so friendly.
What’s your hidden talent?
I’m not too bad at accents. My sister and I walk around the house doing accents all day long, probably to the point where it annoys everyone!
What’s been the highlight of your week?
My highlight of the week was definitely Eid! After a funny old year it was nice to spend time with family celebrating something that’s really meaningful. I came back to work feeling refreshed.
Who’s your hero?
It has to be my mum for so many different reasons. My mum has many good words of wisdom, and she is always very understanding. Her approach was just ‘try your best’ – something I held within me and that I go back to a lot.
My mum didn’t have the best education, as she had to leave school early and has worked ever since. She wasn’t born in the UK so often second guessed herself when speaking English; funnily enough she always helped with my English homework! She’s damn good at her job and I’m proud of her for how far she’s come, how much she’s achieved, and she doesn’t even see it herself!
Who’s your favourite author?
I used to have a favourite book as a child – The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton. It’s one of those things that takes me back to my childhood. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve banned myself from choosing favourites because I love so many. So it’s really the only book I could consider my favourite.
What’s the funniest joke you know by heart?
‘Why was 6 scared of 7?’
I’m totally fitting the bill by being numerical!
What makes someone succeed at Saltgate?
My view is that as a business, Saltgate reflects what they want to see in their team. The people are personable with a happy attitude and an appreciation for those who like to get involved. Be friendly, immerse yourself into the culture and be up for joining in.
What’s your favourite part of Saltgate culture?
What surprised me is how cross-jurisdictional it is – it really sets Saltgate apart. When you have a cross-jurisdictional culture, senior members of staff are directly involved with setting that tone and ultimately the rest of the business. Having that at a higher level sets an expectation of the culture, which I like – you get the sense that it goes all the way up and as a result, filters all the way down.