Monday Motivation - Christopher Harris
Who is Christopher Harris?
I am a philanthropist at my core. I absolutely love planning and implementing community projects which can benefit communities and build future leaders. This was nurtured from a young age when I was actively involved in Cub Scouts and Scouts. Over the years, I have been involved in the Community Independence Celebrations Secretariat- Parish Ambassador program (St. Michael Parish Ambassador- 2015), Rotaract Club of Barbados- (Honorary Member- 2019), First Class Toastmasters Club- (Club President 2021-2022) and Caribbean Toastmasters District 81- (Area Director 2021- 2022).
I am aiming to widen and deepen my philanthropic aspirations to JCI (Barbados) and Rotary International; as I feel connected and aligned to their vision, mission, core values and strategic goals.
On a professional level, I am a chartered accountant. I have a deep “love affair” with numbers and I enjoy articulating the story which these numbers represent to various stakeholders; which enables them to make prudent financial decisions.
Moreover, I am an ardent fan of dancehall and soca music and could be found at popular shows with friends and family. I also love to travel which allows me to experience new cultures and cuisines. I enjoy movies and I am a huge fan of CSI, Criminal Minds, Suits, Scandal and Power.
What does your day to day entail?
My day usually starts with morning devotions while listening to music. I also like to update my gratitude journal, as this helps me create a positive mindset to navigate the day. My job basically comprises new business acquisitions, investment appraisals, financial projections, ratio analysis, budgets and cash flow analysis. A typical workday for me is performing macro and micro-economic analysis which aids me in creating assumptions to build financial projections for various projects. This normally consists of various analytical tools to garner appropriate and accurate information for business/financial models. I am often analyzing, comparing and reviewing industries, competitors and customers to identify trends that provide insights for forecasting.
In addition, I am also interviewing various senior managers, managers, accountants, and process owners to gain insights into various industries and business models.
Prior to COVID-19, in the evening, I am normally off to cricket practice which is normally quite intense physically as we prepare for weekend games. After practice, I would normally engage in a game of dominoes while having a few “cold beverages”. This is the time of the day I enjoy most, as I get to bond and fellowship with my mates. Moreover, engaging in robust debates on various topics.
Tell us your most memorable achievement to date.
I would have to say being part of an expansion project team for a subsidiary company. I was basically responsible for building a multimillion-dollar financial/business model which allowed us to secure in excess of $20 million dollars to implement. This project was expected to earn us in excess of 5 million dollars in EBITDA and employ an additional 50 to 100 Barbadians before COVID-19.
I would also have to say leading the Barbados territory to our first ever “Satisfactory Report” as an Internal Audit Manager was also quite special. This was because we had 21 infractions to address in 3 months. I had to work collaboratively with various department heads and we resolved all matters in the time frame given.
Any advice for our readers who are interested in working in your field?
I am a strong advocate for young aspiring accountants to ply their trade at an external auditing firm preferably (Big 4). I truly believe that finance is such a dynamic field and it is important for young persons to gain experience from the inception of their careers. External auditing provides you with a “platform” to learn various industries with competent and experienced team members. In addition, you are provided with the opportunity to build knowledge through the enrollment of a professional designation of your choice, which will allow you to use your new insights practically.
With this being said, having lived this experience, I am cognizant that working and studying present a plethora of challenges. Thus, it is important to adjust with expedience, in order to gain the proliferation of growth and development which can be derived from this early investment in your career both personally and professionally.
Is there anything else you'd like to share with us?
I would definitely implore young individuals to:
1) Find their passions by exploring multiple activities.
2) Create a vision for what they would like to achieve in their life.
3) Set small attainable goals.
4) Create an action plan and start NOW.
5) Celebrate small wins.
6) Surround yourself with positive individuals.
7) Seek constructive feedback.
8) Be willing to adapt and adjust.
9) Be open to continuous learning and improvement.