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Clear Channel Europe
“Working in internal audit is like having a front row seat to the nuts and bolts of a business,” says Daniel Mensah, Head of Audit at Clear Channel Europe. “You can see everything from start to finish – all levels from grassroots to C level. You get the whole picture.”
This means getting to see the ‘juicy bits’ says Daniel, and to better understand how the organisation works from the inside.
While Daniel started off with an accounting and finance background, studying both at the University of Manchester, after his first year he decided to drop accounting.
“Ironically I decided I didn’t like accounting,” says Daniel.
But after struggling to find a job after his bachelor’s degree, he decided to stay on and do a masters in social research methods and statistics. During this, he got a job offer at PwC, where he ended up working in assurance.
“I remember leaving university saying I never wanted to do an exam again, and then I got to PwC and they said you’ve got to get through these exams now.”
“I'm not sure how I got the job really”
After a three year stint at PwC, Daniel decided to move into business and was looking to do more of a finance role when he started at Clear Channel.
But after six-to-12 months, he realised finance wasn’t a career path he wanted to take. “The month-to-month and year-end cycle just didn’t interest me, so I’ve been in audit ever since and I’ve worked my way up from there to Head of Audit for the European business.”
In February 2022, Daniel also joined the Rugby Football League’s Audit and Risk Committee, a sub-committee of the RFL Board, which enables him to combine a love of sport with his audit knowledge.
It’s this front row seat element of the role that Daniel has enjoyed throughout his career in audit, as well as the access it gives across the business to help staff develop within their careers.
“Part of my role is basically coaching and mentoring those who report to me, as well as helping them develop in terms of whether they want to progress within the department or move into the wider business.”
“I really enjoy this people element of it,” says Daniel.
“One of our key objectives for internal audit is being a source of talent for the business”
In his 12 years in the role, around three quarters of those who have left his team have moved within the business to another department or role.
This same opportunity was afforded to Daniel about three years in at Clear Channel, where he explored the interest of going into development which would have involved obtaining contracts for advertising or procurement.
“It gave me a real insight into the whole development piece”
“I had regular meetings with development teams and though in the end it wasn’t something I went for, I was really thankful to have the opportunity to get involved and see what it was like,” says Daniel.
“There wasn’t a fear of failure, because I had free rein to explore it as an opportunity.”
However, there have been some challenging moments within his career with Clear Channel, with a major fraud in the Chinese business about four years ago where the company lost $12m the ‘biggest’ of these.
“We’re SEC listed so they got involved and I was in two interviews with regulators. The prep work involved was about 200 hours worth of going through documents with lawyers,” says Daniel.
Though it was a difficult point, it also sparked a conversation about how things were done.
“It helped going forward to have that lens of not just what we're doing, but also if someone external were to see this, would they have the same conclusions that we do.”
“It was a good challenge in that sense.”
"I really like working to trance. It started with one of my wife’s best friends’ dads. He’s CEO for BNP Paribas in Canada and he told me he always works to trance or techno music because of the fast pace of the music. So, I tried it and actually because of the beats per minute it actually gets you into a mode that keeps you going. It definitely gives me a kick if I’m a bit lethargic. Typically I just go onto Spotify and type in trance or DJs like Armin van Buuren will do."
"I don’t really have heroes because every time I have one they let me down. But I think my mum would be my hero in terms of how she brought me up, her values instilled in me and obviously had a big hand in who I am today."
Chris is the founder and MD of GenerationCFO.com and creator of the Digital Finance Function Model and a contributor to many articles on our platform. Chris focuses on the shift toward digital transformation in accounting and finance, shows you what good looks like, then helps to get you there!
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