Currently an audit and assurance manager at Deloitte, Sean Perera is this month’s Student Center for the Public Trust (StudentCPT) Alumni Spotlight feature. While obtaining an accounting degree from Baruch College’s Zicklin School of Business, Perera was one of the founding members and secretary of Baruch’s StudentCPT chapter, helping facilitate the initial club registration process, becoming a collaborator with the Baruch Accounting Society and Beta Alpha Psi, and much more. Fast forward, Perera has been an invaluable team member of Deloitte for over five years.
To become better acquainted with Perera, and his journey to becoming the ethical leader that he is today, read his full interview below.
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself, including your background and your journey to where you are today. In 2017, I came to the United States from Sri Lanka. First, I went to LaGuardia Community College and graduated with an Associate of Science degree, and then I transferred to Baruch College for my bachelor’s in accounting. I graduated from Baruch College in 2013 and started my career at Deloitte. Currently, I serve clients in the financial services industry, specializing in real estate.
2. How was your chapter program formed? I had the opportunity to speak with CPT President, Alfonzo Alexander, during my time at Baruch College. Alfonzo was thinking of starting a new chapter at Baruch, and I was interested in getting involved.
3. What are some of your biggest takeaways from your participation in the StudentCPT Leadership Conference? What stood out to you most? Networking. Throughout the conference, you have the opportunity to network with the right people. I believe it is important to get to know someone on a personal level and keep in touch with them.
4. Did you make lasting relationships from the aforementioned conference? Yes, I keep in touch with people from my time at Baruch, as well as my time as a member of my StudentCPT chapter. I can see the importance of building relationships, now more and ever, as a recruiter for Deloitte.
5. Would you recommend future leaders attend the StudentCPT Leadership Conference? If so, why? Definitely! It’s important we learn early-on about trust. Unfortunately, they just don’t have that in school today. Maintaining the client’s trust has a huge impact on business, and that wasn’t the primary focus of our school curriculum. It’s important to learn about trust early-on, and when I was interviewing with employers, being a part of the StudentCPT gave me the confidence to ask them about the types of programs their company had in place to train people about trust. In my profession, you must maintain client trust because you handle client data and information. It’s important the firm and clients trust you with that information. And it’s important for clients to trust auditors so they can engage in meaningful dialogue about any issues that arise.
6. Have you noticed a difference in your sense of confidence to handle any situation, in terms of your career, compared to your colleagues, who have not received the same CPT training? Absolutely! Trust is the most important thing in my career and having learned how to maintain that trust is something I use most. I feel an increased sense of confidence. Now, data security is so important, but 5 years ago it wasn’t something of concern. I really felt like I had a jump start on trust and confidentiality as it became more relevant and I felt more prepared because I had this training.
7. What would you say to potential supporters, who are thinking about making a contribution to the CPT? This is the best program to help prepare students for future challenges. Very few programs in school cover trust and ethics. Hacking, fraud, are all done by smart people who just don’t have the right value system.
NASBA CPT Contributor