Accounting was not Maria Rochelle Diaz’s (or Che for short) first choice when she applied for her major in college. Her ultimate goal was to either take up law or medicine. Che even applied for journalism to pursue her interest in writing. Encouraged by her parents who were both CPAs, Che eventually decided to take up accounting in De LaSalle University – Manila.
After passing the board exams in May 2001, Che applied and was accepted as an associate to PwC Philippines. She joined the consumer and industrial products and services (CIPS) group. Che fondly recalls her exact outfit on her first day at the office. “I didn’t have any fashion sense yet at the time” she muses.
Che’s first assignment was with a not-for-profit business organization. It was a trying time due to the adjustments she faced at work and the commute from the office to the client. Despite the difficulties, Che enjoyed the camaraderie she developed with the team. She learned and appreciated the methodology, documentation and processes implemented in the firm. Most of all, she was able to gain the trust and support of her coach and engagement partner.
During Che’s eight year stint at PwC, she was considered a high performer. She was promoted to senior associate just after two years and then to manager a couple of years later. Che credits the firm for inculcating in her discipline and quality of work. “As an auditor, you need to see beyond what is presented in front of you. You have to dig deeper, look behind the numbers.” Che applies this until now and embodies her PwC experience in how she executes work and inspire people whom she works with. Every year during the audit busy season after she left the firm, Che sends food to the CIPS group to boost morale and spread cheer to the hard working auditors and staff. “It’s my yearly thanksgiving to how PwC and my coaches molded me.”
Che firmly believes in observing work – life balance. As much as possible, she tries to leave the office early to set an example to her team to spend more quality time with family or pursue hobbies. She also encourages creativity. Che’s team is composed of individuals who have a wide variety of interests outside work. On her own, she plays the piano, keyboard and drums during her free time. A current project she’s working on is the finance team’s all-girl band.
Weekends is reserved for going out of town with family and friends. Che is an outdoor person. She loves to feel the sun on her face and literally, to stop and smell the flowers. Che recently visited Davao and Cebu and enjoyed the sights and food with friends.
Once she finishes her MBA studies, Che plans to do more volunteer work for kids in her identified communities. Once in a while, she helps her mom with outreach activities such as teaching kids and providing educational scholarships.
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