Date posted: 12/05/2022

Lauren Zwierlein CA on how CAs can make a sustainable difference

If you’ve ever wanted to make a difference and wondered how accounting can change the world for the better, find out more from Zurich-based Chartered Accountant Lauren Zwierlein.

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Lauren Zwierlein CA has spent her career working towards making a difference. And now, thanks to her CA designation, she’s using her accounting skills to combat climate change globally.

Currently the CFO and COO at UrbanConnect in Zurich, Switzerland, a group that offers low-emission vehicles to companies across Europe, Lauren is responsible for not only the accounting and finance departments, but the operations department as well. 

Lauren's role at UrbanConnect contributes to the business goal of tackling climate change on an international scale by working with large corporations to reduce their carbon footprint and provide them with fleets of electric vehicles.

Lauren Zwierlein CA, CFO and COO of UrbanConnect

"The entire premise of the company is that we look for ways to enable companies to reduce their carbon emissions. The way we do that is by converting their mobility fleet to electric vehicles and democratising access," Lauren says.

In the combined role, Lauren is responsible for which corporations UrbanConnect works with, partnering with giants such as Roche Pharmaceuticals, Lonza, and Lindt & Sprüngli. She has visibility across the entire company and sees firsthand how businesses can have an impact on sustainability. 

“You can become a super powerful and impactful voice in the organisation, when you see the entire picture, which is really rewarding.” 

“You can become a super powerful and impactful voice in the organisation, when you see the entire picture, which is really rewarding.”

Making an impact has been an ongoing theme throughout Lauren’s career, which has taken her around the world. Before her role at UrbanConnect, Lauren was the Head of Finance for Lilium, a German aviation and aerospace organisation developing all-electric vertical take-off and landing jets.

While working at Lilium in Munich, Lauren saw how her accounting skills could be used to make an impact beyond balance sheets.

“You can provide value in a lot of different ways, not just in strictly the numbers, but also in other things like operations and strategy. Not just accounting,” Lauren says.

Throughout her time at Lilium, Lauren had the opportunity to build up the finance department and witness the transformation of the company as it rapidly expanded.

"The rate of growth was quite extraordinary. It was from about 60 people when I joined to over 800, so truly a hyper scale company in three and a half years," she says.  

Lauren’s time with Lilium broadened her horizons significantly and taught her to think comprehensively about her work and her impact.

“It was the first time that I was in a position of responsibility and that gave me a sense that the nature of the job was changing. Because you actually are responsible for something for the future. You need to step back and think objectively about what the best outcome would be,” Lauren says.

She encourages CA students and graduates to use their designation to find opportunities that will allow them to use their accounting skills and knowledge to make a difference.

“I'm seeing a trend that people want to work for a company that has a purpose and that actually does good for the environment. People are so passionate about this and really want to do something,” Lauren says.

“You have a set of skills that's really valuable to employers. So, think about what sort of company you want to work for and how you apply your skills with a company that's aligned with your values.”

“There are many very rewarding career paths where you can make an impact and have a really, really valuable contribution.” 

Want to learn more about environmental sustainability? 

Here is how CA’s can help create a sustainable future.

Read more