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She graduated from the London School of Economics in 1982. She joined KPMG after graduation, and worked there for the majority of her career before moving to the BBC. She joined BBC in 1998 as Group Financial Controller. She was then promoted to head of Revenue Management, the department within the BBC responsible for collecting the Television licence, a job she had held since 2001.
In 2004 Zarin Patel was declared "Client Marketer of the Year" by Precision Marketing, a London based Direct Marketing trade magazine.
- Hinks, Gavin (3 June 2010). "The BBC awaits more audit scrutiny". Accountancy Age. Retrieved 24 June 2012.
- Singleton, Alex (December 13, 2008). "BBC sacks contractor over licence fee warning letters containing false statistics". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 24 June 2012.
- Asian Awards 2010 Winners List