Following high school in Multan, Pakistan, I began to research my career choices and soon discovered the Big Four. I quickly decided that I wanted to work for one of these firms and then chose to pursue ACCA because of its global recognition, and the respect and mobility it gives.
At the end of high school, most of my fellow students prepared for entry tests to the medical and engineering universities. I had excellent grades in pre-medical but was never attracted in that direction. My father has always been my support, giving me the confidence and freedom to make choices related to my life and career. He told me to decide for myself what I wanted to do. In my career I was blessed to work with exceptional leaders who not only polished my performance but also enhanced my business acumen.
After nearly four years with PwC, I chose the corporate world as I always preferred to work in a fast-paced environment in a role which developed my understanding of business. During five years at Coca-Cola Icecek in Lahore, I developed an aptitude for financial planning and analysis (FP&A) which has shaped my recent career.
Over the years, partnering with commercial, supply chain and HR leaders gave me the opportunity to merge my analytical and financial skills with the business knowledge I’d acquired, so I could impact the business in a positive way. Now based in Sharjah, UAE, and working as a manager in FP&A with Americana – master franchisee of KFC, Pizza Hut, Hardees, Krispy Kreme and TGIF across the GCC region – I have the freedom to do that, to bring new ideas and engage in disruptive innovation. I have ample opportunities to learn and grow.
Growth lies outside the comfort zone
I have practised getting out of my comfort zone throughout my professional career. I have switched roles, responsibilities and countries while moving my family with me. This has helped me to meet new people and business leaders and experience different cultures, while challenging myself in different environments. I strongly believe that growth lies outside the comfort zone.
If I had law-making powers, I’d like to see a global passport. That way, anybody could go anywhere, to learn and make meaningful impact on their surroundings.
Because of the pandemic, responsibilities have increased for the FP&A function. We have had to deliver on tight timelines while ensuring the health of our employees. The food delivery business is growing across our 13 markets, and Covid-19 has brought more focus on this channel to ensure that both top and bottom lines remain intact.
What I enjoy most about my role is being close to the business. I relish partnering with managers, bringing insights to decision-making, and learning new things every day.
My biggest achievement I take as a blessing from God: that I am in a position to give back to society.