To be a business professional was my passion since childhood. As accounting is the core of every business, I set out to explore the accounting world. ACCA attracted my attention because of its international recognition and the continuous support provided to the ACCA community. Apart from technical knowledge, ACCA enabled me to think more broadly. Riding challenges and emotional ups and down during my ACCA studies made me able to tackle difficult situations. My qualification was and remains the gateway to my professional career.

Aged 23, I started my professional career as an intern in KPMG Taseer Hadi in Pakistan’s capital Islamabad. I was then fortunate to be offered a life-changing opportunity with EY Ford Rhodes, also in Islamabad, where I had the opportunity to work on several fascinating risk advisory projects. My time with the firm included nearly a year in the Saudi capital Riyadh, where I was able to both broaden my knowledge in risk advisory and experience a different culture.

Quitting the relative comfort of a Big Four firm was not an easy decision. However, it had to be done if I was to pursue my ultimate business goal: in 2019, I co-founded a management consulting firm back in Islamabad, Opal Business Advisory, becoming its managing partner.

My father taught me that if you have a big dream, you are a big man

My father is my mentor. He always put me in challenging situations to stretch me and make me able to deal with difficulties skilfully. He taught me that if you have a big dream, you are a big man. I believe in aiming high, as the world is yours if you believe. But you have to be consistent in what you are striving for and achieving your dream takes a lot of hard work.

During my journey I have had the support of many people. I am especially thankful to my old friend Muhammad Insaf ACCA, whom I met during my internship at KPMG Islamabad. He encouraged me to gain experience with a Big Four firm in the early part of my career, which was good advice. He also taught me to stick to my goals.

Working in a practice gave me exposure to various industries and diverse market knowledge. This kept me in practice instead of pursuing a corporate career. It helped me in building a strong professional network, which is paying dividends now and creating opportunities for others.

I always keep myself out of the comfort zone. I challenge myself by plumping for the difficult path and setting high targets for myself. I have now developed my belief system such that if I’m actually in my comfort zone, I feel like something important is missing in my life.

If I were not an accountant, I would be a counsellor. I have had some success in counselling others and find it fulfilling. If I quit my business, though, I would spend time travelling around the world and exploring – the best part of my current job is travelling and meeting new people every day. And if I had decision-making powers, I would ensure everyone gets equal opportunities in education, health and technology.

I believe success is being a better version of yourself. Giving back to my community, improving people’s lives and knowledge sharing are my biggest achievements so far.