My career got off to a good start after I finished my ACCA studies. I first joined KPMG Lahore, then moved to the Dubai office of PwC, where I was lucky to be involved in many big audit assignments. Interacting with people from different parts of the world not only helped me enhance my practical and technical knowledge but also improved my interpersonal skills.
After six years in Dubai, I decided to move back to Lahore, to be close to my family. In 2012 I had the idea of providing outsourced accounting services; hence Fin-eX was established.
After finding our feet with some local projects, we started targeting accountancy firms in the UK that wanted to outsource work. We secured our first foreign client when we had a team of just three. From humble beginnings we have grown to a firm of more than 50 employees serving the UK, the US and the Middle East.
When I wanted to open my own practice, everyone discouraged me. I ignored them
Forming my own practice came from a need to be independent, as I was always very motivated to work for myself. When Fin-eX launched in 2012, our research showed a growing trend towards outsourcing. The fact that ACCA also has a huge presence in Pakistan helped us to provide the required technical quality to our clients. Post-Covid we have witnessed an increasing desire by firms and companies to outsource work, especially in the Middle East. Due to the rise of remote working and need for enhanced data security, ever more companies are coming around to the idea of outsourcing.
The current goal of the Pakistan government is to increase exports. Focusing on the export of services such as IT and accountancy will help it do so at a very low cost. However, for further growth, the government needs to invest in faster internet access and in IT free-zones. The opening of bank accounts and simple tax filing must also be made simpler, and a category of contractor created, similar to that in the UK. This will help the freelancing community but also bring such individuals into the tax net.
I have certainly stepped out of my comfort zone. When I wanted to open my own practice, everyone discouraged me. I ignored them and took a risk. Initially it was tough, and I faced a huge learning experience that you will not find in study materials. Persistence has paid off, and the firm has moved from strength to strength. It was one of the best decisions I ever took.
I enjoy it when clients show appreciation. Achieving a target I have set myself is another big motivator.
I have been lucky enough to have had plenty of achievements. In my personal life I met my wife, and academically I was a place winner in my ACCA exams, coming third in the core examination. I got into the Big Four on merit, before starting my own successful practice.
I’ve always been a sportsman, although if I weren’t an accountant, I would probably have become an architect. I am an amateur golfer and play football on a regular basis, but I have a young family, so these days that takes most of my time.