Full Name: Farooq Hussain Mughal
Occupation: President and CEO of Etimaad Engineering Pakistan
Status: Member ACMA, CGMA
Farooq explains how he achieved his CIMA membership in Pakistan and how the qualification contributes to his career success.
Pakistan having very strong local accounting qualifications, why did you choose CIMA and when?
The fact that other qualifications have been specifically focused to better train students for survival in the local industry quite often limits their cross-border approach, boundary-less understanding and mobility. Furthermore the curriculum, exam techniques and the expected ability of qualified CIMA candidates provide them with an advantage over the flood of other professionals with similar local qualifications.
At the time you started CIMA the tuition support was very low in Pakistan. What motivated you to still pursue CIMA?
It was indeed very difficult to pursue the programme in the absence of high quality tuition, books and/or study material etc. However with the support of a few CIMA members and associates I was able to stay encouraged. It is important to mention here that my initiative of online communities to get on board with local CIMA members and students really helped me a lot by learning from their experience.
Following guidance from the senior management of CIMA in the region, I decided to move to Sri Lanka to study for TOPCIMA. However I feel that other students, who may not have the luxury to do this, contribute to the low pass rates in the region.
How did you find the curriculum? Did you find it relevant and was it difficult to get through?
Interestingly, the concepts in the curriculum were well elaborated and updated to keep the candidates abreast of the latest developments in the financial industry. I enjoyed learning the concepts, which although not specifically addressing the accounting/finance area, are essentially important for development of managerial and business skills.
Also, the exam technique encourages the candidates to think out of the box; just like an ‘on the job’ situation. It indeed improves the students' abilities, making them well prepared for the application of their knowledge in their professional career against upcoming challenges.
What benefits have you gained from CIMA and how has it influenced your career?
It would be quite difficult to summarise all of them in a few words; however, the main benefits are:
- competitive advantage over other peer professionals with local qualifications
- global acceptance and recognition
- strong community support
- relevant and updated knowledge and understanding of latest developments in the accounting/finance industry, including ERP, risk management, business and professional ethics, globalisation
- most importantly, development of business intelligence in candidates.
What would you wish to share with the employers of Pakistan in terms of CIMA’s relevance to business?
CIMA is the gold standard qualification: keeping in view the thoroughness and business relevance of the curriculum, excellent exam technique keeps a CIMA graduate on board with updated knowledge and an employer can be quite comfortable that the candidate would perform his duties in the best possible manner, having an ‘out of the box’ approach, unlike routine ‘number crunching’ accountants.
Furthermore, candidates not only have most of the required knowledge and experience to become vibrant in their respective domains, but have also been trained to lead organisations from the front to new level of success by taking strategic decisions based on their knowledge and well approached business understanding.
In your view, what is the CIMA difference compared to other foreign professional qualifications?
The CIMA professional qualification has been designed to produce high quality professionals who have a specialised knowledge and understanding of their domain and a wide application in varied industries. The programme, as well as focusing on pertinent concepts, helps develop the strategic management and business skills of the candidates.
Furthermore, the curriculum has been designed as per the applicable global standards, taking into consideration the ever changing global scenarios; thus it helps develop students beyond local geographical bounds. I personally feel that, based on the performance of professionals, CIMA is better respected by employers globally and even by other professional bodies/communities than other similar qualifications.
What would be your message to the youth of Pakistan?
With the number of young people in Pakistan (those between 14-25 years) approximated at more than 36 million, 22% of the total population, economists believe you are the biggest strength of the nation and you will spearhead the era of significant economic growth the decades to follow (source: UNDP).
It is imperative that the youth of the country provide widespread development in almost all the sectors of the economy; progress supported by increasing interest of foreign investors. In order to capitalise on this opportunity you must develop your professional skills to contribute towards the society as well as your families.
CIMA, as I've experienced, can be the single most important factor to provide you with an edge over your peers. Therefore if you wish to pursue a career as an accounting/finance professional CIMA is my earnest recommendation.