Interview with: Rashid Khan, global campaign manager for ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants)
Congratulations on your recent appointment as ACCA’s global campaign manager. It’s great to see Pakistani professionals being recognised by global brands like ACCA.
Thanks so much. I hundred percent agree that there’s a growing recognition of our talent around the world and more and more Pakistanis can now be seen making an impact around the world. ACCA has always been a champion of embracing Diversity and Inclusion, as well as creating opportunity for people with talent, ability and ambition, without looking at the colour of your skin or passport. And I feel D&I are vital to a healthy workplace, especially when you’re serving on a global scale. So yes, we’re a proudly diverse bunch coming from different backgrounds. In our brand and marketing team alone, we’ve colleagues from 10 different nationalities that makes it really exciting to work for ACCA.
ACCA has been at the forefront of accountancy profession since 1904. So what’s the secret behind this success that ACCA continues to lead the way even after 118 years?
Not just that we’re old with a rich history, more importantly, we’re the world’s most forward-thinking professional accountancy body. Throughout our history, we’ve done things differently. We’ve created an international network including members, employers, academics and opinion formers. We tap into their insight and experience to identify and explore global trends and issues for business, economics, society and the profession as a whole. This allows us to create the accountant that our fast-changing world needs, and gives us insight that we share outside of our organisation. We put our values into practice so we’re regularly the first in the profession to introduce new products and services, and showcase new research and policies. From being the first accountancy body to admit women to membership in 1909 to be always among the frontrunners when it comes to embracing latest technology and innovating thinking, we’re proud to be pioneers. The short answer to your question is we think ahead and that’s why we lead the profession.
How is ACCA supporting with talent mobility and allowing Pakistani youth to build international careers?
We’ve presence in 178 countries and our qualifications are the gold standard in accountancy with wide recognition around the world. Joining ACCA opens doors to respected, hugely rewarding career opportunities around the world. It’s like you’ve a global passport to work in any sector, anywhere in the world. Almost half of the members who qualified with ACCA in Pakistan are currently serving abroad enjoying fulfilling careers. Not just that, with trends such as offshoring, nearshoring and remote working, there’s even greater demand for Pakistani ACCA professionals in the global marketplace and our people can build careers with leading foreign employers who offer generous salaries and opportunities to progress quickly, that too without leaving the country. So when our people (regardless of age, gender or background) choose to study with ACCA, they choose a future full of possibilities.
There’s a growing debate whether our education system is capable of producing work-ready professionals. So much so that some influencers are heard discouraging people from pursuing degree programmes and encourage youngsters to only focus on skills. What’s your take on this topic?
ACCA is a professional qualification which is a combination of 3 Es, namely Exams, Ethics and Professional Skills Module (EPSM), and Experience. In addition to proving knowledge in exams, our students are required to undergo a mandatory 3 years’ practical experience requirement, as well as to complete EPSM which covers a full range of advanced ethical and professional skills. That’s why our members are able to add value to their employers from day 01 and join workplace with the right blend of knowledge, experience and skills. People often complain about the disconnect in Pakistan between academia and industry. But ACCA has always been working very closely with employers all over the world in making sure our qualifications are the most current on the market and continue to focus on growing skills in specialist areas that businesses are looking for and need – now and in the future. Therefore employers trust our future-focused, work-ready ACCA professionals who they know can add immediate value to their organisations.
How professional accountants can champion sustainability and responsible business practices?
Every accountant has a vital role to play in creating a better world. They’re in a unique position to make real, impactful change and be at the centre of sustainable development. Guided by ethics, integrity and transparency, professional accountants have a depth and breadth of knowledge and experience of the inner workings and strategies of organisations – insight that crosses borders and industries. It’s this perspective that ensures the decisions leaders make in all sectors, are anchored in an organisation’s core purpose, have a positive impact on stakeholders and ultimately shape a path towards a sustainable and equitable future for all.