The finance profession – the most undervalued career option in Pakistan

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Yet the one most in demand the world over

 

Businesses are getting more exciting and vulnerable with each passing day. The Internet has been a major contributor to the changing global landscape: a handful of people with just an idea can create a technology company worth billions of dollars with minor investment, whereas an established industry worth billions of dollars may have difficulty in finding finance. Due to the changing dynamics, young professionals are weighing the pros and cons of going into entrepreneurship or getting a job based on the scope of investment these different industries are getting. For them the options are limitless as there is an evolving concept of social enterprises that are socially and ecologically responsible but also aiming to make financial gains. There are also enterprises that have no physical infrastructure, yet are making billions.

These trends have offered new scope for finance professionals. The roles are now progressing towards more strategic leadership which can generate and act on business insights. The finance profession no longer entails just the traditional accounting and auditing role anymore. The traits mentioned above are, however, desirable for all types of businesses – from multinational organisations to SMEs as well as public sector entities.

Finance is becoming the most desirable qualification for CEO positions in organisations with a more hands-on approach when it comes to decision making (The Financial Times survey of 100 FTSE companies 2013)

Finance is becoming the most desirable qualification for CEO positions in organisations with a more hands-on approach when it comes to decision making (The Financial Times survey of 100 FTSE companies 2013). CFOs with the right financial expertise and commercial acumen are more likely to progress to the highest echelons of the corporate world compared to any other corporate role these days. Building soft skills, active participation in decision making, being tech savvy, attention to customer centricity, outcome focused vs process based, understanding of legal compliance beyond tax and company laws, business risk assessment, capitalisation using private equity or venture capital funds, business combination are all new and rewarding traits for progressive finance professionals.

Pakistan, known for its pool of finance talent, has always remained a big exporter of finance professionals. Our economy is in recovery and it is imperative to manage and retain such talent for Pakistan to facilitate growth. Many organisations and institutions have now launched finance talent development and retention strategies.

Recently, ACCA refreshed its overall approach for Pakistan and put more focus on developing soft skills at the student level, providing exposure to ACCA students by acquainting them with the latest research and insights reports, bridging the gap between international trends and local thought process. ICAP and ICMAP are no different. All professional qualifications are upgrading curriculum and addressing training needs for students to respond in time.

Private enterprises are offering well-rounded and structured approach to train and retain young finance professional. It will help them to move up the corporate ladder and add value to businesses. In today’s age, the youth is leveraging technology and using various freelance job websites to provide services to international clients and are in the process earning significant extra money to support their studies or families.

Individuals who are already in the profession or planning to join are required to build competencies in IT tools especially ‘Microsoft Office’. They also need to build strong interpersonal and communication skills

Finance as a career option is becoming quite promising for those who are initiators, hard workers, and committed to continuous learning. It is less expensive compared to a four-year bachelors’ degree in Pakistan and provides a blend of professional education and industry related training. The entire journey is tough but rewarding in the end. Somehow finance profession has remained unappreciated by the masses. Engineering, medical, and IT are widely known career choices for students and preferred by parents. Finance and accounting is an international language for all the businesses which uses international standards and frameworks to create common understanding around the world regardless of the industry, economic cycle, and region being operated from.

Individuals who are already in the profession or planning to join are required to build competencies in IT tools especially ‘Microsoft Office’. They also need to build strong interpersonal and communication skills. These are the basic tools/skills that will majorly advance a fresh professional’s finance career.

In a discussion with my industry peers, it was common that these days it is difficult to recruit and retain the right talent. Most of the organisations or at least finance functions of various entities are now working on key interventions to promote, develop and support growth of finance resources within the company. All accounting bodies are carefully reviewing their value propositions to attract young students towards the profession and support local industry and Pakistan’s economy with the right finance talent. Pakistan would not be able to achieve its overall governance, compliance, transparency, tax collection and FDI target if talented young people do not become a part of economic management of the country.

1 COMMENT

  1. It's because there's no other choice for people those can't get admission in medial or engineering college. Alternatively they choose a business degree which is much easier to choose. resume objective

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