Muhammad Karimuddin is a CIMA qualified assistant manager for transaction services at the chartered accountancy firm KPMG Taseer Hadi & Co. In this interview, he talks about how gaining the CIMA professional qualification has contributed significantly to his successful career.
Pakistan having very strong local accounting qualifications, why did you choose CIMA and when?
I started CIMA during 2005; it was the right time to decide between my options, which were two equally reputed qualifications. A local accounting system is similar to the global standard, but has some customisation or is precisely country-specific.
The line of distinction is very thin, but my dream was big: to cater to the needs of global professionals. I therefore required not just a qualification, but a qualification which was sort after by professionals around the globe. I realised it was CIMA.
I chose CIMA and KPMG chose me to be one of their pool of ever-growing professionals. That was the reward for my decision.
At the time you started CIMA the tuition support was very low in Pakistan. What motivated you to still pursue CIMA?
Nothing should compromise a pre-set ambition! The goal was already set, my determination was strong, and my ambition was high despite the tuition support being low. So I continued to pursue my CIMA without a second thought.
Furthermore, being exposed to real life professional experience from KPMG extended a supporting hand. In my opinion there should be no excuse to compromise your goal: where there is a will there will definitely be a way.
How did you find the curriculum? Did you find it relevant and was it difficult to get through?
The CIMA curriculum was a mixture of management and financial accounting, human resources, marketing, information technology, risk management, strategic and project management, and other relevant topics for business today in the most appropriate ratio. It was ideal, a perfect start-up for a growing professional.
A systematic study plan will definitely get you through. I had very few downs, which were due to insufficient planning and time management on my part. Apart from such ‘human errors’, I don’t think it is difficult to get through the CIMA curriculum as CIMA provides students with user friendly study materials, which I highly recommend. In short, smart work can get you through CIMA; don’t mistake that with hard work.
What benefits have you gained from CIMA and how has it influenced your career?
The benefits from my qualification are innumerable, and I would not be able to state them all within few lines. To be succinct, everything I am enjoying today as a professional is a ‘return on investment’, and that investment was CIMA.
I joined KPMG – one of the ‘big four’ firms – which has a vast international presence. To cope within such an organisation, I needed my knowledge base to be strong, and CIMA was ideal. It helped me face my clients confidently: the CIMA brand was accepted by the business class and our clients knew we could deliver what they required.
My CIMA qualification and my experience at KPMG influenced my career growth: I moved to different countries, testing myself internationally. Without CIMA I wouldn’t be where I am today.
What would you wish to share with the employers of Pakistan in terms of CIMA’s relevance to business?
Every organisation aims for long term successful survival, and to meet the needs of the business community. CIMA covers a wide scope of business knowledge sufficient to meet the challenges of the business today.
There are business communities who are looking out for real solutions, and I have seen the confidence they place on professionals like us. A building needs to have a strong basement, and every business needs professionals.
I know CIMA has a record of creating excellent professionals; a bunch of such professionals at your company is what you require to meet your business goals.
In your view, what is the CIMA difference compared to other foreign professional qualifications?
All professional qualifications are unique, customised to focus on different business segments. They have their own recognition, global presence and popularity.
CIMA has a unique blend of business lessons and an appropriate level of focus on each section, which feeds every individual with business acumen. CIMA’s focus is on business as a whole.
To critics, CIMA may be equivalent to other professional qualifications. It could be; however, CIMA makes you into a professional who can be different!
What would be your message to the youth of Pakistan?
Pakistan is one of the developing nations, so we have our drawbacks. As young minds we have the opportunity to serve our country, to build a strong business community, to show the world the difference we can make.
Every country needs strong individuals, both in mind and body. As a part of developing and strengthening our business sector, I believe CIMA can make a vast difference. Be a part of a global professional business community, build your knowledge, design your dreams: we will one day be success stories of our country.