The director at KPMG Azerbaijan tells us how qualifying as an ACCA member has enabled her to 'explore the world'.
My career started 12 years ago when I joined one of the Big Four firms as administrative assistant in the audit department. I’d recently returned from my exchange year in the US as a high school senior, and was studying for a degree in finance.
During my first year in this role I had an opportunity to observe the work that consultants performed. I was very inspired and had a great desire to join the audit team. I reached out to my manager: his response was that what really differentiates the professionals is that they’ve studied for the ACCA Qualification. His comment started my journey with ACCA. After my second year I transferred to the professional staff and became an audit assistant. Later I moved to KPMG and I am currently head of audit practice at KPMG Azerbaijan, based in Baku.
My biggest career achievements are the opportunities I gained from working in several countries. Once I had qualified, I wanted to use my ACCA to explore the world. I spent 18 months at KPMG’s London practice in banking audit, an amazing experience. I gained knowledge that I wouldn’t have been able to find locally in my home country. After returning to Azerbaijan, I became senior manager in audit and took on an additional role in our financial risk management practice. I also had several audit engagements in Kyrgyzstan.
I’ve stepped out of my comfort zone many times, mainly due to heavy workload and the complexity of issues. I’ve always tried to go the extra mile, and I believe you learn most when you are under pressure. Covid-19 has brought many changes. We have managed to successfully complete several audit engagements via digital channels, with minimal client interaction. This would have seemed impossible before Covid-19, but now it is the new reality.
In addition to my professional career I work as a lecturer. Teaching gives me a deeper understanding of the theory that is tested in ACCA exams, which helps me in my professional role. Having a master’s degree in finance, I’ve been a visiting tutor at Azerbaijan State University of Economics in Baku. I enjoy seeing the passion of my students, so if I weren’t an accountant I would be a teacher.
My mother had great influence on my life and career. She always supported and encouraged my development from my earliest years. I was also greatly inspired by colleagues in the practice where I started out, especially when I saw how much impact they had on clients’ businesses.
I enjoy working with people. I’m proud to see the professional growth and success of my staff, and I’m happy to see that as a team we help businesses reach their goals.
I spend most of my free time with my family. After I put my six-year-old daughter to bed, I enjoy reading or watching Netflix.