Targeting ACCA membership

Achieving ACCA membership will be a mere formality for affiliate Nourihan Abdul Barry from Oman if the motivation she has displayed so far in her career is anything to go by. She tells us all about her current role, her career goals and why a healthy work/life balance is so important


Tell us about your role

I have worked at the International Tent Pegging Federation (ITPF) as financial accountant since November 2014. The ITPF is a not-for-profit organisation and it is mostly financed by the Omani Ministry of Sports Affairs and sponsors.

What is tent pegging?

Tent pegging is an equestrian sport where a horse rider uses a spear or sword to secure objects (pegs) on the ground around a course. It can be traced as far back as 4th century BC, and is today practised in many countries around the world including (aside from Oman) Australia, Egypt, India, Israel, Pakistan, South Africa and the UK. The ITPF has 28 national federation members. 

What is your role and responsibilities?

When the ITPF was established in 2013, there was no accounts or finance function. My role as financial accountant – along with the assistance of an accounts expert from the Sundanese Federation – was to set up an accounts/finance department. So that encompassed everything from preparing the finance manual through to implementing the ITPF's full accounting systems and processes.

This was a unique experience for me because I made full use of the knowledge acquired from my ACCA studies – along with the assistance of the accounts expert – to establish an international and reliable accounting department.

How did you find the exams – what would be your advice in doing ACCA exams well?

My advice would be to practise the revision kits published by ACCA's Approved Content Providers and reading technical articles as much as possible. 

Technical articles are very important since they are written by the examining teams and aid students in concentrating on key topics.

P5 was my favourite paper because I was very good in the underpinning paper F5 and my basics were strong, so I was able to study P5 easily.

My favourite topic in P5 was business models as it helped in evaluating a company's/organisation's strengths, weaknesses, environment, operations, strategy, and so on. 

How did you study?

At first, I undertook classroom study, though there were some papers where I self-studied, such as for F4 and F6. At the Professional level, I mainly studied online through the Kaplan Distance Learning Programme, which I found extremely helpful and would recommend to any student. 

How are you progressing with the PER?

I still have two years left until I can achieve ACCA membership. Currently, I am working through my performance objectives. I make sure that I have a reference letter from every organisation I have worked at that documents all the tasks and responsibilities that were assigned to me.

What are your career goals?

As aforementioned, business models was my favourite topic while studying, so I would like to pursue a role in that area – ideally in a business and employee development environment, as I believe both are inter-related.

Another field that is also of interest to me is financial management – particularly a role like a financial, business and commercial analyst where I can evaluate an organisation as a whole and consider measures to improve things.

Plus, I would like to continue further with my academic studies following the BSc (Hons) in Applied Accounting I achieved earlier this year and pursue a PhD.

Are you able to achieve a healthy work/life balance?

I’m absolutely against the all ‘work, work, work’ attitude. I like going to the beach for an early morning swim at the weekend, and I love watching movies, especially those from the ‘Golden Era’ (featuring the likes of Greta Garbo, Betty Davis, Rosalind Russell and Gloria Swanson). I also love listening to music from the 1970s and 1980s. Old movies and music help me to relax and unwind after a long day at work. However, nothing beats using my free time to catch up with family and friends.

What are your three tips on getting a job or internship?

  1. Network
  2. Network
  3. Network

I advise anyone who is searching for a job or an internship to set up an account on LinkedIn. It is through LinkedIn that I have sourced work placements and secured interviews.

Also, consider attending professional workshops or seminars – places where you can meet and interact with other professionals. You never know what opportunities may arise.

Who has inspired you?

There are five people who I credit and dedicate all my success to:

  1. Abdul Barry Al Tatawi (my father)
  2. Khadijah Ahmed Allam (my mother)
  3. Mohammed Al Tatawi (my eldest brother)
  4. Omar Al Tatawi (my second brother), and
  5. Merzia Vajid (my best friend)

"I made full use of the knowledge acquired from my ACCA studies – along with the assistance of the accounts expert – to establish an international and reliable accounting department"