Neelam Ashraf

Published on:
April 21, 2021

Senior Financial Planning Analyst, FedEx International

Inspiration: In early high school years, I honestly chose accounting for the love of numbers and the dislike of science however sooner than I realized, I became extremely passionate about the Chartered Accountant title next to my name. It did not take much time to conclude that ACCA would be my best choice considering it would open my doors to further learnings. Thanks to it’s global recognition, I also hold a Bachelors (Hons) in Applied Accounting – which fast tracked the completion of my master’s in international business management (UK), UAE Chartered Accountancy and Chartered Professional Accountants (Canada). The journey continues as I peruse my Certified Internal Audit certification today. This only makes me realize every now and then, that my first step was right.

Journey: Apart from being the Practical Experience Supervisor on behalf of FedEx globally for the last few months, I have been a member for almost 5 years now and eagerly looking forward to the Fellowship title in 2021.

It would only be fair to say that nothing this rewarding comes without the challenges it brings for it to be well deserved. Joining straight from high school, studying while working and self-studying the entire knowledge & skills module due to financial struggles were just some challenges. As passionate as I was, I perhaps added to my list of struggles by aiming to be a first attempt pass and the first yet youngest CA in my family yet not wanting to compromise on enjoying social life and travels, because who says, ‘finance people are boring?’. Today, I can proudly say my goals did not cost me anything but pure effort, dedication and indeed a lot of planning.

Progressing each stage in ACCA feels more and more rewarding however if I had to call out one peak in the entire journey, it was a sitting where I managed to clear 4 papers in the same window while I would usually aim for 2. Strangely, I was even happier then, than when I fully qualified as Affiliate. This, of course, does not beat the sense of achievement I had when my father received my Membership certificate to finally call me his Chartered Accountant daughter.

ACCA Community: I thoroughly enjoy the networking events, which continue despite current challenging times. My PES role does often require me to remain in touch with ACCA, and more so Phoenix exam tips videos (which I closely follow) still take me back to my student days.

Apart from opening further qualification opportunities, being a global PES for FedEx has opened more networking opportunities across different parts of the world, and it feels amazing to be able to share and mentor ACCA students, affiliates, members & fellows’ ACCA journey. More so, my career progression over multiple roles in a short span – just in my current company – shows how the qualification has supported me quickly transition into different demanding yet rewarding opportunities so far.

Appreciation: My dad, for initially believing I was meant to be a doctor and that this field was practically never meant for girls, yet supporting me in the entire journey and rightfully claiming the credit. My mum, for teaching me to always remain a learner, by growing with me every day – even today – and yet managing to stay up to speed with a hyperactive daughter like me and finally FedEx, for being an Approved ACCA Employer due to its people-focused culture of providing learning and development opportunities. This makes the journey for a lot of us ACCAs easier. This special mention is inclusive of all the managers and mentors who are the organization’s culture.