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My ACA experience: Ali

I want to make a positive and meaningful difference in the world. I aim to use my skills, knowledge and experience to help make the international business community a better place for all. The ACA has enabled and empowered me to pursue my dreams.

Ali Qasim

Ali QasimRothschild & Co

Location: Manchester

Ali's story...

What or who inspired you to become a chartered accountant?

Watching my brother study for the ACA initially exposed me to the qualification and sparked my interest to further pursue the ACA.  The breadth and depth of the content made me realise the prestige and weight that this professional qualification carried within the financial and business world. I wanted to have the privilege of choice later in my career and I knew this qualification would give me that.  

What skills/ behaviours have you adopted to become successful? 

Being:

  1. driven and understanding that there is no replacement for hard work
  2. ambitious and pushing the boundaries
  3. ahead of the curve by starting early

What are your hobbies and interests? 

I love to run, read and I play cricket competitively. Running helps me clear my mind and it allows me to push myself when my body is telling me to stop, I believe in mind over matter. Reading helps me to think critically and cricket helps me perform under pressure as well as understand the strength of working as a team.

Where around the world has the ACA taken you?

Cyprus on a global PwC leadership development programme as well as travelling extensively within the UK. The global recognition and respectability of the ACA has led to numerous international offers so early on in my professional career.

We believe that our accountants are more than you’d imagine; they challenge the traditional accountancy routes and career paths, and use innovative approaches and skills for their work. How does you career path, attitude or skillset support this?  

My career path has been far from traditional, having not gone to university. The ACA has provided me with a unique competitive advantage. Even within the first few months of my new role as an investment banker, it’s clear that the skillset I’ve acquired in preparation for the ACA exams has given me an edge over my peers. 

What advice would you give to a new ACA student?

Use your time efficiently and effectively, the exams are challenging however your success is correlated to the amount of time and effort you put into studying. Be persistent: the hard work and sacrifices are worth it. 

What’s been your biggest challenge in your career journey so far? 

Working in an industry that requires a university degree as a qualification for the position, I had to prove myself initially as the college leaver programme was a new alternative into the business and finance industry; people were not familiar with it when I started. 

Do you think there is such a thing as a stereotypical accountant? If so, how do you and/or your career journey/current role challenge this stereotype? 

I don’t think there is a stereotypical accountant in the modern day and age. The diversity of skills and knowledge that the ACA equips you with makes you a strong all-rounder who is able to adapt in a changing environment and thrive in difficult situations. 

What do you aspire to be, beyond a successful accountant? 

A global business leader; I want to make a positive and meaningful difference in the world. I aim to use my skills, knowledge and experience to help make the international business community a better place. This qualification has enabled and empowered me to pursue my dreams.

Ali Qasim

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