Asma Jan Muhammad
Asma is a Senior Manager Financial Planning & Strategy at Jamal Al Ghurair Group, based in Dubai, UAE. She gained ICAEW membership, as an ICAP member, in 2019.
What is involved in your role?
I oversee finance operations and support the management in operational leadership. My role is very strategic, with international reach, and dependent on my experience of building relationships and solid financial planning.
How did you decide to apply for Pathways?
I heard about the Pathways route from an old colleague who held a senior position at the time and who is an ICAEW member. He encouraged me to look into the process as it would help me become a member of a prestigious institute. The process and the support materials seemed very straightforward and the fact that this route offers recognition to qualified and experienced members of other professional bodies was a decisive factor for me.
How did you approach the application?
I attended a workshop held by ICAEW in Dubai where they explained the process and helped me understand what steps I needed to take to apply.
I applied to ICAP for a Letter of Good Standing and asked my old colleague to become my sponsor. I then completed my registration on the ICAEW website and started drafting my Examination of Experience.
What helped you succeed?
In addition to meeting the eligibility criteria for this route, I believe that my diversified professional experience with business planning and analysis helped me succeed in my application.
What I believe also helped was that I had a 3-month window between attending the workshop and submitting an application. This meant that I had sufficient time to understand what is needed and plan accordingly, draft my application and have it reviewed by the sponsor, get the required certificates and submit well before the deadline. I was able to submit one week before the due date without any rush or pressure.
Are there any resources that you found particularly useful during the application process?
There were three main resources that I found very useful:
- The ICAEW workshop explaining the application process, the Examination of Experience questions and tips from the examiners.
- The examination questions with a focus on keywords on “what is required”, which are available on the website.
- The sample scripts, also available on the website.
Do you have any advice for candidates?
Pathways is a valuable membership scheme. Qualified and experienced individuals can utilise their knowledge, experience, thought process and skills to demonstrate their past achievements and experiences and to have it recognised in the form of an ACA.
How has ICAEW membership impacted your career and supported your goals?
ICAEW membership has proved to be greatly valuable in my career path and progression. As an ACA I have gained access to a reputable global network and a knowledge platform allowing me to develop both my technical and soft skills.
I gained my home membership 16 years ago. The recent acquisition of the ACA designation certainly gives me an edge. It shows that my skills, knowledge and professional competence are up to date and, more importantly, they are recognised globally – a great benefit when working outside of Pakistan.
Ever since I applied for the scheme, I have been promoting it to my fellow ICAP members. By sharing my success and experience, I encouraged many of those members to apply.
I would strongly recommend the scheme. Becoming an ICAEW member provides you with access to a global platform of technical and soft skill resources and adds great value to the career path of a Chartered Accountant.