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Najihah Khalid, Senior manager, Ernst & Young, Malaysia

Najihah Khalid, Senior manager, Ernst & Young, Malaysia
For Najihah Khalid, becoming an ACCA member is one of her proudest achievements. Now senior manager in the assurance division at Ernst & Young in Malaysia, she tells us about her career and the secrets to a successful audit. ‘After I completed my degree, I didn’t feel I had enough competitive advantage when applying for jobs in accounting’ says Najihah Khalid. ‘So I dedicated another year to my studies and completed the exam component of the ACCA Qualification.’ As a full-time student, Najihah attended classes five days each week. ‘Attending classes was invaluable because the lecturers shared their knowledge and experiences,’ she says. ‘My classmates and I would meet to discuss what we had learned that day, and to compare notes. Then we’d go back the following day and ask the lecturer to clarify any points we had missed or couldn’t resolve between us.’ Gaining the ACCA Qualification in 2004 was among Najihah’s proudest achievements so far: ‘It certainly enhances an accounting degree and implies a certain level of technical competence, so employers tend to have confidence in your ability. The ACCA Qualification lends credibility and I’m proud to have achieved it. As a senior manager in the assurance division at Ernst & Young – where she has worked since 2002 – Najihah spends much of her time on statutory audit, focusing on the oil and gas industry. The nature of her work requires not only impeccable technical ability but also good communication skills since much of her work is client-facing. ‘My day is always hectic and driven by efficiency,’ says Najihah. ‘It’s largely focused on client relationships. We have regular meetings, many of which are external. At least two days of my week are spent meeting with clients to discuss the progress of their audit and inform them of any updates to accounting standards that may impact them. To do this effectively, clients have to trust you – they have to trust your ability and knowledge.’ Najihah believes information-sharing and clarity is vital to a successful audit. She and her team agree on the audit approach upfront, taking into account the requirements of the latest applicable accounting and auditing standards. ‘We discuss this with clients so they may better understand the standards from our perspective,’ she says. Another thing Najihah believes is key to a successful audit is keeping up to date on world events – not just for personal enrichment but because ‘world events are often the kind of topics that act as ice-breakers when meeting clients’. She says an ability to discuss events that unite disparate cultures often goes a long way to establishing a good rapport with the client. ‘I would advise anyone considering applying for the ACCA Qualification to just do it,’ says Najihah. ‘The knowledge gained from the course is second to none. But students must be realistic as well: the standards are high and it’s not an easy qualification to complete, so commitment is crucial. More importantly, though, you must have an interest at heart. Doing it for the sake of doing it is pointless.’ Najihah is the epitome of positive thinking. ‘Impossible is nothing – and nothing is impossible,’ she says. ‘When faced with the pressures of studying, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed, but you must always remind yourself that everything is possible when you set your mind to it.’ source: https://www.accacareers.com/career_centre/international/najihah-khalid-senior-manager-ernst-young-malaysia/

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