Compiled by Pirah Aijaz
Ms. Khursheed Kotwal, is the Founder of ‘Asman International’, a Financial & Management Consultancy Company. She is a Chartered Accountant with a diverse range of experience in the field of business consultancy.
Despite, all her professional commitments, Khursheed still manages to stay on top of her personal and social life.
There is a long list of achievements, to her credit. Fempreneur is delighted to have met her and to learn more about this powerhouse of a woman!
Tell us a bit about yourself and your academic/professional background.
I am double qualified: a Fellow Chartered Accountant & Corporate Secretary. I am an elected Council member of the ICAP (Institute of Chartered Accountants of Pakistan), Chairperson of the Digital Accounting & Assurance Board, I’m on the Board of Governors of the Pakistan Institute of Public Finance Accountants.
I also work as an Independent Director of the Pakistan Micro Finance Network. Initially, after qualifying, I joined Unilever and worked there for 18 years, in a senior leading position. I have been trained in ten countries around the globe & had been selected from South Asia to conduct a study in the UK on the Future of Finance.
Please tell us about Aasman International. How did you get started?
Aasman International is a Financial & Management Consultancy- which I started in 2009 providing world-class advisory services & helping businesses to grow exponentially. We serve clients with a footprint in Pakistan, UAE, Sri Lanka & UK. It was a hard and difficult ride to start from scratch after leaving, a prized job.
Could you please explain what strategies you use to assist businesses in achieving exponential growth?
Every business has its own particular needs. As a Strategic Leader, one has to have a 360-degree understanding of the business & accordingly develop growth and profitability strategies to deliver exponential results.
Businesses need to continuously:
-Know their competition,
-Have a deep understanding of the environment,
-Embrace new technologies & understand the disruptions that impact their businesses.
-They need to adopt best practices at work & be lean and quick in making business decisions.
We help companies in the building, World Class Businesses.
Can you share some of the challenges you faced during your career?
Life is always full of challenges & it is the passion, enthusiasm, and energy that one has to put in to achieve success. The chartered accountancy profession is prestigious but the training was tough & rigorous with very few women accountants in the field, back in 1987.
Breaking the glass ceiling was not easy, because of the traditional norms, and competing with local & internationally trained leaders, was another story, altogether. With commitment and dedication, however, one can achieve one’s dreams while managing a family and a home.
As a woman & mother, your abilities are constantly questioned but if you are resilient and strong you are unstoppable. Winning the elections recently was a formidable task & breaking the mindset barriers was difficult but I have managed to raise the bar.
What milestones have you achieved so far?
The sky is the limit, whatever you set out to achieve can be done with a CAN DO attitude.
• 2022: Most Influential Women In Pakistan.
• 2021: One of the two women elected to lead & regulate the accounting & auditing profession of a premier institution since 1961.
• 2010: First female to have founded a Financial Management Consultancy single-handedly
• 1991-2009: The first female in the largest FMCG to become: The Corporate Finance Director, Chief Auditor, Corporate Controller, Treasurer, Information Security Officer, and Unit Head of Safety Health & Environment. First female to head the Finance function at the factories.
• 1991: When I qualified I was among the first 15 females in Pakistan to become a Chartered Accountant since 1961.
As a professional with broad experience, what have you learned from your journey?
Nothing is impossible; pursue your dreams and set challenging goals. Believe in yourself.
Could you please share some helpful tips for new businesses?
Starting any business is hard and tough. The key thing in starting a new business is creating a ‘niche’, a competitive edge, and a first mover advantage or challenging the market norms through innovation. Research the market before you enter, and understand how people have failed or are making losses. Make sure fixed costs are kept minimal. Cash is King so preserve it.
Please highlight the impact of Digital Technology on entrepreneurship.
We are living in a digital era where the Fourth Industrial Revolution is upon us. Artificial Intelligence, Block Chain, the Internet of Things, Robotic Performance Automation, and Fintech will change the way we work and live. Only those businesses will survive who take a lead in these technologies.
What factors should a newbie, consider before starting a CA?
Your commitment to ensuring that when the tough gets going you do not quit but manage to hang in there. Always seek advice when things do not work out.
What advice would you give to women for women, on choosing a profession or field of business?
Do what you enjoy the most. Select a profession or field that you like best or feel you have a natural flair for.