Written by Staff Writer
Despite only finishing his articles in 2016, Imtiyaaz Abdul-Gaffuris finds himself as WesBank’s CFO for central reporting and chief of staff to the CEO for FNB in the rest of Africa.
In a CFOTalks podcast, Imtiyaaz unpacked what drew him to accounting, how his articles didn’t kill him but indeed made him stronger, and the benefits of international experience.
Finance is in Imtiyaaz’s blood
Imtiyaaz’s dad never foresaw that he would end up in accounting, despite being a third-generation finance professional.
“I was in matric, and I always used to look at the careers section in the newspaper and something that popped to me at that point was Chief Financial Officer,” Imtiyaaz told the podcast.
“When I thought about debits and credits it makes sense, it’s logical, that element is what drew me to finance. I always liked helping people, and I felt that if I went into finance, I would get an element of that.”
Early challenges build character and can set you apart
Imtiyaaz admits that his article days, which he spent at Deloitte Africa, were challenging. But also an opportunity to grow.
“I remember having to learn how to code during that time, very basic coding though, because of large data sets that we needed to run and that for me was a challenge because we are not trained as accountants in terms of coding and big data.
“That was an initial challenge, but I also saw it as an opportunity to say ‘how will I use this skill set to diversify myself’.”
On the benefits of working abroad
Early on in his career, Imtiyaaz had the opportunity to work in Ireland and Luxembourg. He later spent time working in Mozambique and believes this experience is useful for aspirant CFOs.
“I personally can attest to that in terms of being exposed to different people, different cultures, just to different ways of working, looking at different executives in different countries and how they operate and learning from their leadership styles.
“So if someone is presented with an opportunity, please pursue the opportunity, obviously see that it makes sense for you and that the environment suits you, and I’m sure you’ll do exceptionally well.”
You can listen to the full podcast with Imtiyaaz Abdul-Gaffuris or read the transcript here.