INTERVIEW WITH MR ABDUL WASEY KHAN, HONORARY SECRETARY ICMAP

KHALIL AHMED
(feedback@pgeconomist.com)

July 23 - 29, 20
12

PAGE: TELL ME SOMETHING ABOUT YOURSELF:

WASEY KHAN: I qualified with my CMA in 1999, joined KPMG and performed on financial audits, Internal audit assignments and Information system audits. I did my CISA (Certified Information System Auditor) from the USA in 2002, worked at Wazir Ali Industries as Assistant Manager Accounts, and Sui Southern Gas company as Manager Internal Audit from year 2005 to 2007. In 2008, I joined PTCL as Manager internal Audit. I became an associate member of ICMAP in 2004 and was elevated to fellowship in 2011.

I was elected into the Karachi Branch council of ICMAP thrice from 2008 to 2010, and got the highest number of votes in 2009 and 2010. I performed there as Secretary of Karachi Branch Council in 2008 and then again in 2010. I have been elected into the National Council for the term of 2012-14 and given responsibility as Honorary Secretary ICMAP. ICMAP is a professional accounting body with around 4,000 members and 15,000 students at H/O. My tasks include hiring/firing, infrastructure development, education, faculty selection, promotional activities etc. It's a huge responsibility as well as a great learning opportunity to implement the ideas and creativity. I consider myself to be amongst the ones at the helm of affairs of such a prestigious Institute that has a proven history of contributing to the well being of the industry as a whole.

PAGE: YOUR VIEWS ON THE USE OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY AT ICMAP:

WASEY KHAN: There is no second opinion about importance of IT these days. The more your organization is IT enabled, the larger your competitive edge over your competitors. We are very keen to make ICMAP one of the most IT enabled professional accounting institutes in the region, and currently we are working on many fronts: the e-payments just have started; we are working on e-voting software for our members residing abroad, though it requires a secure environment for such data transfer. All ICMAP classrooms are equipped with multimedia, and coaching is done by our esteemed faculty members through the use of many software products. We are rigorously working on enhancing the quality of our website. We want it to be more interactive, more appealing and less cumbersome, and for that purpose we have just hired some web developers in addition to our existing team, and there would be web seminars on the website and many other exciting features in the coming days. We are also installing WIFI at our Head office, so all members and students too would be able to get connected to the web with their laptops and other devices. We have different software for admission, education, finance and examination departments, a project for the integration of all such software is currently underway, and through that all data of students related to all the above functions would be on a single platform and be shared for better analysis and decisions. Moreover, we also have achieved a milestone in the history of the Institute by installing Video/teleconferencing equipment. Now, all our centres at Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Multan and Faisalabad are interconnected through videoconferencing.

We want our members to have complete command over IT. In the past, we conducted seminars on spreadsheets, VBA etc. Observing the increased usage of ERPs in the industry, we are getting trainings conducted for our members on SAP with its registered education partner at a very subsidized fee. We are also in the negotiation process regarding Oracle financials. Our IT team is fully empowered to search for new avenues and recommend them to the National Council for the overall betterment in the running of the Institute, and I believe that in the near future the students and members would experience much more improvement in the Institute related to information system.

PAGE: HOW BENEFICIAL IS THE USE OF TELECONFERENCING IN TERMS OF COST EFFECTIVENESS AND EFFICIENCY AT ICMAP?

WASEY KHAN: Teleconferencing serves many purposes nowadays. Recently we conducted a video seminar with Institute of Cost Accountants of India (ICAI), Dehli. There were 2 speakers each from both the countries, and it was really a memorable event being the 1st of its kind that had only become possible due to installation of teleconferencing equipment at all ICMAP centres, and we plan to conduct many such events with other accounting bodies too in the near future. As we have centres at Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Multan and Faisalabad, more than 200 staff are posted at all these locations looking after day to day working of different departments of the Institute. Earlier, it was impossible for the respective HoDs to conduct meetings of their respective departments with all the team members present resulting in communication gap. Now such meetings are taking place resulting in better communication of ideas, and a clear path to be taken in the light of instructions received. There are many committees comprising members of ICMAP. Our members residing in different cities can't meet as often as necessary. Because of that, we have noticed that such committees couldn't perform at their best. So through teleconferencing though the physical gap remains, the performance of such committees can be enhanced, and when committees perform in a better manner, I believe the cumulative effect is going to be awesome. Moreover even for a 2 or 3 hour meeting, though we move by air, it takes a whole day to and fro. Due to this, mostly national council meetings are scheduled on weekends and the NC members have to sacrifice their weekends, and finally the cost is also a factor. A single meeting costs around half a million rupees. Teleconferencing has given us unlimited advantages.

PAGE: COULD YOU COMMENT ON THE USEFULNESS OF IT BY COST & MANAGEMENT ACCOUNTANTS IN PAKISTAN?

WASEY KHAN: In every industry or rather the walk of life one just cannot afford to remain indifferent to the use of IT. The old days of maintaining ledgers and journals and books on papers are over with the increased use of IT. A decade ago customized software prepared by in house programmers were in vogue but now companies prefer ERPs, e.g. SAP or ORACLE FINANCIALS, a complete solution to all its information, calculation and reporting needs, in material management, purchasing, finance and accounts, human resource management. All functions and processes are now integrated. Our members are well versed in the use of ERPs and many of them are also SAP certified professionals or advanced users of ORACLE FINANCIALS.

Nowadays inter office memos are not even sent on paper, rather e-mailed, and even these days in meetings you have to present your ideas and share your working and conclusions on multimedia. We feel proud that even many of our senior members who have retired from job, are well versed with IT and use e-mails, facebook, twitter and other social networking sites to exchange ideas and remain in touch with the member community.

At ICMAP, IT as well as IT security is part of our syllabus and our students also possess sufficient knowledge of IT and IT security. Moreover, as I have already discussed as part of continuous professional development of our members, we not only develop them in spreadsheets and VBA but currently many of our members are going through a 40 hour rigorous training on SAP by SAP approved education partner. In addition, the planning on training of ORACLE FINANCIALS is underway and we hope that we would be able to get it conducted for members in a month or so.

PAGE : YOUR VIEWS ON USE OF TECHNOLOGY BY FACULTY MEMBERS AT ICMAP:

WASEY KHAN: Currently, the use of IT in general(not IT related) subjects is mostly limited to use of multimedia while conducting classes, i.e. giving lectures with the help of power point presentations, the use of multimedia specially in theoretical subjects help students to note points while listening to their teacher. Further, it helps the students in focusing better on the discussion as visual aid reduces the chances of lecture getting monotonous. Some teachers specially in Finacial accounting or management accounting or financial management go beyond that. As the days of calculating labor rates through calculators with various formulae are over, they use spreadsheets for the solution of annuity, breakeven or cost volume profit analysis. I personally have witnessed a faculty member showing students the use of audit software in conducting audits of the client organizations. While teaching the students how to deliver presentations, some business communication teachers use movie cameras and get the students videotaped, so that they can show the students where they were not performing up to the mark. However the use of technology by faculty members teaching IT related subjects is more. They use many software: some simple ones like MS Office while spreadsheets, data base and some small ERPs to get the students better acquainted with the concepts. However the way I see things shaping up at ICMAP I expect lots of other software, gadgets and equipment to be used at ICMAP in near future

PAGE : HOW WOULD YOU COMMENT ON TELECOM SECTOR OF PAKISTAN?

WASEY KHAN: The telecom sector has progressed at a very rapid pace in the recent past in Pakistan. However the market is almost saturated. I don't see much growth in future and the price war seems to be getting tougher in the future, resultantly the margins would get lower and lower with every passing day as telecom companies are mainly differentiating themselves on price these days, and if such war continues then unless they put special efforts on efficiency and try to cut down their costs, some companies would go out of business or the other option would be merger. I would like to see cellular companies distinguishing themselves on the basis of their services, but no considerable effort or activity has been witnessed so far, except PTCL, a land line based telecom company that is quickly adding new products to its portfolio. When the market gets saturated, distinguishing oneself on the basis of price gets real tough and results in lean growth and lower profits. In such scenario new business models and innovative products/services is the only way a telecom company can experience business growth. Though somehow unrelated, the business model of Apple, the most innovative company in recent times is a real testament of what I have discussed so far.

We management accountants can play a vital role in bringing cost efficiency to a product or service as all our education and experience relates to it. I recommend to telecom companies to hire more management accountants in their finance and accounts departments to achieve better efficiency levels.