INTERVIEW WITH MR AHMAD SULEMAN ZAHID, C.E.O. CORPORATE GENERAL SOLUTIONS (PVT) LTD.

KHALIL AHMED
(feedback@pgeconomist.com)
Nov 19 - 25, 2012

PAGE: TELL ME SOMETHING ABOUT YOURSELF AND YOUR COMPANY, PLEASE?

AHMAD SULEMAN ZAHID: I was born in Faisalabad, Pakistan, on December 4, 1978. My Father, Mr. Suleman Zahid Jamil is a Chartered Accountant by Profession and Fellow member of The Institute of Chartered Accountants Pakistan (ICAP) and Pakistan Institute of Public Finance Accountants (PIPFA) and me also. He started practice, in the name of Zahid Jamil & Co (www.zahidjamilco.com), Chartered Accountants, in 1971 as first CA Firm in Faisalabad, Pakistan. Now Firm has four branches in Lahore, Faisalabad, Islamabad and Karachi and working as independent member firm of Prime Global (www.primeglobal.net).

I did matriculation from Divisional Public School, Faisalabad, Pakistan, in 1994, F.Sc (Intermediate Pre-Engineering) from Government College, (G.C University now) Faisalabad, Pakistan in 1996. In 1997, I started my Professional Career as student of ICAP. In 1999, after completing CA-Inter and Bachelors of Commerce from Punjab University, I started CA Articles Training, from Zahid Jamil & Co, Chartered Accountants, and completed in 2003. Till 2005, I worked as Manager - Audit & Assurance there. Now, I am working as C.E.O of Corporate General Solutions (Pvt) Ltd (CGS) and Director of Zahid Jamil & Co.

CGS was originally started in 1995 in the name of Zahid Jamil Associates (Pvt) Ltd. Its whole business was transformed in new name of Corporate General Solutions (Pvt) Ltd. in 2005. CGS is a Management & Information Systems Consulting company having vision of providing all types of professional services, under one roof, which any business or non-business organization needs. CGS strength comprises of more than 50 professionals of different domains, including 10 executives, in four cities of Lahore, Faisalabad, Islamabad and Karachi. Its team comprises of CAs, ACCAs, Public Finance Accountants, CISAs, MBAs, LLBs and MCS, etc. Key players of CGS have working experience in various sectors of industry as CFOs, Manager HR, Manager IT and Software Development, Manager Audit, Assurance & Risk Advisory, Manager MIS, Bankers and Educational Experts etc.

At CGS we provide Enterprise Risk & Performance Management Services, Enterprise Resource Planning & Enterprise Wide Systems Services, Financial Advisory, Corporate & Taxation Advisory, Human Resource Consulting, Quality Management Certifications, Business Process Outsourcing and Business Development Services etc. Further details can be seen on our official website www.cgs.com.pk. Many other professional services are in our pipeline.

We are in continuous process of introducing more service lines and domain experts in our team, by the grace of Allah. Our vision is to make CGS one of the best and largest consulting firms of the world, with help of All Mighty Allah. In my opinion it will be possible because our vision of Leadership, team building and delegation of power and resources and with intension of Professional due care, integrity, honesty and handwork in our assignments.

PAGE: HOW DOES ERP HELP BUSINESSES GROW?

AHMAD SULEMAN ZAHID: There is common misunderstanding in Pakistan about ERP that it is software. ERP is in fact a concept of MIS (Management Information System) which follows best practices of that business and helps Strategic Level Management in Planning & Decision making about optimum utilization of resources of a business i.e. Material Resource, Machine Resource, Human Resource and Financial Resource. Every MIS is not ERP just like every car is not BMW or Mercedes Benz or Roles Royce. Conversion of ordinary MIS into ERP requires lot of efforts in which every human resource, strategic management, SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures), Software and Hardware (IT) plays very important role. It requires complete re-engineering of existing business processes (BPR), cultural change and drastic change in thoughts of key players and managers.

Growth of every business is directly related to high profitability (performance management), effective financial planning and management (both short term & long term) and feasible investment decisions from technical, marketing and financial aspects. So key element is effective planning and efficient decision making, by Strategic Management, which is not possible without timely, reliable and accurate information and ERP helps in gaining such information.

PAGE: YOUR VIEWS ON OUTSOURCING:

AHMAD SULEMAN ZAHID: At present, every business organization wants competitive advantage over others in terms of low cost, quality of products and services, efficient delivery of products & services, market information & access and customer relationship management etc. Outsourcing or BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) is playing very important role, now, in order to meet above the objective of competitive advantage. Varieties of services are being outsourced now in order to seek high quality services from expert professionals at very low cost and to avoid fixed staff cost and legal requirements of labour laws of a country. These services include Call Center Services (inbound or outbound), Data Entry, Payroll, Accounting & Book Keeping, Business Development & Marketing, and Market Surveys, Software & Web Development and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) etc. Nowadays, lots of companies are seeking software development, call center and data entry services around the globe. In our neighbor country, India, these service sectors have been developed in the form of industries, generating foreign remittance and playing important role in economic growth of their country. In think that these days call center industry is bigger than Bollywood Industry in India. Most of IT Human Resources are coming back to India by leaving their jobs from foreign countries and IT has become one of the biggest industries in India. Most of companies in the world are outsourcing theses services from India. All this happened because of Implementation of effective and long term planning and policies of Indian Government. Pakistani companies and individuals are also providing these IT and IT related services to foreign companies but unfortunately these sectors have not been developed in the form of industries due to lack of attention by Pakistani Government. Pakistani Government as well as private sector can generate lot of foreign revenue and employment opportunities within the country by giving attention to these industries and providing technical education & training to our students so that they can become capable to work in these sectors.

PAGE: GIVE YOUR COMMENTS ON TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT:

AHMAD SULEMAN ZAHID: In every field, occupation or profession, training & development plays a vital role in high quality performance of professionals, technicians and other human resources there. In think, it is one of reasons behind success of developed countries that they have given so much importance to technical & professional education along with training & development of their technicians and professionals which is essential part of their qualification i.e. they cannot get degree or certification without practical experience. Even one cannot get driving license without proper education and training. Most of successful multinational companies give so much importance to Human Resource Development & Training and they make lot of investments for development of their human capital. They do it with a belief that skilled and trained human resource is most valuable asset of their company and they try to retain him with the help of structured HR policies and procedures, which ensure complete employer and employee satisfaction. In Pakistan, unfortunately, this area is still ignored. Most of our educational institutions are just producing degree or certificate holders without proper education, training and technical knowledge, which is required by job market. I personally found many B.A pass students unemployed but I never found any person unemployed who is not even Matric pass but he has some technical skill and training e.g. electricians, plumbers, carpenters, AC & refrigerator technicians, software developers, graphic designers, textile designers or IT technicians etc. Most of our companies and business entrepreneurs, in Pakistan, still do not realize importance of training and development of their human resource. Even they do not believe that trained human resources are their assets. They do not feel it necessary to conduct in house training sessions of staff and labour and orientations of their executives. It is one of reasons for poor development and growth of our economy and business entities also. There is need for long term and consistent planning for bringing change in overall thinking and culture of our country.

PAGE: WHAT SHOULD BE THE ROLE OF PROFESSIONAL ACCOUNTANTS FOR REVIVAL OF PAKISTAN ECONOMY?

AHMAD SULEMAN ZAHID: The term Professional Accountant means any person who is member of a Professional Accounting Body. In Pakistan we have Chartered Accountants (CAs), Cost & Management Accountants (CMAs), ACCAs and Public Finance Accountants (PIPFA). The dynamic process of revival of Pakistan Economy demands Professional Accountant's skills and services both in the sphere of macro and micro economics. There are many areas in which Professional Accountants in developed countries have played vital role in development and growth of their economy. Many of those Professional Accountants may be Pakistani working in these countries. Areas in which they can play important role include:

Good Corporate Governance, Fighting against Corruption, illegal practices & lack of transparency, Effective Accountability, Safeguarding Public Interest.
Revival & Development of Capital Market.
Direct Foreign Investment and repatriation of Pakistani Capital.
Bank Defaults.
Rehabilitation of sick units.
Privatisation, Corporate Sector Development, Corporatization of Agriculture sector.
Financial Sector Development
Micro Credit
Islamic Banking & Finance
Mobilization of middle and small enterprises and informal sector for economic growth.
Improving Government Accounting
Tax reforms and effective taxation and resource mobilization.
Efficient and Effective tax collection system etc.

The misfortune is that the role of Professional Accountant in the revival of the Economy has not been properly understood and appreciated, particularly in developing countries like Pakistan. However in Pakistan we have seen in past that Professional Accountants played important role in above areas as Finance Minister, Chairman Federal Board of Revenue or Chief Minster etc.

PAGE: YOUR VIEWS ON MANAGEMENT CONSULTING & PROFESSIONAL ACCOUNTING SERVICES IN PAKISTAN:

AHMAD SULEMAN ZAHID: In Pakistan Professional Accounting Education and Training has grown up to highest quality and its standard is not less than any International Education. Alhamdulillah, our Professional Accountants and Management Consultants are competing with, Accountants and Consultants of other countries, within or outside Pakistan. Unfortunately, foreign countries and companies are getting benefits from high quality services of our Professional Accountants and Management Consultants whereas large sector Pakistani corporate, non-corporate and public sector is still not getting maximum benefit from these professionals. They treat them just like typical conventional accountants "munchis" not as CFOs and Directors. That's why they have to work abroad or search for clients in foreign countries.