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Women in Risk Advisory: 5 things to know about Faiza Qureshi

After only a year of working here, Faiza Qureshi has made her mark: both at Deloitte and in the field of risk. A Risk Advisory manager in Deloitte South Asia, Faiza specializes in accounting and internal controls — combining her quantitative acumen and financial reporting experience with a passion for interacting with people and solving business challenges.

As Deloitte honoyrs its Women in Risk Advisory, here are five things to know about Faiza:

1. Faiza loves the breadth of opportunities in risk

In Faiza’s line of work, no two days are the same… and that’s a very good thing!

“The versatility of risk attracts me,” Faiza explains. “There’s not just one direction to pursue. For example, I can work in audits, financial reporting, transformation, and automation. And we recently established an offering around controllership, accounting, and reporting. I’m engaged in that as well — building management information systems that meet CEOs’ and CFOs’ needs and drive decision-making.”

Faiza continues: “So there’s not just one thing that excites me about Risk Advisory; there are many!” In addition to the varied day-to-day activities, she also enjoys opportunities for business travel and her interactions with colleagues and clients across the globe.

But Faiza didn’t always know she’d end up in risk. A chartered accountant and certified public accountant (CPA), Faiza had spent more than a dozen years in financial planning and analysis roles in the manufacturing sector before taking a job at Deloitte last year.

“Switching from my industry background to consulting was a very big thing from a career point of view,” Faiza says. “I didn’t know whether I’d succeed or not. But the journey has been beautiful, and I’ve learnt many things. I’m still learning! And I’ve really transformed here. I used to call myself a financial professional, but nowadays, I call myself a business professional.”

2. Faiza is (literally!) synonymous with success

Faiza is a female Arabic name that means “successful” and “victorious” — very apt in Faiza’s case.

“I’m grateful to my parents for choosing that name,” she says. (Though we think Faiza would have made her own luck anyway!)

Faiza speaks four languages — Arabic, English, Hindi, and Urdu — which is a boon as she works with clients across the globe, who are often most comfortable when a partner speaks their language.

“I understand their working environment, the culture in which they work, and the kinds of issues they face,” Faiza says. “I’m involved in a wide range of activities, working right from the ground level to provide the most appropriate and customised solutions.”

And Faiza has rapidly made an impact at Deloitte, with her work acknowledged at many levels: both within Deloitte and across client environments.

A recent feat, according to Faiza, was finishing an IP automation and testing project with a multinational telecommunications company. This involved extensive work across the company’s global offices — in Germany, Spain, the UK, the U.S., and so on — with Faiza compiling, reviewing, testing, and submitting the IPs to an external auditor.

“The auditor wasn’t able to find a single error in the work I submitted,” Faiza says. “Then, my client delivered a presentation about that work in front of the global head of his business. My client acknowledged and congratulated me, and he said, ‘Her delivery on this job was very much commendable.’”

“When people in your organisation recognise you, of course it’s great,” Faiza continues. “But when a client does this — especially in front of the global head of the business — then you’re on Cloud Nine!”

Faiza encourages other women to chase success too — stretching themselves and pursuing their goals.

“Women often underestimate their talent,” she says. “But it’s very important to be confident, and to know that whatever you’re pursuing, and whatever field you’re working in, you can be the best. When women recognise their worth and skills, and showcase them, then they can face any challenges on the job.”

She also advises young professionals to focus on their career paths, with an eye toward longevity in their roles and organisations.

“Today, many people hop from one job to another. Across companies, attrition levels are quite high,” she says. “Working isn’t just about adding companies to your résumé. So, I encourage young people to really decide and focus on their priorities. And don’t make career changes lightly. Everything in life teaches you something new, so approach opportunities with openness, focus, and determination.”

3. She is passionate about positive organisational culture

“In any organisation, I think culture is the basis on which we work,” Faiza says. “It’s the spoken and unspoken behaviours and mindsets that define how a business functions. It certainly includes the mission, objectives, values and leadership and employee expectations.”

According to Faiza, building a strong organisational culture can help companies provide consistent experiences, guide decisions and actions, fuel workflows and bridge a company’s current state with its vision and potential.

Faiza cites the saying by Peter Drucker, management consultant, educator and author, that culture eats strategy for breakfast.

“It means that if the environment you’re working in isn’t healthy, then regardless of the strategy you build for the organisation, it won’t succeed,” she says. “That’s why organisational culture is critical.”

She appreciates the environment, culture and opportunities at Deloitte, which have given her room to grow.

“The inclusion and diversity I’ve seen here are tremendous,” Faiza says. “And in Risk Advisory, you can really work in any industry, with any type of client. Employees are able to choose whether they work on long-term or short-term projects and whether they work on projects with flexible hours — based on their personal lives and needs. For those with childcare responsibilities, that’s especially helpful.”

4. Faiza is in-the-know on telecom trends

After more than a dozen years in the manufacturing sector, Faiza has carved out a niche working with telecom clients at Deloitte.

“I’m really enjoying it,” she says. “I’m attracted to things that are challenging because if you don’t face challenges, you can’t grow at the speed you want to. And it’s that growth — coming out of your comfort zone and accepting challenges that, at first, might not seem achievable —that really motivates me.”

Telecom companies face many challenges themselves, Faiza notes, operating in a volatile, dynamic and highly regulated market with rapidly evolving risks and technologies. They turn to Deloitte for customised and holistic solutions to execute on their priorities, with environmental, social and governance (ESG) being a big one, according to Faiza.

And when it comes to risk mitigation and management, Faiza says, telecom companies also look to address a wide range of compliance, strategic, financial, operational and third-party risks — as well as cyberthreats introduced by rapid digitalisation.

“Across the categories of risks, we employ regulated controls and seek to identify and minimise revenue leakage,” Faiza says.

5. Faiza doesn’t just run risk mitigation projects… she runs marathons too!

Faiza works hard at her job — and outside of it. She’s passionate about fitness: including Zumba, dance, cycling and more. And she’s learning scuba diving too!

Every year, she also participates in the Run Bhopal Run marathon in India — to be held Dec. 4 this year.

“A healthy body nurtures a healthy mind, I believe that when people are happy and healthy, they come to work rejuvenated and focussed. And when I’m refreshed, I’m more motivated to do my best work” says Faiza.

View Deloitte’s Women in Risk Advisory series.