BDO head of assurance Faheem Hoosen was inspired to become a CA by his entrepreneurial family

Faheem recognised that every business required an accountant and chose to become a CA.

Faheem Hoosen’s father, a businessman, inspired him to become a chartered accountant. “Coming from a family of entrepreneurs and businessmen, I saw it as one of the professions that would allow me to get my hands in any industry. As a CA(SA), you can work in any industry, including construction, medical, and fast-moving consumer goods.”

Faheem was 21 and still at university when he decided to marry at a young age. It was the best decision he’s ever made, he says, because it kept him grounded, focused, and accountable.

“I married in my second year of university and had my first child in my first year of doing articles. My family was my biggest support structure when I was trying to get my CA(SA) qualification, especially my wife, who was my greatest pillar of strength and afforded me the opportunity to focus on my studies and career,” he explains.

Faheem’s journey into finance started out at EY where he did his articles and later became audit manager, and when an opportunity came up at BDO, he wasted no time grabbing it.

As the head of assurance for BDO’s KwaZulu-Natal region, Faheem is in charge of the audit division, which includes 11 partners, 14 managers, and 116 audit trainees. He ensures that the audit division runs smoothly, that clients receive exceptional service, and that risk processes are followed.

“BDO was the biggest mid-tier firm when I joined in 2015, so I looked at the opportunity from a growth perspective. If you are in the auditing profession, the idea or goal is to work towards becoming an audit partner at a firm at some point in your career and this is why the move made sense,” he says.

Faheem describes the merger of BDO and Grant Thornton Durban in 2020 as one of the most exciting projects he has ever been a part of. “Taking the Durban firm from a five-partner business to a 10-partner business in the region is an exhilarating experience. It was also intimidating because we were marrying two similar companies, to bring in different cultures and people as one,” he says.

He is also a results-oriented leader who works quickly but does not impose this on the rest of his team. He believes that if his team has a common vision, that should be enough to get the organisation to where it needs to go.

“I don’t like to micromanage; I just make sure our people are aligned with the company’s strategy and walk them through the journey to meet their own results and career objectives, which is what BDO strives for.”

Throughout his career, Faheem has always considered himself to be his own boss. “I am my own boss, and the clients to whom I have been assigned are my clients. What I’ve tried to emphasise to my staff and colleagues over the years is that if you treat your career as if it were your own business, you will take care of your duties and responsibilities as if they were your own, and perform at the level of a business owner.”

He goes on to say that when people see themselves as the business and their employer as the customer, and keep their employer (customer) happy, that employer will want more from you and appreciate your work ethic, and that is how you will climb the corporate ladder.

Faheem is all too familiar with the realities of this invisible enemy sweeping the world, as he is busy fighting Covid-19. Fortunately, he caught it early, and the symptoms are mild. “My children actually had it first but recovered after a short period of time; now it’s my wife and I who have it, but we’re recovering well,” he says.

Faheem is a cycling enthusiast who has participated in a few Cape Town cycle tours, 947 Ride Joburg and the Amashova Durban Classic. The highlight of his cycling adventures, however, was a week of riding in Dubai with his cycling club. Just before the pandemic hit, he was preparing for his first Two Oceans ultra-marathon.

“I am also involved in a few charities, where we give back to communities and I’ve recently been involved in a KwaZulu-Natal economy restart project to distribute funds to SMMEs who have lost everything due to the recent unrest the country faced in July 2021, to help them start over again.”