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MGI Worldwide's Hina Usmani explains how she beat the odds to become the first female chartered accountant in the family

7th July 2022

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Hina Usmani, Partner at Ilyas Saeed & Co. in Karachi, Pakistan, shares her Words of Wisdom about her extraordinary professional journey, leading the way for female accountants in a traditionally male-dominated profession.

Hello I'm Hina

The odds had always been against me. I was raised in a family where working women were rare. I chose commerce at a time when medicine was considered the first-choice of education for women.

Despite being skeptical of entering a male-dominated profession, I beat those odds and became my father’s pride as the first female, chartered accountant in the entire family.

As one of the very few women in the CA profession in early 90s, I felt like I had to work extra hard and consistently offer my best performance for fear of losing opportunities. After nearly a decade of working and excelling in my career, I left a full-time leadership position mainly due to pressure of balancing both professional and domestic responsibilities.

I established my own sole practice in 2004 and continued remote freelancing at a time when working from home was a rare phenomenon. In 2010 I teamed with a few like-minded women and turned the practice into the first all-women-led quality rated CA practicing firm in Pakistan. This initiative not only uplifts women who have been excluded from the workforce, but also works to uplift small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

At that point I decided to take part in the decision-making and governance of the profession of Chartered Accountancy in Pakistan. I took the lead and was honoured to be elected as the first woman Council member in 2017, and in 2019 elected as the first woman Vice President (VP) of ICAP in its 56-year history. I currently serve as a Council member after my re-election in 2021 and happy to see one more woman joining me on the Council and two on Regional Committees.

Mid 2020 was the time when I joined hands with a local MGI Worldwide affiliated firm Ilyas Saeed & Co. to lead its Karachi operations. This valuable association gave the opportunity to further enhance my professional skills to large and public sector clientele. Today, I am still in the process of learning and progressing. I am grateful for forums like Women Who Lead, which give opportunities for leaders to connect and inspire.

My most valuable piece of advice for you…

Make your way by demonstrating strength and tolerance in your behaviour, do not walk over people to achieve your goals, always stay focused, success is awaiting you!

The best advice I received…

Times will test you. You will be tempted to give up, to stop making an effort, try to find the easy way out. But in all of that, you have to constantly remind yourself to remain positive and ethical at all times.

And, what NOT to do!

Do not look at things from a narrow perspective, instead take a broader view. Do not demotivate yourself with a short-term vision, so the existing boundaries do not limit you. They are yours to break.

Click to open/download Hina Usmani's Words of Wisdom testimonial (PDF).

By celebrating the successes and talent of our female leaders, we hope to inspire positive change throughout the MGI Worldwide network and in the accounting profession. Did you find these Words of Wisdom useful? Please tell us!

Join MGI Worldwide’s Women Who Lead Group to explore opportunities and support the next generation of future leaders of accounting contact maxine.brock@mgiworld.com.


MGI Worldwide with CPAAI, is a top 20 ranked global accounting network and association with almost 9,000 professionals, accountants and tax experts in some 400 locations in over 100 countries around the world. 

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