Zara Naeem Dar made a world record by achieving the first position among 527,000 ACCA students of 179 countries. Now she intends to serve the nation by starting her own consultancy firm.
In an exclusive interview with the Truth International, she talks about her motivation to pursue ACCA, her studying style, and future goals – and just about everything from gaining overnight fame to inspiring young high achievers to hold onto their dreams. Given below is an abridged transcript of the conversation with the new young face of the world of Accountancy.
TTI: First of all, what was your motivation behind opting for ACCA?
ZND: There were two main inspirations that made me opt for ACCA. The first was obviously my interest in the subject Accountancy and the second one was the global mobility that ACCA has to offer. In terms of working, the movement is quite flexible and you are not bound to restrict yourself to one geography and that is what made me go for this field.
TTI: How do you feel about the overwhelming response from all across Pakistan on your achievement?
ZND: I feel truly blessed and extremely happy because of the positive response I am getting from across Pakistan and from other parts of the world too. I have become a source of inspiration for people and I feel that it is one of my greatest achievements.
TTI: During preparation for exams, what studying techniques do you usually opt for?
ZND: When I am preparing for my exams, what I usually do is I always go over the text first. I go over the syllabus thoroughly and then I move to the practice questions and then come back to any question I get stuck onto. I usually go over that topic and work on those questions again. I keep switching back and forth between questions and texts so I can cover everything and leave nothing out.
TTI: People dream of becoming known in their field. Did you ever have any such dream?
ZND: Even before choosing Accountancy, I always had a dream that whichever field I choose for myself, I wanted to excel in it and wanted to be known for it, not only in Pakistan but internationally too. I think it’s a huge achievement for me that I have gotten that recognition now.
TTI: What is that one subject that you like and one subject that you hate the most?
ZND: One subject that I like would be definitely Finance, which includes Financial Reporting and Financial Account- ing since I love to play with these numbers. I would not say that I hate any subject because I have a trick to not hate subjects and I find it slightly weird. Whenever I find a subject that is difficult to understand, I spend more time on it, so I start hating it a bit less. So there is no subject that I really hate.
TTI: What are the common problems ACCA students come across while passing all thirteen exams?
ZND: From what I have seen, the most common problem that ACCA students come across is that they lack motivation. Some of them feel demotivated if they fail once, which should not be the case. They need to have a positive attitude about their mistakes and learn from them for better decision-making in the future to pass the exam.
TTI: In our country, people tend to choose Medical or engineering subjects over everything else. Why did you choose ACCA?
ZND: I have never been fond of becoming a doctor, even though it’s a great profession. I could never picture myself as an engineer or a doctor since I have always seen myself as a businesswoman or someone working in business industry, which is the reason I chose Accounting.
TTI: Your Instagram tells us that you love experimenting with makeup. Is it a hobby or just time pass?
ZND: Makeup is definitely a hobby and a side profession for me. I get really inspired by many international makeup artists and also hope to reach their level one day if Allah permits. For now, it’s just a hobby for me but I do take clients whenever I find the time.
TTI: How do you balance your life as an excelled student and a makeup artist?
ZND: I believe that whatever you do in life, you need to create some sort of balance. Whether your interest is in makeup, games, sports, or anything else, you should always prioritize creating balance. For me, I try to balance my life in a way that when it’s time for studying, I focus on my studies solely for 2 to 3 hours straight. Then if I have to do makeup, I’ll focus solely on makeup for whatever time it requires and that’s how I divide my time and balance my work.
TTI: How has been your experience as a social media user with a public account?
ZND: So far, my experience with social media has been really great. I have received so much love and prayers from all the people in Pakistan and outside. I feel that there are very few fortunate people who don’t get a lot of hate on social media and I consider myself lucky enough to be amongst those few people.
TTI: Do you feel social media is working as a deterrent for the young generation?
ZND: Social media has its own pros and cons. No one can live without social media because the entire world is there. So one needs to be active on social media to know what’s going on around the world. I also believe that excess of everything is bad and this goes for the students too. If you are using social media excessively, it can’t be good for you.
TTI: What is your message for all those going in the Accountancy field?
ZND: To all the people going into the Accountancy field, I want to say that this field is not going to be easy and it’s definitely not a piece of cake, so one should be mentally prepared for the hardship it will throw at you. If one is motivated and hardworking enough, then they are going to love it and also love the process of studying hard for it. One should only enter the field of accountancy if one is determined, well-motivated, and has an interest in the subject.
TTI: Would you like to tell us about your future plans?
ZND: After I complete my ACCA and Articleship, I will Insha Allah start my own consultancy firm here in Pakistan where I would want to implement international best practices and take the firm to the international standards so that it can really benefit my country.