Spanish Accounting with digital skills leap frogged this commerce grads career. Don't pursue CA, CPA just because of FOMO!

Spanish Accounting combined with digital skills could leapfrog your career in finance

  • Imagine it's 2025 and you are studying to be a Chartered Accountant or a CPA so that you can be a CFO someday.
  • However, in the near future just having a CA or CPA degree won’t help you make the cut, Shedab Khan realised this while pursuing B. Com.
  • Considering the growth of Latin America (LATAM) and his love to learn new languages, he saw the opportunity for Spanish Accountants.
  • He also equipped himself with tech skills, and programming languages like C++, and Python.

Spanish Accounting

I loved Accounting in school and went on to pursue a Bachelor of Commerce (B.Com) degree. 

If you are from India you will be aware that most commerce students opt for either CA, CPA, or ACCA. I, on the other hand, have always been a little different and was clear that I wanted to stand out in terms of choosing a job role.

I loved learning new languages, and because of that, I researched career opportunities that would require me to know a different language besides English. I discovered that Spanish Accountants were hired in India and they were doing very well.  

I went on to take a 2-year break post-graduation to study Spanish.  

In 2013, I started my career with American Express, as a Senior Financial Analyst, Latin American team. I was responsible for the accounts payable, and reconciliations. 

From India to Spain to Malaysia 

After 2 years at American Express, in 2015 I moved to HCL as a senior Spanish Accountant.

UBS bank was one of our clients, it’s a multinational investment bank and financial services company.

I travelled to Spain and worked there for about 3 months. There I transitioned & stabilized UBS’ Wealth Management business in Madrid, Spain.

Apart from taking care of the Accounts payable process for wealth management & Investment banking entities, I did T&E accounting, Payroll, accounting of IFRS2 Bills, and did an analysis on VAT reports before payment run, among others.

I also performed Internal Accounts Reconciliation on SAP and had daily calls (in Spanish) with the Madrid team to resolve queries.

I worked at HCL for about 3 years. It was a wonderful experience but then I got a job offer from Baker Hughes Malaysia, as a Lead Spanish Statutory Analyst.

Baker Hughes is one of the world's largest oil field services companies. It seemed like a great opportunity for my career, and that's how I decided to move to Malaysia in 2018.

The first few months I worked in the reporting team and then transitioned to the statutory team, focused on Latin America.

Also Read

From an Accounting firm to a Licensed Auditor in Malaysia: How this CA and mother of two took her career to the next level

Leveraging technology to progress in my career in finance

When I started my career, I did not want to be an average person. I have always wanted to be differentiated from others.

I could see that those who joined before me as just finance guys, were not progressing in their careers. That’s why I went a step further and started upskilling myself in Information Technology (IT). I learned to code in python, C, or C++. 

I knew that in this day and age, just being a B. Com graduate or having a CA degree is not enough. If you combine that with tech knowledge, you’d go a long way.

Because of my knowledge of computer programming languages like C and C++, I was able to automate several finance functions at American Express.

There used to be a team of 8 people where we were managing accounts and doing reconciliations for different types of banks, abandoned properties or suspense accounts.

But I took the initiative to automate those tasks, and the team size was reduced to 5.

You can imagine just how many finance functions, at any given time are repetitive and take up unnecessary manpower.

Also, at HCL I automated almost 40 to 50% of their mundane tasks, using my IT skills and python knowledge.

At Baker Hughes also I automated a few tasks. Looking at my work, my boss made me a part of the central team of 130 to observe them, just to develop RPA (Robotic Process Automation) for them.

Back and forth I was just trying to understand the processes of what people were doing.

You will be a little bit shocked but I was able to automate the disclosure notes to accounts.

Everyone there was spending about two weeks preparing one audit, but with the help of 5 to 6 interns under me, we did a pilot project. Then when the software was live, the task that previously took 2 weeks, came down to only half an hour through automation.

From there I got so much recognition and not just in Kuala Lumpur but on a global level.

Afterwards, I was assigned a team of data analysts and started to look at the bigger picture of the organisation. Now my title had finance transformation manager in it. 

I learned MySQL after joining Baker Hughes, acquired more IT skill sets, and got into machine learning. I learned all of this using an online platform, where I don't have to pay so much.

All I do is research more, practice more, and learn more.

Times have changed…Why finance guys have to know tech

You got your CA degree and are good with numbers? But just with those skill sets your brain would not be able to provide ideas, that you can use to bring change.

To bring in finance transformation, you cannot just be a finance person.

I think in the next 5 to 10 years there won't be a job description that says finance person required, or a CA, or CPA is required. What I mean by that is that you cannot survive the future with just those skill sets, you have to be a tech guy.

And in terms of salary, I am making a lot more than several ACCA counterparts. 

In October 2022 I got promoted, yet again! 

I believe progress will come, but only when you bring the change, demonstrate efficiency at work, and people will recognize you.

Increased demand for Spanish Accountants

After a 6-day official visit to Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina India’s External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar commented that Latin America could be a major business hub for India. Also if we look at the collective trade with Latin America, it was approximately $50 billion in 2021.

These factors will create more opportunities for Indians. In 2022 as per Naukri.com many Spanish Accountants have been hired by Quess corp, Accenture, HCL and more MNCs.

Want to give your finance career a boost? Learn Spanish and up your game by learning programming languages. 

Looking at a similar career trajectory as Shedab? Apply for a 1:1 paid mentoring call - Fill in this form.

 

Have a confidential story, tip, or comment you'd like to share?
Contact chantelle@thefinancestory.com in the first instance.

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