Dato’ Mohammad Faiz Azmi

Other
Executive Chairman
Dato’ Mohammad Faiz Azmi studied Bachelor of Arts at Durham University and obtained accreditation from Council for Legal Education in 1985.

Qualifications
BA, Durham University, 1984; Council for Legal Education, 1985

Professional association memberships Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW); Malaysian Institute of Certified Public Accountants (MICPA); Malaysian Institute of Accountants (MIA); Association of Chartered Islamic Financial Professionals (ACIFP)

Getting started
I pursued law in Durham and finished as a barrister at Lincoln Inn. A chance encounter with one of my father’s friends opened my eyes to the world of business and I decided to become a chartered accountant. My first job was at Touche Ross & Co. in London in a manufacturing audit group, and later I moved on to financial services. I moved onto Pricewaterhouse Malaysia in 1993 as a senior manager in the financial services group and was made Partner at the age of 33.

The turning point
I owe my success to hard work, a supportive wife, my guardian’s intervention, some luck, and various mentors. To complement the above,I believe it’s important to persevere. A career has its ups and downs and it’s important to keep battling through. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

Career highlights
My biggest achievement so far has to be becoming Executive Chairman of PwC Malaysia! I was the leader for PwC’s Global Islamic Finance Team from 2007 to 2012 and was also previously Financial Services Leader for Malaysia. In my career, I have also been the joint leader of the Malaysian Assurance practice and led specialist units in financial risk areas and Islamic Finance. I currently have 28 years of experience in audit, business advisory and a number of consulting projects.

Advice for graduates
Having mentors is crucial as it helps in your development and gives you the opportunity to bounce-off ideas with a senior while having someone to watch your back. I also believe in finishing what you start, giving it your all and trying everything once. I notice the younger employees are choosy about their assigned tasks but in my experience, you learn more from difficult assignments than easy ones. Finally, I also believe in being ethical no matter how difficult. It is so hard to gain a reputation and it is so easy to lose it.

Key skills for future leaders
Communication skills are key and it’s a common misconception that accountants only need to be good at numbers. In this profession, the ability to communicate, to influence, to negotiate and to deliver is vital! I would also think business acumen or the awareness of how businesses work needs to be developed much earlier in your career. Accounts and the company finances don’t exist in a vacuum. Take the opportunity to learn as much about the business as you can. Even the worst jobs have something to teach you.