Deloitte Brunei, transcending boundaries and progressing forward with first lady partner

Aziz Idris

When children choose what to be when they grow up, they often follow in their parents’ footsteps. This too was same for 34-year-old Dayangku Hajah Siti Khadijah binti Pengiran Haji Moksin, who is a partner at leading accounting firm, Deloitte Brunei.

After completing her ‘A’ Level in Brunei, she pursued the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) certification programme under His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam’s Government scholarship through the Ministry of Education (MoE).

“I realised I was good at accounting, and I liked it. It’s something I never would have thought would ever happen. I guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree,” she chimed.

As the eldest of five siblings, Khadijah believes she should continue her father’s legacy as a professional accountant and follow what her father did but always strive to do better.

“My father was my biggest role model, and I always wanted to continue his work as an accountant in the future and here I am achieving that goal,” said Khadijah.

Dayangku Hajah Siti Khadijah binti Pengiran Haji Moksin. PHOTO: DELOITTE BRUNEI

“The ACCA is a global body for professional accountants. Not many Bruneians pursue this career path but I was encouraged by my late father to get certified and be a licensed accountant,” she explained.

Once she received the certification from a United Kingdom (UK)-based university, Khadijah started her career with Deloitte Brunei in 2009 as an Audit Assistant and was ultimately admitted as a Partner in June 2019.

Since joining the firm, she has seen the firm grow from 30 people to a whopping 70 staff within a span of 10 years, nine of whom are Consulting analysts working regionally supporting the Southeast Asia Consulting practice.

“These nine Bruneians are currently based in the country but travel to support engagements around Southeast Asia. It is necessary to operate through this model given the small size of the Brunei economy and a tremendous way to accelerate capacity building from the varied exposure in the region. We are looking to build on the successes of the last cohort of recruits and expand the recruitment of more locals in the Audit and Assurance business to serve clients in and beyond Brunei.

“We have received approval from our regional leadership to make this a reality,” said Khadijah.

In June last year, she became the first local female to be admitted as a Partner with Deloitte Brunei and was the first female Bumiputera to be granted a Practicing License by His Majesty’s Government.

“I am so grateful and thankful to His Majesty’s Government for the investment in me to become a qualified accountant and the trust in granting me the Public Accountant license. I now look forward to using the Deloitte platform to grow the skills sets of the many locals in our Brunei firm to enable them to work regionally in the Southeast Asia and Asia Pacific firms and hopefully, even globally.

“I hope I will be a role model for the many young Bruneians to seek a future in the private sector.

“There are plenty of opportunities in the private sector, especially when you join a global organisation such as Deloitte,” she said.

She is very thankful that the firm accepted and provided support to a young female partner in what traditionally used to be male-dominated field.

“Here at Deloitte, we believe in diversity and inclusion and the firm is very much driven by giving women equal opportunities to pursue leadership roles. It is up to us to convert those opportunities to reality,” she explained.

Since assuming the role, she has travelled extensively to attend and participate in the many regional and global events held by Deloitte.

She has met her peers, consulting professionals, industry experts, and successful alumni to discuss the importance of becoming a leader in today’s working world.

“We are a diverse group of people with different ideas and personalities. It really broadens the mind,” she added.

But what she always enjoyed even after a decade working at Deloitte, is the thrills of gaining insights from different businesses.

Throughout her career with Deloitte, Khadijah has been involved in providing audit and assurance services for local and multinational clients in various industries such as GLCs, Islamic Banking and Finance, ICT, Automobiles, Construction and many more.

With over 10 experience behind her now, she can appreciate the frustrations of many graduates not able to get in the job market due to the lack of experience and hope that organisations will have the courage to provide opportunities to individuals and firms in Brunei to acquire the experience so that eventually, Brunei will have a highly skilled populace to compete against the best in the region and eventually globally.

“It is going to be a long journey but every journey begins with a single step,” said Khadijah.

Khadijah describes her job as “a people’s job” while there is a very strong culture at Deloitte built on a set of core beliefs.

“(At Deloitte) there is constant availability of opportunities to grow and change as an individual, personally and professionally,” she added.

Another highlight of her career was in May 2019, when she was appointed the President of Brunei Darussalam Institute of Certified Public Accountants (BICPA).  Previously she held the vice president’s post.

BICPA is an organisation that supports and advances the status and interests of the accountancy profession in line with the aims and objectives of His Majesty’s Government.

At its 175th anniversary, Deloitte is the largest professional services provider in the world. Its name is the oldest in the industry. It has been a pioneer in nearly every aspect of professional services. And it continues to grow, with record aggregate member firm revenue of USD46.2 billion in FY 19, and more than 300,000 professionals across Deloitte, who are help ing to meet clients’ needs in the emerging Fourth Industrial Revolution.