Articles

How the FPAC Transformed Sultan Mujallid’s Career

  • By Joanne Oh
  • Published: 11/1/2022
How the FPAC Transformed Sultan Mujallid’s Career _Header (750 × 250 px)

As part of our series profiling individual council members, AFP’s Director of FP&A Practice Bryan Lapidus, FPAC, recently sat down with Sultan Mujallid, FPAC, to talk about his 16+ year career journey in FP&A, how the FPAC certification empowered his career, and what he is looking forward to as a member of the AFP Middle East and Africa FP&A Advisory Council

FPAC_Sultan_Mujallid

Bryan: Tell us a bit about your career journey. 

Sultan: I have 16+ years of experience across several companies and industries. I started with Savola Group — a fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) multinational company — as a futures trader in the sugar sector. I really loved the job. I actually started working there during my last year of university study, so I completed the last year of university remotely.  

After graduating from university, I was promoted to futures trading manager (I was 21 years old at the time) and continued in this position until I moved to Hedge Accounts and Risk Management. About a year and a half later, the CFO witnessed high potential in me and asked me to join the finance department as a costing and financial analysis manager. I accepted the challenge and performed very well in that position for almost five and a half years, then I was promoted to FP&A manager and continued in that position for three years.  

After more than 12 years at Savola Group, I moved to another FMCG company related to frozen products and honey products. I worked as a finance manager there for two years from 2018 to 2020. During this time in 2019, I successfully passed and earned the FPAC certification. I consider it one of the biggest achievements of my career and professional journey. 

My next job was at a healthcare company as a financial controller, and then I was headhunted to be the head of FP&A at Saudi Air Navigation Services, my current company (semi-government), where I have been since 2021 

Bryan: Why did you pursue the FPAC, and how has it helped you since? 

Sultan Mujallid_FPAC Sultan: Because my career has been purely related to FP&A since 2009, I wanted to be certified in the FP&A field. So, I did a benchmarking analysis on what would be the best certification to boost my career and enhance my knowledge of FP&A, and my decision was the FPAC. 

I can say that I have witnessed a huge exposure of knowledge that has been applied to my career. The FPAC has greatly empowered my resume and career. I was one of the first professionals among my peers who earned the FPAC, and it has made me shine because of the huge exposure of knowledge that has been applied to my daily work. 

The FPAC has also made me attractive to headhunters for big companies. Before the FPAC, I had been offered positions by some companies, but they were lower-level roles. Now, the offers are more frequent, and the positions offered and the companies are bigger. That is how I came to my current employer! 

Before, when I went into interviews, I often didn’t reach the offer stage. After getting the FPAC, I was very confident because my knowledge had increased and I began getting more offers. I can say that it has increased my confidence as a professional FP&A candidate. 

Stand out as a strategic business partner with an understanding of the entire business. Learn how the FPAC can boost your career.

Bryan: You earned your FPAC about three years ago. What are you doing now to keep your skills fresh and sharp? 

Sultan: I’m attending lots of the AFP webinars, and last year, I attended two seminars — one on communication skills and one on forecasting. I’m also using the AFP Exam Prep Platform [the study material for the FPAC exam], videos and articles, and reading FP&A guides. I’m very active on LinkedIn, so I see posts there and changes and am following the FP&A industry. 

Bryan: What led you to become involved with the Middle East and Africa FP&A Advisory Council? 

Sultan: Being part of the council is very important to me; I consider it one of my dreams come true! For me personally, I’m very happy to join highly educated peers. It is an honor and I look forward to making a positive contribution on advancing FP&A practices. I would also like to be involved in the process of creating guides and providing feedback there. And making connections with the professional members of the council and learning from their experiences can help all of us advance in our careers. 

Also, it is great exposure for me in terms of my professional life. When I joined the council, I shared the news with my CFO, my manager. He shared it with my team, the directors, the chiefs and the CEO, and they all congratulated me. The corporate communication team published the news on LinkedIn and will publish it in internal company’s newsletter, which I consider to be very high appreciation. I am being saluted by the company to share and congratulate the company’s most valuable assets; I am proud to be part of this great company! Being on the council showed that I am one of the top talents at my company and that I joined a top class of peers advancing the profession. 

Bryan: Going back to the topic of work, what is your focus these days? 

Sultan: We are working on the budget from August through December. For the aviation sector specifically, it has been very challenging to construct, taking into consideration the inflation of cost and maintaining sustainable profitability level. The past three years have been abnormal due to the pandemic, so we have disruption in historical trend information, and we have incurred losses and faced challenges in cash management.  

We have an additional challenge in cost inflation. We have invested in advanced technologies that create safer, better experiences, but have increased our cost basis. At the same time, we had to cut discretionary costs over the past three years when airline traffic was so low. Now we are trying to add back some of the corporate social responsibility activities and discretionary spending.  

The AFP Future of Finance event in Cairo, December 2-3, 2022, brings together field pioneers to enhance us with knowledge, keep us informed with market updates, and pave the way for a vision of where the future of finance is heading. Learn more. 

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