Md. Sohel Rana ACA, ACCA, CFC
Chief Financial Officer
As a passionate finance professional, Mr. Sohel Rana completed the most prestigious global accountancy qualification ACCA in March 2020 and CA from ICAB in December 2021. He is also a member of the Institute of Financial Consultants (IFC)-USA. He has completed his Chartered Accountancy articleship from a renowned CA firm in Bangladesh named Masih Muhith Haque & Co., a member firm of RSM International Network.
Before joining CA, Mr. Sohel completed HND (Higher National Diploma) in Financial Accounting from Edexcel (UK) with a Distinction grade. He is also a business graduate, completed BBA major in Finance from IBAIS University. After completing his CC period, he started his career with countries Leading Pre-Fabricated Steel Building Manufacturer, PEB Steel Alliance Limited (PEBSAL) and working here in a managerial position for almost 5 years and played a key role in turning financial discipline as well as financial management of the company.
Currently, Mr. Sohel is working at Hosaf Group of Companies as a Group CFO and looks after the overall Accounts and Financial management as well as new business development of the group concerns to achieve the corporate objectives. Hosaf Group is one of the pioneer business conglomerates in Bangladesh, having business specialization in the Power sector, Electric meter, Light Engineering, Asset Management, Transportation and Logistics.
Let’s explore his exquisite journey:
The InCAP: Mr. Sohel Rana, we are keen to know about your career peregrination.
Md. Sohel Rana: It gives me the utmost joy to tell you all about my current professional career adventures. Currently, I am working at Hosaf Group of Companies as a Group Chief Financial Officer and joined here in November 2021. Prior to joining Hosaf Group, I began my career with PEB Steel Alliance Limited (PEBSAL) in 2017, a leading manufacturer of Pre-fabricated steel buildings in Bangladesh and worked here in different capacities in the Accounts and Finance department for almost 5 years.
I was incredibly passionate about the Chartered Accountancy degree and its distinguished social position prior to the beginning of my undergraduate life. Before publishing my HSC result in 2011, I made the decision not to go for conventional academic qualifications and started to search for alternative professional qualifications. In that year, I got admitted for HND (Higher National Diploma) in Financial Accounting offered by Edexcel, UK under the School of Accounting and Finance Studies (SAFS). HND is a level 5 global academic qualification of the UK, and that was a unique route to take entry into ACCA qualification.
After completing my HND qualification in 2013, I took the opportunity to join a reputed CA firm, Masih Muhith Haque & Co, (currently, a member firm of RSM International Network-World 6th largest accounting network) under the direct supervision of a renowned Chartered Accountant Mr. Mohammed Forkan Uddin FCA (Mr. Uddin is currently the Managing Partner of MM Rahman & Co, Chartered Accountants). In the same year, I got admitted for ACCA and ICAB qualifications in parallel.
This was one of the most challenging decisions in my life, as I had to continue the stringent education and training for 2 (two) toughest professional degrees at the same time. This was not all of it. After a year, I was also took admission to a private University to complete my graduation in the Business discipline.
After a protracted journey and relentless hardworking, finally, I completed my ACCA qualification in March 2020 and my ICAB qualification in December 2021.
Please tell us about the Hosaf Group and your current responsibilities here! How do you enjoy your responsibilities?
Hosaf Group is one of the pioneer business conglomerates in Bangladesh, having business specialization in the Power sector, Electric meter, Light Engineering, Asset Management, Transportation and Logistics. As this group’s Chief Financial Officer, it is my responsibility to oversee the effective implementation of the overall strategic financial management decision-making process within the group’s concerns.
To implement a disciplined and structured financial management system within the entity, the design and implementation of a strong internal control policy are very essential. My responsibilities here are not limited to controlling and monitoring overall Accounts, Finance, SCM and Commercial related activities. I have to provide strategic guidance to higher management to strengthen the company’s financial profile as well.
The most focused areas are implementing a cost-effective business decision process, ensuring the best uses of the available resources and compliance with applicable rules and regulations within the group concerns. In addition, apart from the CFO role, I have to concentrate on the new business development area and search the opportunities for a sustainable future business segment.
How did you take the challenge to play the current role at Hosaf Group, and what are your inspirations?
Well, this is not an easy question for me to answer. First of all, I should say, it’s a blessing from my Almighty Allah and the results of collective prayers from my family members and all well-wishers that I got the chance to shine in my professional career and take the opportunity to act in such a big role only at 27!
I have to demonstrate my early career life struggles to explore this hidden mystery. Continuation of two toughest professional degrees like CA and ACCA, with extensive CA firm training, helped me to shape myself as a defender to face each and every difficult situation very tactfully and move forward to catch up with the possible opportunities. I was fortunate that I got the opportunity to work with a reputed CA firm under the direct supervision of a few renowned Chartered Accountants. Another golden opportunity was for me that I got the chance to join at country’s leading Pre-Fabricated Steel building manufacturing company, PEB Steel Alliance Limited (PEBSAL) and directly work with a few visionary industrialists of the country.
I can proudly say that if you get the opportunity to work directly with any first-generation true Business leader in Bangladesh, then you do not have to read any business and financial management books anymore to shine your professional life. At PEBSAL, my role was very challenging as an all-rounder and has to look after overall corporate accounts and the complex financial management areas of the company.
Generally, I love to build up long-term professional relationships with all my stakeholders as Banks, Financial Institutions, Auditors, and different suppliers. That was another key to spreading my professional network very fast and enhancing my acceptability to stakeholders very positively. From the Executive to CEO, first of all, I always try to understand their personality and habits as well as assess their qualifications in terms of their service deliveries and commitments to take my next steps. These helped me a lot to take each and every business decision in a very successful way and boosted my confidence level to take the future challenges like the Group CFO position at Hosaf Group.
Mr. Rana, we are delighted to know that you have been awarded as one of the National Advocates of ACCA. We are sure that it is a very prestigious one. As a member of two renowned Chartered Accountancy bodies, tell us about your professional activities and future career planning.
I am immensely passionate to achieve the undone things which are not limited to my activities in my current role. My professional network members are always insisting me to keep on the right track and move forward to explore the challenging areas. In addition to my current role at Hosaf Group, I am actively involved with ICAB and ACCA community.
Currently, I am acting as the Joint Secretary of the Members development and Networking Sub-Committee of Member Advisory Committee (MAC) of ACCA Bangladesh. ACCA advocacy national award is the highest recognition awarded by its national office to the deserving candidates for their outstanding contribution towards the community. It’s my pleasure that, I have been awarded as Advocate of the Year (Runner-up in the National level) by ACCA Bangladesh for outstanding contribution to the community. As a holder of a dual Chartered Accountancy degree like CA and ACCA, I think I have a huge responsibility for my profession and all communities. I want to spread the necessity of a qualified Chartered Accountant and intelligent Accounts/Finance professionals for the economy and want to be an exemplar to all my communities by helping the existing and future members.
In the future, I would like to build my career in Public practices in Consultancy and Auditing areas as I think, this is a vast area to provide quality professional services to bring transparency in organizational financial management and corporate reporting system towards building a better nation.
Mr. Sohel, what do you think about professional mentorship and its necessity for our next generations?
From my real-life example, I can say that I was not able to act in my current position without proper guidance from my professional mentors. Basically, mentoring is a mutual relationship in which a more experienced professional guys helps and supports to a less experienced person. Professional quality mentoring is always meant to encourage to further development and help the mentee to reach their full potential through proper guidance, advice and motivation.
As per my understanding, any person operating without a mentor as like as driving a car without a steering! For sustainable career development, your mentor might change as you decide which roads you want to shine and move forward. Having a professional mentor is more than just having someone to talk to about your work or personal life and concerns; it’s a relationship based on respect, trust and the exchanging of ideas for the better future.
With due respect, I would like to mention my few professional mentors’ names for those valuable contributions; I am blessed in my personal and professional life. The first person was the Late Mr. Dr. Saleh Ahmed Bhuiyan FCMA, FCS, FIFC (Former Chairman of SAFS Education Group), who was my main motivator to take entry with an ACCA qualification and build a career in the Finance profession. On another note, I would like to mention the name of two prominent industrialists of Bangladesh, Mr. Syed Ali Jowher Rizvi (Chairman of Alliance Holdings Ltd.), and Mr. Moazzam Hossain (Chairman of Hosaf Group), from whom I got the magical strategic instruments to explore the opportunities in the advanced financial management area, managing versatile stakeholder’s relationship and able to think each and every complex situation in a very strategic and loyal way. The third and most important mentor, I got the chance to work with him, a renowned Chartered Accountant in Bangladesh, Mr. Mohammed Forkan Uddin FCA (Managing Partner, MM Rahman & Co, Chartered Accountants). I must admit, he is a great example of a personal and professional mentor for me.
Professional mentorship is the only system in where anyone can get one-to-one access to industry leaders and attain practical experiences. Here anyone can get a huge opportunity to make development on his personal weaknesses as well as concentrate on his/her skill development. Professional mentors guide us on how to handle complex situations and improve our communication skills. I can proudly say that only one good professional mentor can significantly change your life. Your mentor will become your support system when you enter the professional world.
In your view, what are the five most essential skills that the youth should acquire to have a bright future besides academic knowledge or degrees?
At present, our young generation is passing a very crucial transformation period who are entering into the modern technology arena from a conventional ecosystem. Now the global information hub is available in our hands and we are free to explore anything as we wish. That’s why only the conventional education systems cannot compete with other first learners of the world. As per my realization, the five skills the youth should acquire to ensure a bright future are not limited into:
- Being a kind and honest person
- Go for a proper professional mentorship
- Emphasis on Information technology and self-development
- Grow a keen interest in exploring new things
- Build and explore the professional network
How would you evaluate the existing business culture of your country?
Bangladesh is the fastest-growing developing country in the South Asia region. This is a land of absolute blessings from the almighty in terms of its geographical position and its large number of young people. A lot of natural resources are available here to accommodate business organizations. From these viewpoints, Bangladesh is one of the most attractive business zones around the world. Here, most of the business organizations stand at their current position from their initial family businesses.
The big conglomerates are also operated by a few renowned business backgrounded families in the country. The government of Bangladesh has also taken several initiatives to expand the circle of business organizations through inspiring and welcoming Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), creating 100 plus Economic zone and Export processing zone around the country. However, despite of various good initiatives from the government of Bangladesh, the growth of overall business and FDI are not satisfactory. The imposition of excessive taxes on the business organization and the bureaucratic complexity of different regulators/authorities are the main obstacles to doing business in Bangladesh smoothly.
The current backbone of Bangladeshi business organizations has been strengthened through several first-generation legendary industrialists of the 80 decades. Most of the big conglomerates we know are the results of their relentless hard work and dedication. Few of these business houses are already takeover by their smart and energetic second-generation members. The number of mid-level business houses and a small group of companies is not very low. I believe that, we are in a serious crisis with our second generation, who will take over their parent’s business and move forward for further growth. Without proper generational transformation, these business groups will not sustain in the near future.
As per my understanding, most of our big business conglomerates are not concentrated on their key products and own specialized areas; rather, they are very much interested in expanding their business circle in different sectors. This habit of the large conglomerates creates a lot of problems in managing and controlling a large number of business segments with inadequate technical resources and creates barriers for other small and medium enterprises. In terms of efficient manpower in different technical areas, we are lag behind. With the continuous capacity development of the employees, the employer also should learn about the updates of modern business management and operation for the long-term sustainable development of the economy.
What advice would you give to future candidates who are interested in making their career in your field?
Undoubtedly, as a career choice, the Finance and Accounts profession is a very lucrative area for the next generation. Here, Chartered Accountancy is a very challenging professional qualification and the most prestigious route to entering this profession. Students of Bangladesh can choose different entry routes to pursue Chartered Accountancy degrees such as ICAB, ACCA, and ICAEW qualifications. For our new generation who wants to build a global career in the Accounts and Finance profession and become a Chartered Accountant, I just want to share a few important key tools to become successful.
The first thing is the deep determination to become a Chartered Accountant. The second thing is to get admitted under a good professional mentor for guidance and further development. And the third and last most important thing is your continuous dedication to achieving academic and professional goals. Compared to our overall economic size, we had an unsaturated market for Chartered Accountants in Bangladesh. This creates a great chance for the next generation to build a prestigious career in Accounts, Finance and Public practice area.
Mr. Sohel, please say something to our readers!
For all readers, I just want to mention that, please try to become a systematic hard worker and a positive thinker to shine in your life. Do not lock your passion while becoming successful; extend your efforts to unlock future possibilities.
Life is a very limited journey that consists of a lot of struggles and feelings. Please try to devote your life to the well-being of the greater community by spreading love and kindness. One kind and wise man can make a huge positive change in society. We should follow our religious guidelines and loves our family members, nature as well as the motherland to ensure a peaceful environment for the next generation.
The InCAP: Thank you, Mr. Sohel! It’s a glittering conversation with you!
Md. Sohel Rana: My pleasure! Wish you all the best! Thank you.