Early on in Heidi Habib CPA’s accounting career, it became obvious to her employers that she had leadership potential.
Who thought finance could be fashionable?
She has led teams at big-name organisations including travel company, Flight Centre, and fashion label, Cue.
Today the 34-year-old is a Finance Manager at retail business, Best and Less. She says the role is challenging but enjoyable.
"I manage a team of about 15 people and my role is to look at every single process that the finance team do and try to make those system more efficient,” says Heidi.
She believes that to be a good leader
in any organisation, it’s important to listen to your team members. "For me, leadership is about understanding what my team do. I think it’s important for the staff to see that you’re interested in what they are doing and that they know you’re there if anything goes wrong."
The CPA Program opens doors to big name brands
Heidi, who completed a Bachelor of Commerce and Accounting at the University of Western Sydney, says she developed her leadership skills by learning from her mentor and studying the CPA program.
She says being awarded the CPA designation in 2012 opened doors.
“I don’t think I would have got my opportunities at Cue or Best and Less if I didn’t have the CPA designation behind my name.
“People know that you have gone through the program and that you’re committed to what you are doing. It gives you that bit of prestige in your industry.”
Heidi says working in the retail industry has been a highlight.
"I love retail. As they say, the only constant in life is change, and the retail industry is constantly changing. It keeps you on your toes and you never get time to be complacent. You always have to move with the times."
A leadership career all sewn up
Heidi hopes to continue developing her leadership skills and her next big goal is to become a Chief Financial Officer.
“I’m a big believer of doing the job that you want to be in, so my next step is to become a CFO and that is what I am working towards.”
Heidi’s tips for young professionals who want to become leaders:
- Focus on improving the culture within your team. Sometimes people are too focused on processes rather than the work environment
- Take every opportunity to be involved in a new project and learn new things
- Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. We’re all human and it’s the only way you’re going to learn