Deloitte Brunei's first female partner reflects on her journey to date

10 February 2020 Consultancy.asia

Shortly after celebrating its 40th anniversary, Deloitte Brunei has achieved another milestone; electing its first female partner.

A recent piece in local media publication Borneo Bulletin has revealed that the Brunei member of global professional services firm Deloitte has last year elected its first female partner; Dayangku Hajah Siti Khadijah binti Pengiran Haji Moksin. Elevated last June, the milestone followed shortly after the local member’s 40th anniversary celebrations – and roughly coincided with Sharon Thorne’s ascension as the 175-year old firm’s first female global chair.

Khadijah first joined Deloitte as an audit assistant in 2009 following accreditation with the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants through a government scholarship programme – ultimately following in her late father’s footsteps in being admitted to Deloitte’s partnership ranks. “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,” Khadijah told the Borneo Bulletin.

As the local member firm’s first female partner, Khadijah also follows in the footsteps of a number of women who have in recent times broken the industry glass ceiling at the Big Four firm. As well as Thorne’s elevation last year, Catherine Engelbert in 2015 became the first women to lead a Big Four in the US, while current Asia Pacific CEO Cindy Hook was in the same year the first ever female to be appointed CEO of an Big Four firm in Australia.

Dayangku Hajah Siti Khadijah binti Pengiran Haji Moksin - Deloitte.jpg

“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,” Khadijah states. In addition to her partnership nod, she was also last year appointed as the President of the Brunei Darussalam Institute of Certified Public Accountants, which is a member of regional body the ASEAN Federation of Accountants.

She has also had the chance at Deloitte to spend plenty of time among ASEAN colleagues, along with participating in a number of the firm’s global events. As outlined by Khadijah, a small team at Deloitte Brunei (nine out of the firm’s more than six dozen employees, with its headcount having grown from 30 over the ten years since she joined) serve as consulting analysts, travelling across the region to support Deloitte’s Southeast Asia Consulting practice.

“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,” Khadijah explained, with the firm having also sent a recent batch of recruits on overseas placements. “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.”

Khadijah states she will use her platform at Deloitte platform to help grow the skills of junior colleagues, adding that she hopes her career path can an inspiration for other young locals. “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. It is going to be a long journey but every journey begins with a single step.”