Saadat Ali, CPA, FCA, Finance Expert in Dubai, United Arab Emirates
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Saadat Ali, CPA, FCA

Verified Expert  in Finance

Management Consulting Expert

Location
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Toptal Member Since
October 18, 2021

Saadat is a finance executive with 30 years of enterprise leadership experience at Shell, Johnson Controls, and Schlumberger across six countries and three continents. With deep expertise in FP&A, accounting, business planning and management, auditing, and ERM, Saadat has led major initiatives and won the Shell Global CFO Award and JCI's Merit Award. He adds exceptional value to enterprise and team success through collaborative and decisive leadership.

Career Highlights

Finance Director | Regional CFO
Johnson Controls (JCI)

Certification Highlights

Johnson Controls Leadership Edge (JCLE)
Johnson Controls Learning Academy
Lean Six Sigma Green Belt
Six Sigma Academy
Certified Public Accountant (CPA)
American Institute of CPAs (AICPA)

Case Studies

Work Experience

CFO | Head of Finance, Supply Chain, and IT

2020 - PRESENT
Tecon Limited
  • Spearheaded Tecon's transformation by setting up new foundations for profitable excellence. Now partnering with the CEO to develop a vision and strategy and lead improvements via changes in staff, operations, internal controls, and key processes.
  • Headed a team of 40+ staff, delivered functional support to the ongoing business, and embedded critical changes for the organization’s future success.
  • Reduced the cost base by 25% and improved working capital by 15% during the COVID-19 economy to protect the financial future of the business.
  • Identified key issues in the status quo; charted an improvement roadmap; and implemented changes across support functions, sales, and operations, which impacted people and processes.
  • Led vendor and customer relationship management by setting up a proactive and prioritized engagement calendar.
  • Established controls around litigation support, ensuring value adds from ongoing and new legal cases.
  • Enhanced SAP functionality usage through design and rollout of improved workflows, resulting in improved internal controls and increased process efficiency.
  • Led the development of the annual budget and business plan and presented the outcome to the corporate managing board, gaining buy-in for strategic and detailed plans.
Focus areas: Business Management, Business Performance Management (BPM), Change Management, Accounting, Cross-functional Team Leadership, Enterprise Risk Management (ERM), Business Strategy, Business Partnerships, Working Capital Management, Cost Reduction & Optimization (Cost-down), Profitability Optimization, Procurement, Supply Chain Management (SCM), Debtor & Creditor Management, Litigation Support, Internal Control, Contract Negotiation, Annual Budgets, Business Planning, Vendor Management, SAP, Microsoft PowerPoint, Business Transformation, Operational Finance, CFO, Budgeting, Forecasting, Middle East, Construction, Post-merger Integration, Integration, Strategy, Merger Benefits, Project Management, PMO, Risk Management, Reporting, Controller, Financial Modeling, Google Sheets, Internal Audits, Compliance, Governance, Lean Six Sigma, Forensic Accounting, Financial Management, Lean, Leadership, Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), Big 4 Accounting, Financial Controls & Processes, Revenue & Expense Projections, Opportunity Assessments, Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable, Cash Flow, Financial Reporting, General Ledgers, Interim Financial Controller

Finance Director | Regional CFO

2016 - 2020
Johnson Controls (JCI)
  • Delivered business results in partnership with the CEO while serving as the CFO of the MEA region.
  • Led the post-merger integration of Tyco's MEA Fire and Security business with JCI's global best practices. Implemented synergies resulting in improved alignment, reduced costs, standardized processes, and enhanced internal controls.
  • Headed a team of 29 and delivered finance expertise, including budgeting, forecasting, performance cadence, cost reductions, profitability optimization, cash flow, and working capital management.
  • Won JCI’s Global Merit Award for leading the VAT implementation across the MEA region.
  • Led the improvement of internal controls across the region by influencing the business to change operating practices. The internal audit rating improved from "Inadequately-Controlled" to "Well-Controlled" over 18 months.
  • Owned the regional audit plan in partnership with JCI internal audit and led compliance reviews and closure of remediation actions.
  • Worked alongside the McKinsey RTS practice as part of the senior team leading the strategic transformation across the MEA region.
Focus areas: Business Performance Management (BPM), Accounting, Change Management, Audits, Cross-functional Team Leadership, Business Strategy, Cost Reduction & Optimization (Cost-down), Profitability Optimization, Working Capital Management, Microsoft PowerPoint, Business Transformation, Enterprise Risk Management (ERM), Operational Finance, CFO, Budgeting, Forecasting, Middle East, Construction, Merger Benefits, Post-merger Integration, Strategy, Project Management, PMO, IFRS Financial Reporting, US GAAP, Risk Management, Reporting, Controller, Financial Modeling, Google Sheets, Enterprise SaaS, Internal Audits, Compliance, Governance, Cash Flow Management, Forensic Accounting, North America, Financial Management, Lean, Leadership, Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), Financial Controls & Processes, Revenue & Expense Projections, Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable, Cash Flow, Financial Reporting, General Ledgers, Interim Financial Controller

Finance Manager

2015 - 2016
Shell
  • Negotiated the recovery of Shell’s multibillion-dollar spend in-country with government agencies that audited and approved Shell’s costs.
  • Achieved over 98% successful cost recovery through collaborative leadership across the company, which was critical for Shell's success in the region.
  • Developed and rolled out internal protocols for incurring expenditures per contractual agreements, ensuring future approval and recovery of these costs from governmental audit agencies.
Focus areas: Auditing, Business Management, Change Management, Contract Negotiation, Business Partnerships, Team Leadership, Stakeholder Management, Microsoft PowerPoint, Cross-functional Team Leadership, Business Performance Management (BPM), CFO, Forecasting, Middle East, Oil & Gas, Integration, Risk Management, Reporting, Compliance, Project Accounting, Financial Management, Leadership, Opportunity Assessments, Business Models, Accounts Receivable, Financial Reporting

Regional Manager - Risk & Insurance

2010 - 2015
Shell
  • Managed risks on major projects (CAPEX up to $2.5 billion) and key contracts across North and South America through risk assessments, risk surveys, contractual negotiations, and insurance tools.
  • Delivered a value-add of approximately $85 million in NPV by negotiating contractual indemnity and insurance positions in major framework contracts across the region.
  • Led training sessions and workshops across North America to roll out a risk management-focused change program for senior leadership.
  • Managed insurance procurement for large CAPEX oil and gas projects in a broad range of jurisdictions, including the United States, Canada, Brazil, Australia, Singapore, and Qatar.
  • Developed a standardized framework for managing contractual and project risks and led the rollout of this framework across global operating units.
Focus areas: Enterprise Risk Management (ERM), Contract Risk, Risk, Insurance, Business Strategy, Consulting, Training & Training Content Development, Change Management, Risk Surveys, Procurement, Upstream Oil & Gas Management, Audits, Business Management, Microsoft PowerPoint, Cross-functional Team Leadership, CFO, Middle East, Europe, South America, Oil & Gas, Integration, Strategy, Group Reporting IFRS, Risk Management, Scheduling, Reporting, Compliance, Governance, North America, Financial Management, Leadership, Financial Reporting

Head of Risk & Assurance

2008 - 2010
Shell
  • Led ERM and project risk management at Shell's $19 billion megaproject involving 50,000+ workers from 40+ nationalities at peak construction. Proactive risk management contributed to the strong completion of this high-stakes project.
  • Designed and facilitated risk training and workshops involving 150+ leaders.
  • Identified several high-impact risks and developed prioritized mitigation plans to avoid negative impact on the project schedule and costs.
  • Led governance and compliance in partnership with Shell internal audit, developing risk-based audit plans and ensuring timely execution of audits and effective closure of audit findings.
Focus areas: Enterprise Risk Management (ERM), Project Management, Change Management, Risk Assessment, Internal Audits, Compliance, Governance, Microsoft PowerPoint, Cross-functional Team Leadership, CFO, Middle East, Construction, Oil & Gas, Integration, Strategy, PMO, Risk Management, Scheduling, Reporting, Project Accounting, Lean Six Sigma, Financial Management, Lean, Leadership, Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), Financial Controls & Processes, Financial Reporting

Project Finance Manager

2007 - 2008
Shell
  • Led the finance team of this 3-year, $800 million project to drill 22 off-shore and two on-shore wells.
  • Served on the drilling leadership team and provided financial expertise on commercial and compliance issues, including robust cost estimates, internal controls, accounting policies, and progress reporting.
  • Led the Lean Six Sigma Green Belt project to streamline the month-end close process, improve the quality of reporting, and eliminate the workload on non-value-adding activities.
Focus areas: Project Controls, Project Accounting, Cash Flow Management, Contract Review, Cost Control, Business Partnerships, Cross-functional Team Leadership, Business Performance Management (BPM), Change Management, Operational Finance, CFO, Budgeting, Forecasting, Middle East, Oil & Gas, IFRS Financial Reporting, Group Reporting IFRS, Risk Management, Scheduling, Reporting, Controller, Financial Modeling, Compliance, Financial Management, Leadership, Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), Financial Controls & Processes, Revenue & Expense Projections, Business Models, Accounts Payable, Cash Flow, Financial Reporting

Accounting & Reporting Advisor

2003 - 2007
Shell
  • Served as the SME on accounting and reporting while based in Shell HQ. Contributed to high-profile, global projects, including IFRS implementation and SAP standardization. Set global guidelines and led rollout workshops and training sessions.
  • Won the Shell CFO Award for leading a global project to remediate a major gap in SAP functionality impacting 20+ countries. Identified root causes, developed solutions, implemented changes, and rolled out new processes across global businesses.
  • Served as the global SME on accounting and reporting, guiding 20 countries on periodic reporting requirements by analyzing reported data and fine-tuning the future effectiveness and efficiency of Shell's global MIS and consolidation tools.
Focus areas: Accounting, Business Performance Management (BPM), Audits, Lean Six Sigma, Project Management, SAP, Microsoft PowerPoint, Business Transformation, Change Management, Operational Finance, CFO, Budgeting, Forecasting, Europe, Oil & Gas, Strategy, IFRS Financial Reporting, US GAAP, Group Reporting IFRS, Reporting, Controller, Governance, Cash Flow Management, North America, Financial Management, Lean, Leadership, Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), Financial Controls & Processes, Revenue & Expense Projections, Opportunity Assessments, Cash Flow, Financial Reporting, Financial Consolidation

Financial Controller

2000 - 2003
Shell
  • Set up the accounting and MIS reporting function from scratch at this 3-year, new-country-entry oilfield development project with a $1 billion spend.
  • Researched macroeconomic scenarios to shape Shell’s future investment strategy in the region.
  • Served as the finance lead in a multidisciplinary business systems ERP implementation.
Focus areas: Accounting, Auditing, Business Management, Cross-functional Team Leadership, Business Performance Management (BPM), Change Management, Operational Finance, CFO, Budgeting, Forecasting, Middle East, Oil & Gas, IFRS Financial Reporting, Group Reporting IFRS, Reporting, Controller, Financial Modeling, Compliance, Financial Management, Leadership, Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), Financial Controls & Processes, Revenue & Expense Projections, Opportunity Assessments, Business Models, Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable, Cash Flow, Financial Reporting, General Ledgers, Interim Financial Controller, Financial Consolidation

Financial Center Manager

1998 - 2000
Schlumberger
  • Set up and led a new shared service center comprising 14 staff supporting five business segments (annual revenue: $150 million).
  • Provided the full range of services, including MI, invoicing, collections, payables, and payroll.
  • Redesigned team roles and job content to enable focused and specialized activities while improving service delivery to internal and external customers.
Focus areas: Accounting, Business Performance Management (BPM), Business Partnerships, Auditing, Change Management, Operational Finance, CFO, Budgeting, Forecasting, Middle East, Oil & Gas, Post-merger Integration, Integration, Merger Benefits, US GAAP, Reporting, Controller, Internal Audits, Compliance, Governance, Cash Flow Management, Financial Management, Leadership, Financial Controls & Processes, Revenue & Expense Projections, Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable, Cash Flow, Financial Reporting, Interim Financial Controller

Management Accountant

1996 - 1998
Schlumberger
  • Analyzed business performance for eight countries in the Far East region with $100 million in annual revenue, supporting country leadership teams in achieving their budget targets.
  • Managed cash flow exposures in volatile currency risk countries. Handled external audits and tax matters with external auditors and consultants.
  • Carried out internal audit assignments in France and Saudi Arabia, helping the regional business strengthen its internal controls and compliance environment.
Focus areas: Accounting, Business Performance Management (BPM), Auditing, Taxation, Forecasting, Middle East, Oil & Gas, Reporting, Controller, Cash Flow Management, Financial Management, CFO, Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), Accounts Receivable, Cash Flow, Financial Reporting

Audit Trainee to Assistant Manager

1991 - 1996
PwC
  • Led external audit assignments for various key clients, including manufacturing, banking, service, and NGOs.
  • Served as an internal trainer, helping new joiners and junior team members learn audit and accounting concepts. Led exam preparation training sessions and mentored younger colleagues for success in CA exams.
  • Won the gold medal and first position in a country-wide professional accountancy examination.
Focus areas: Auditing, Accounting, Taxation, Forensic Accounting, Financial Management, CFO, Leadership, Big 4 Accounting, Nonprofits
1991 - 1995

Master's Degree in Accounting, Audit, Taxation

Higher Education Commission (ICAP) - Rawalpindi, Pakistan

1989 - 1991

Bachelor's Degree in Business, Accounting, Commerce

University of the Punjab - Lahore, Pakistan

SEPTEMBER 2019 - PRESENT

Johnson Controls Leadership Edge (JCLE)

Johnson Controls Learning Academy

DECEMBER 2014 - PRESENT

Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA)

CPA Alberta

OCTOBER 2009 - PRESENT

Lean Six Sigma Green Belt

Six Sigma Academy

SEPTEMBER 2009 - PRESENT

Project Controls

Shell Learning Academy

DECEMBER 2001 - PRESENT

Certified Public Accountant (CPA)

American Institute of CPAs (AICPA)

DECEMBER 1995 - PRESENT

Fellow Chartered Accountant (FCA)

Institute of Chartered Accountants of Pakistan (ICAP)

Finance

Operational Finance, Accounting, Risk, Internal Audits, Financial Management, Financial Planning & Analysis (FP&A), Budgeting, Forecasting, Revenue & Expense Projections, Cost Reduction & Optimization (Cost-down), Profitability Optimization, Working Capital Management, Controller, CPA, Chartered Accountant (CA), Financial Reporting, CFO, Taxation, Project Accounting, Three-statement Modeling, Debtor & Creditor Management, Financial Modeling, Big 4 Accounting, Cash Flow, Financial Consolidation

Industry Expertise

Oil & Gas, Insurance, Construction, Nonprofits

Geographic Expertise

Middle East, Europe, North America, South America

Output Software

Microsoft Excel, Microsoft PowerPoint, Google Sheets

Other

Business Transformation, Cross-functional Team Leadership, Enterprise Risk Management (ERM), Business Performance Management (BPM), Change Management, Auditing, Management, Finance, Audits, Business Management, Project Management, Leadership, Contract Risk, Risk Assessment, Compliance, Governance, Cash Flow Management, Business Partnerships, Remediation, Financial Analysis, Teamwork, Internal Control, Annual Budgets, Business Planning, Consulting, Upstream Oil & Gas Management, Team Leadership, Month-end Processes, Monthly Close Process, Team Productivity, Risk Management, Reporting, Financial Controls & Processes, General Ledgers, Interim Financial Controller, Cost Accounting, Innovation, Project Management Operations, Contract Negotiation, Project Controls, Contract Review, Cost Control, Lean Six Sigma, Forensic Accounting, Scenario Analysis, Process Improvement, Process Design, Lean, Six Sigma, Business Strategy, PMO, Procurement, Supply Chain Management (SCM), Risk Surveys, Stakeholder Management, IFRS Financial Reporting, US GAAP, Merger Benefits, Strategy, Post-merger Integration, Integration, Scheduling, Group Reporting IFRS, Enterprise SaaS, Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), Opportunity Assessments, Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable, SAP, Litigation Support, Training & Training Content Development, Vendor Management, Social Media Marketing (SMM), Small & Medium-sized Enterprises (SME), Business Models

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