Life lessons learned

Keshaw Ram Sharma at the Fiji Roads Authority office in Suva. Picture: SUPPLIED

LIFE lessons learned from a hardworking, determined and simple labourer have inspired Keshaw Ram Sharma to be the best at what he does.

Keshaw is a financial management accountant at the Fiji Roads Authority (FRA) and his role model was his father, a labourer who taught his son the importance of hard work and becoming successful in life.

“My father, who passed away recently, had always been my aspiration. Being a labourer from 1960 to the 1980s my father managed to acquire a farm, a tractor and a truck on his own, which was only through his hard work and determination,” Keshaw said.

“It was him who taught us to think outside the box, to work towards our goals and to do everything possible in order to achieve those goals in life. He reminded me to have faith in the Almighty and to stay firm to our ethics.”

Keshaw, who is from Vunikavikaloa in Nalawa, Ra said there were many factors that had contributed to his success.

“However, the most important factor I feel is to be committed towards your career, to the organisation you work for and to have clear outlined goals so you know where you are heading to in your personal and professional life,” he said.

“Being an accountant is interesting as we deal with figures every day. It’s also interesting in the sense that we prepare numerous reports for decision making purposes where we need to be accurate and those reports can be depended upon while making important decisions. “Working for FRA is interesting because we need to keep track of every single dollar spent as we are one of the recipients of the biggest chunks of government budget allocations.”

Keshaw, who has been an account for 14 years, attained his primary education at Vunikavikaloa Arya School, and secondary education at Ra High School.

“I completed my Diploma in Business (accounting) through the then Fiji Institute of Technology, now known as Fiji National University (FNU) and I later graduated with my Bachelors in Commerce (accounting and finance) from FNU too,” he said.

His work requires him to prepare reports, liaise with the line ministry, prepare monthly and quarterly reports, bank reconciliations, oversee accounts receivable functions, expenditure managements, travel advance, petty cash and coordinates both internal and external audits and liaise with auditors on queries during the audit process.

“I was very passionate about the profession right from the beginning and fortunately the choices I made during those critical times have enabled me to achieve what I have today.”

Keshaw said when he started his tertiary education, he had only concentrated on the field of accounting while doing his diploma level but later moved into Finance and accounting when he enrolled for Bachelors in Commerce.

“Diversifying myself into both the fields has assisted me in enhancing my knowledge and expertise, and having the understanding of finance is an added advantages as it assists me personally and professionally when I have to make investment decisions,” he said.

“My work involves dealing with all departments and divisions of FRA, and it does not restrict me to my office only. “I am also involved in the operational matters as well as financial, and this enables me to increase my expertise and understanding through which we are able to serve better our internal customers as well as external.”

Keshaw said he had a lot of fond memories of working as an accountant.

“The best and the most recent fond memory I had was when I was awarded a scholarship to attend a three weeks professional development course in India,” he said.

“It was a great moment for us to visit India given the ties we have with that country and to learn from them was a lifetime opportunity. “With us, there were students from 26 other countries and we were able to learn about each other’s culture and tradition and also able to increase understanding on how the public sector works in their respective countries.
“We had an opportunity to learn from some of the best professors and experienced personnel working in the public sector on various topics which
included public sector reforms and initiatives that India had recently implemented to streamline its processes and improve service delivery to
its people.
“This included an overview of Right to Information Act introduced in India which now gives an opportunity for people to get information on government expenditure making public offices accountable and transparent.
“This has enhanced my knowledge and understanding of various components related to public finance and has increased my ability of evaluating, reporting and decision making process.”

He said he loved to assist in community work and played an integral part in sports development especially in soccer.

“I believe it’s a social responsibility for all of us to give back to the community to be able to make a difference in other people’s lives,” he said.

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