TheFace: Esra Albuti, Saudi tax specialist

Esra Albuti. (AN photo by Ziyad Alarfaj)
Updated 28 December 2018

TheFace: Esra Albuti, Saudi tax specialist

  • I was delighted to be the first female tax specialist accepted by the firm in Saudi Arabia

Esra Albuti: A life in numbers They say sons usually follow in their father’s footsteps. That wasn’t the case in my family. Instead, it was me that followed in my father’s footsteps — I am currently the youngest director in Ernst and Young’s Riyadh office — and I couldn’t be prouder.
Growing up in a family of six children (I was the second-youngest), I always looked up to my father who is a Certified Public Accountant and gained both his masters and Ph.D. in accounting from the US.
I fell in love with numbers and accounting as a child. I grew up reading my father’s CPA books. My dream started to take shape and I was determined to achieve it. I graduated from high school with a high GPA and enrolled in the School of Business at King Saud University, majoring in accounting. Maybe I should have studied computer science, given that accountants are seen by many as simply “cashiers.” However, my family made me realize that it is better to be a happy cashier than to listen to others and regret it.
I was a focused A+ student and made it to the Dean’s list and graduated top of my class with honors. It was at university that I first heard about Ernst and Young, one of the top accounting and auditing firms in the world. I was determined to work there.
I did have slight concerns that I could be rejected, since I graduated from a public university, but I’ve never let the word ‘no’ deter me. I saw it as a challenge to get Ernst and Young to accept me, and I was determined to meet that challenge.
I was delighted to be the first female tax specialist accepted by the firm in Saudi Arabia. Although working in an all-male environment was initially challenging, the support of my family and the firm, combined with my work ethic, enabled me to gain the trust of my colleagues and of the company as a whole.
I feel proud that, through my career, I am giving back to my country and the next generation of females by encouraging and hiring Saudi female students to join this practice and by raising awareness of specializing in such a unique industry as taxes. I was honored to be the first female manager in Saudi Arabia in all of EY’s service lines.
I was also so proud to be nominated to become the first Saudi female partner specializing in tax for EY in Saudi Arabia. That’s been my dream since I joined the company. I am still ambitious and always looking for new challenges. I believe that there is no limit to what we, as women, can accomplish.
In my spare time, I enjoy to drawing and painting. I find it relieves stress. I have put many of my paintings up at home. I also enjoy traveling, particularly to London. I spent a year in EY’s London office, and I grew to love the city for what it really is.
I’m also a part-time instructor — I teach tax and zakat classes in universities. I love teaching the younger generation and helping them practice this unique subject. I’m happy and proud that I’m able to inspire my students to specialize in taxes and to join EY.


Qiddiya awards SR10bn in contracts to help construct Riyadh mega project

Updated 16 min 58 sec ago

Qiddiya awards SR10bn in contracts to help construct Riyadh mega project

  • The funding will be backed by the Kingdom's Public Investment Fund

RIYADH: At least SR10 billion ($2.66 billion) worth of contracts will be awarded to various companies to speed up the construction of a mega entertainment and sports project in the Saudi capital Riyadh, the Qiddiya Investment Company announced on Thursday.

The funding will be backed by the Kingdom's Public Investment Fund.

The Qiddiya project includes a number of art, entertainment and sporting facilities, and is being built on a 334 square-kilometre site close to Riyadh.

Its construction forms part of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 program that aims to diversify the Kingdom’s economy.

“We’ve awarded well over 1 billion riyal in contracts so far and that figure is going to jump, maybe ten times to 10 billion riyals, which will all be construction related contracts,” Michael Reininger, chief executive told The National.