Born and raised in the North African country of Morocco, Hamid El Mourhir lived in Casablanca until he reached the age of 18 years old, after which he moved to the city of Agadir to study at the National School of Business and Management (ENCG) where he obtained a Bachelor’s degree.
After spending some time in both the Moroccan public and private sector, Hamid El Mourhir made the decision to relocate to Canada, settling in Montreal, Quebec and enrolling in the School of Management Sciences in the Université du Québec à Montréal. There, he earned a Postgraduate Diploma in Management Accounting. In 2011, he received his Master of Business Administration from that same institution. In 2012, he received his chartered professional accountant designation (CPA), paving the way for his new career in Canada. In the years since, he has helped his ever-growing roster of clients navigate their business affairs, private finances, and tax issues.
When not at work, Hamid El Mourhir spends a considerable amount of his time volunteering. He is an active member of several reception and integration organizations for newly arrived immigrants and refugees. In this capacity, he helps them become fluent in French in order to aid them in finding gainful employment and quickly integrate into Canadian Society.
When presented with free time, Hamid enjoys a variety of physical activities, including soccer, swimming, and kickboxing. He also loves spending time with his friends and family.
Where did the idea for your career come from?
Accounting is a vast arena filled with many specialities. I prefer working with budgetary controls and management, keeping financial accounts on track and regulated. I feel like it’s a great avenue to build relationships and help others understand what’s going on with their accounts, all the while helping them reach their financial goals. Adopting this speciality has helped me build many business relationships, even including the partners of my company.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
Because each day is different, I begin the day with a list of tasks. It’s prioritized and annotated as needed. Then, it’s simply a matter of working through those tasks and getting things accomplished. Through the process, I strive to develop a plan of action that resonates with the success goals set before me each week, month, and fiscal year.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I have a good imagination. I’m known to be a person who will innovate. When an idea comes to mind, or is shared with me, it’s common for me to create a path forward to making it a reality. This includes automating tasks with Microsoft tools. When a new policy or important document—such as a special report—needs to be created, my company will routinely give the task to me. In the past, I’ve developed plans for new performance indicators, longevity tracking, and developing automation for achieving our goals. It’s important to always be open to trying something new.
What’s one trend that excites you?
I enjoy it when people challenge themselves to do more, and I include myself in that statement. New challenges keep life interesting and greatly aid in avoiding simply executing repetitive tasks to earn money or pass the time. When a situation challenges me and I overcome it, the achievement is all the sweeter. Many people are challenging themselves these days, and it’s great to see.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
To me, it’s less a habit and more a characteristic of my personality. I find great pleasure in helping others, and I’ve been doing it since I was young. Helping new immigrants and refugees is refreshing, inspiring, and motivating. It doesn’t matter who they are or what they need me to do, I enjoy it immensely.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would tell my younger self to begin investing earlier. So much in life grows over time, and the more we invest the earlier in life, the better the outcome. I would also tell myself to play soccer more seriously. I loved the game in my youth—and I still do—and would have enjoyed trying to become a professional.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
With the planet’s climate changing all around us, I think we’ll need to depend on scientific and social innovations more to resolve environmental issues. If we don’t continue to innovate, I believe humanity will soon be in a very difficult situation.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I think it’s important to get a good education, not just in school, but beyond it, as well. There are many opportunities for you to build on what they’ve learned in a traditional educational setting, and I believe it is truly beneficial to do so. Additionally, it’s important to take care of your health. It’s horrible to watch people suffer and it takes so much from everything and everyone around you. Taking care of what’s important makes a huge difference.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Deliberately looking for new challenges has been a huge help for me. It paves the way for calculated risks that fit the goals and needs both for myself and the company I work for. The right challenges and risks can really serve to improve a situation quickly, especially when you start armed with good information and move without fear of failure.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
There was a particularly busy season not long after I started working in Canada that forced me to do the job of multiple people. That challenge created a need for me to become intensely organized, focused on time management, and it also meant giving up my weekends until things were brought under control. Taking those steps ultimately helped me because it forced me to refine my processes and led to future work going smoother. That season taught me to foresee potential problems, adjust for the situation ahead of me, and take the steps necessary to prepare. That’s the most important part of any aspect of business: adaptability.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
The career I always recommend to the immigrants and refugees I work with is accounting. Getting an accounting certification ensures work will always be available to you. It may be on your own or as the employee of a company, but the work will be there.
Another piece of advice is, if you’re immigrating to a new country, give yourself adequate time for the process to unfold and make sure to have patience while it does. That will help you to better navigate the bureaucracy involved with such a move, as well as learn a new language comfortably, if applicable.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
The best $100 I’ve spent recently was sharing money with a friend back home in Morocco. It was for a young adult who needed to attend school but faced withdrawing due to her finances. As the daughter of a close friend, I feel good knowing that I’m helping her and her family.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
SAP and Microsoft tools—Excel and Access primarily—are the ones we lean on the most at my company. They log everything and we’ve built upon the experience of everyone in the office becoming familiar with them. While some of our team are working on one task, others can concentrate on a different task and we’re able to seamlessly integrate everything and track the results along the way.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I would suggest anything on or about history. It’s important to read and understand history as it affects our present and offers indicators for our future. We have to learn the lessons from the past so we can keep refining them and eventually find a place of peace.
What is your favorite quote?
“Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome.” — Booker T. Washington.
- Deliberately taking on new challenges not only makes you stronger, it also makes your life much more interesting.
- Volunteering your time assisting others is rewarding, motivating, and helpful to society.
- Throughout the course of your career, it’s important to adapt to any given situation and take calculated risks.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.