What are the biggest lessons in your career so far?
Since university, I had been dedicated to building up my career portfolio as I believe qualifications and experience are indispensable in a path to success. As time went on, I realized that opportunities don’t always come to those more senior, and qualifications and experience are no longer a springboard for success. So as the saying goes, if opportunity does not come knocking, build a door. I started to develop my interpersonal skills through various social circles – not only business partners such as lawyers and investment bankers, but also professional bodies and interest groups. Expanding my social network enriches my knowledge about trends, market conditions and work-related technologies that help me carry out my duties as a function leader. Insights shared within these circles are often the source of empowerment and support, especially when I face challenges.
What skills did you find most important after becoming a professional accountant in business?
Accounting firms generally have a large number of younger workers, compared to the business sector, where teams often have more diverse backgrounds and experiences. For managers, this diversity poses a challenge to managing and communicating with the team. By taking the 360-degree feedback approach to communication, and interacting with team members at the right moment, you should be able to inspire and motivate the team, and unlock its potential. Also, promoting a “can-do” attitude within the team can encourage them to generate great ideas that come to fruition.
In what ways has your CPA qualification helped you in your career?
It allows me to analyse business issues critically and to provide my clients forward-looking advice. It has equipped me with strong technical knowledge for financial statements analysis and modelling – the foundation of several positions that I have taken up. Through my qualification, I have had opportunities to contribute to the profession, the community-at-large and the company I work for using my professional knowledge. For example, at YUDO, I organize technical and compliance training for the finance team on financial reporting and process automation.
You’re a member of the Institute’s Young Member Committee. What are the challenges young members face?
New and young members are focused – perhaps too focused – on building their personal brand solely through accumulating experience. However, it’s important to have a sustainable work ethic that can carry a person through both good and challenging times. We can’t deny that CPAs have busy lives, but we should aim to strike a balance whether it’s through exercising or keeping up with hobbies in order to refresh ourselves. To me, taking breaks to recharge is just as important as a professional qualification, as this is key to having a positive mindset in times of difficulties.
How can young members take their careers to the next level?
Don’t stop learning and embrace changes, especially in today’s rapidly changing digital and commercial world. Stay positive and be proactive by acting on opportunities. If you wait too long, you will miss them. Those who are interested in moving from practice to the business sector should be open to significantly different working norms and cultures. They should recognize that accounting in business requires a much wider spectrum of skills and knowledge.