Bryan Lai FCPA (practising)

Bryan Lai FCPA (practising), Assurance Director at Moore, is passionate about providing added value to clients. He shares what he enjoys about working in assurance, how tools such as data analytics are helping auditors like himself in the field, and why it’s important to learn how to build connections

What have been the three biggest lessons in your career so far?

Firstly, make time to exercise. It’s important to have a good work-life balance, so I usually spare some time for running on the weekends. Secondly, learn how to build relationships. Whether it’s with a colleague, a big client or a friend, each relationship you build with another person adds another beam of support to what you’re building for yourself. Though there’s much you can create by working alone, success often comes when you create and work with your network of colleagues, clients and friends. Thirdly, always think positively. Not every day is a good day, however the difficult days can just be another way to grow in both your career and life in general. Focusing on the positives rather than the negatives can help turn the situation around.

What do you like most about specializing in assurance?

The exposure. As an auditor, I have the opportunity to work with multinational corporations across different industries, and this provides me with unique insights into business. I get to understand the factors driving business performance, assess inherent risks, apply critical thinking, and provide our one-stop services to our clients in Hong Kong, Mainland China, and globally.

How has technology changed audit in recent years?

Technology such as data analytics has enabled auditors to extract and analyse large volumes of data. This has helped us to better understand our clients, identify audit and business risks, and improve the coverage of audit procedures. We now have the ability to sort and examine available raw data to identify anomalies more efficiently. We can obtain audit evidence and use it to verify the existence, completeness and accuracy of assertions. We can also analyse our client’s business and compare it to industry trends. Our clients are often impressed when we provide them with a business analysis, performed during the course of our audit.

In what ways has your CPA skills helped you in your career?

Although assurance has its roots in accounting, it is just the beginning. In addition to accounting skills, we also need to have strong communication and critical thinking skills, and business acumen. As a director in our firm, I need to make timely decisions and provide advice in different circumstances, and my CPA skills have helped me to communicate with executives from our client bases in many industries and answer requests from various professional parties. Communication skills are essential. As an auditor, you need to deal with different clients in all types of situations. Strong communication skills can help you to clearly convey ideas, thoughts and suggestions during meetings, presentations and negotiations with audit clients and also your teammates. With good business acumen, I’m able to ask the right questions and give suggestions to our client, which shows we understand their industry and how the organization functions.

What is one piece of advice you have for young members working in firms? 

Invest in yourself. Never stop learning and be willing to embrace change, especially in today’s rapidly transforming digital and commercial world. This is the key to success.

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