Nicole Law

Nicole Law started her career at EY. Her passion for numbers combined with and the city’s eclectic dining scene led her to swing from working as an accountant in the Big Four to the food and beverage (F&B) industry, and back to the practising sector – all within a year. She tells A Plus about her memorable experience working in restaurants and why she ultimately returned to the Big Four

What is your current role and responsibilities? How is it going so far?

As an Audit Manager at EY, I’m currently acting as an engagement manager for audits of multinational corporations, listed companies and private organizations. I lead teams performing audits, and I liaise with and solve queries from clients, partners, senior managers and junior staff. Our clients come from a diverse range of industry sectors including retail and consumer products, F&B, property development and real estate. I also closely coordinate with overseas EY offices when handling multinational corporate engagements. The job can be challenging as I need to manage the expectations of my teams and my superiors, and stay on top of existing standards and interpretations.

What are the most rewarding and challenging aspects of your role, and why?

I often have to oversee the status of multiple engagements, each with their own respective deadlines and partner-in-charge. While this can be overwhelming at times, I feel lucky to be able to work with colleagues who are committed and helpful, and to have access to an established platform of guidance materials and sources. What’s most rewarding is realizing I’ve learned something new, gained technical knowledge and solved a tricky issue.

What inspired you to become an accountant?

It must be my maths tutor. She helped me through primary and secondary school and really inspired my interest in the subject. Because of her, maths became my strongest subject, and I majored in professional accountancy at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. After working at EY for four years and helping an F&B group to list on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, I wanted to explore accounting in the commercial sector. So that’s why I joined Black Sheep Restaurants, a Hong Kong-based hospitality group and home to some of my favourite restaurants. I spent eight months there and handled the accounting-related issues for several of the restaurants under the group. On certain days, I did restaurant shifts. I would greet customers, explain the menu, take orders, serve, and also prepare delivery orders. This allowed me to better understand the whole process. It was an experience that I’ll never forget, and I enjoyed working with passionate people who came from different parts of the world. I returned to EY in early 2019, eager to take on more challenges and learn more about technological advancements in the profession.

Where do you see yourself in the next five to 10 years?

I see myself taking on a more impactful and influential role at the firm, and performing audits for clients across diverse industry sectors. I’d also be open to going back to F&B one day, as it has been a field I’ve specialized in throughout my career and I have a passion for exploring good restaurants and good food.

What has been the biggest challenge you have faced in your career so far and how did you overcome it? 

Taking on a client engagement shortly after transitioning into my new role. A lot of the required procedures were new to me and it was quite scary at first. I spent time gathering information and instructions from our internal portal and training materials. Depending on the subject matter, sometimes it’s just quicker to ask more experienced colleagues who went through the same thing. They’re always happy to share their knowledge.

Which continuing professional development (CPD) course did you find to be the most useful to your job and why?

I took a CPD course on HKFRS 16 Leases. It was especially helpful when I worked at Black Sheep Restaurants and while at EY when I was tasked with an engagement involving a retail company. Restaurants and shops occupy physical locations, and sometimes the leases involve complex arrangements or modifications, which requires in-depth knowledge of the leases standard. I also took a CPD course on how artificial intelligence and fintech are changing the landscape of accounting. It was inspiring to learn how these technologies are able to efficiently perform simple tasks and provide more time for accountants to focus on strategic work.

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