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Going for the fundamentals

Published on Friday, 11 Jan 2013
Derek Lai


The CPA Australia Career Expo enables Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu personnel to meet with a wide range of accounting and non-accounting students and professionals, and helps them to identify the right talent the firm needs.

"By providing information about the profession and about Deloitte, we hope we are able to help these young professionals make informed decisions about career opportunities available to them," says Derek Lai FCPA (Aust.), Deloitte's Asia leader of restructuring services, and deputy national leader of financial advisory services.

People with diverse competencies and potential are on the top of Deloitte's search list, Lai says.

"We recruit talent from both accounting and non-accounting majors. We look at their all-round development, academic results, experience, soft skills and personalities," he says.

"The key attributes we're looking for are the fundamental qualities of accountants: integrity, professionalism, and the ability to apply and uphold the highest professional standards. And we prefer candidates to have the aspiration to work in a challenging and collaborative environment."

Deloitte places a premium on candidates with an analytical mind, problem-solving skills and good interpersonal communication skills.

Those with a sound understanding of the China market also have an edge, especially people familiar with business and regulatory practices on the mainland, in view of increasing cross-border activities between China and Hong Kong.

Lai advises participants to be prepared before coming to the expo. "They should research background information about the industry and market environment. They should ask meaningful questions to make a good impression on potential employers," he says.

Deloitte hires 300 to 400 fresh graduates each year. The firm's structured career path covers year-by-year progression based on performance from entry level to associate level to partner level. Programmes that further accelerate the progression of outstanding performers and graduates with strong potential for senior management roles are also in place.

"Through the Deloitte Institute, we offer a comprehensive learning programme for staff to learn the technical skills and soft skills that they need," Lai says. "This institute focuses on competencies necessary to become successful external client-service professionals, business advisers or internal serving professionals."

In addition to formal learning, staff at Deloitte also learn through on-the-job engagements, regular coaching, evaluation and feedback through the firm's performance management process.

For further exposure, Deloitte's global mobility programme enables employees to undertake an 18- to 36-month placement in its overseas offices, such as in the US, Australia, Canada, Germany and the UK.

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