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HKICPA Career Forum 2016: Thinking creatively to find solutions

Published on Thursday, 29 Sep 2016
Mabel Chan, vice-president, HKICPA, and deputy managing partner, Grant Thornton HK. Photo: HKICPA

Because business is global and economies are interconnected, ambitious individuals who join accounting firms can look forward to constantly learning new skills, gaining exposure to a wide range of businesses and clients, and having opportunities to develop professionally and personally, says Mabel Chan, vice-president of the Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants (HKICPA) and deputy managing partner at Grant Thornton Hong Kong.

Chan explains that the accounting sector provides plenty of options for young people who are looking for a challenging and flexible career, given that they are dedicated to constantly expanding their expertise.

“New recruits that apply an analytical mindset and make sure they are determined to learn from each assignment will find they soon become more proficient,” Chan points out.

A strong advocate of staying healthy – and, in particular, getting sufficient sleep – Chan adds that by working smart and efficiently, hard work soon becomes enjoyable work, which helps work-life balance. “Work is always going to be a lot tougher if you are feeling tired and fatigued,” she says.

Chan suggests that newcomers to the profession should work on their presentation and interpersonal skills to maximise their career potential because communication with clients and senior partners is an increasingly important feature of the accountancy profession.

Citing her own firm as an example, Chan says that with 23 branches in China, including the Hong Kong office, and member firms in more than 130 countries, Grant Thornton offers its employees a broad scope of career development opportunities. These range from on-the-job technical training and support while obtaining professional qualifications, to secondments and transfers between overseas and mainland offices. Transfers between disciplines are also an option.

Chan explains how outbound investments by mainland companies – which in the first quarter of this year exceeded, in dollar terms, the whole of last year’s total – is creating new opportunities for accountancy professionals. For instance, professionals in auditing, tax, advisory, business consulting, business processing solutions, and mergers and acquisitions have a front-row seat as mainland companies invest or acquire established brands, high-end technology companies and mature business assets.

Offering a personal insight, Chan says learning about new things is an ongoing exercise. “I am, by nature, very curious about our world and I like thinking creatively to provide solutions to those ‘mission impossible’ situations.”


This article appeared in the Classified Post print edition as Thinking creatively to solve problems.

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