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Legally happy

Published on Friday, 18 Oct 2013
Janet Bibi Ferreira, HR director at BTHK, says good interpersonal skills are essential for success at the firm.
Photo: Paul Yeung

Fun, friendly firm Baker Tilly HK has seven posts available

Three of the most important criteria for doing a job well are empowerment, direction and feedback. The measure of these can indicate the degree of staff satisfaction, and can also show if a company is run well.

Accounting and advisory firm Baker Tilly Hong Kong (BTHK) conducts a staff Happy Index survey every year. Last year it was pleased to find that 66 per cent of its staff agreed that the company offered all three of the above criteria, while only 3 per cent disagreed. On whether the firm provided effective communication, 74 per cent agreed while only 4 per cent disagreed, and 83 per cent were satisfied overall with their jobs at the firm. 

“Employee engagement is taken into account in all that we do,” says Janet Bibi Ferreira, BTHK’s director of human resources, who has been with the firm since 1985.

About 80 per cent of the firm’s 250 directors and staff are from Generation Y (Gen Y), and there are special arrangements in place to feed their abundant energy and ideas.

“We empower them by conducting sharing sessions where everyone can contribute, sharing skills and knowledge on real cases. These are popular sessions with a high turnout rate. To encourage interaction and discussion, managers and directors are not invited,” Bibi Ferreira says.

Furthermore, 20 per cent of the Gen Y group are invited to lead buddy groups of five to six people. They offer work and non-work-related support to staff and organise team-building activities with support from the firm. CSR activities and groups practising different sports further strengthen the group spirit. “All these bring positive energy and fun to working at BTHK,” Bibi Ferreira says, adding that the firm wants to build a friendly and productive work environment and a positive corporate culture.

BTHK is now hiring for seven positions, including a senior tax manager and a forensic accountant, senior accountant and manager. The forensic hirings will contribute to the growth of a 20-strong department set up via the recent acquisition of a restructuring and recovery business.

The firm welcomes applications from qualified or student members of a professional body with some audit and commercial experience. Good interpersonal and communication skills are essential, and fluency in both written and spoken English and Chinese is a must.

Ethics are also an important factor. “Professional ethics are very important for accountants in light of recent market developments and the regulatory environment in which we now work,” Bibi Ferreira says. “We select candidates who respect and demonstrate ethics in all they do.”

Teamwork and responsive client service are what the business is built on, and applicants should also stand out in this respect. Candidates who enjoy and practise Baker Tilly’s learning and sharing culture and want to contribute to the community would fit the company values and do well.

Experienced hires receive an orientation and can participate in regular technical and soft-skill training during the off-peak season, generally between September and November. “Graduates will have seven full days of training which includes orientation, technical and soft-skill training to help them get started,” Bibi Ferreira says.

The firm also offers at least 20 hours of formal continuing professional development training per year, conducted by external trainers or the directors and managers of the firm.

Sharing sessions are conducted in groups of 20 to 30 staff at a time. Training material is also shared on the intranet, while international opportunities exist for those who are so inclined.

“As a member of Baker Tilly International with member firms across 131 countries worldwide, we offer secondment opportunities to high-fliers, who can spend work holidays in member firms in different parts of the world. Currently, we have one staff member on secondment at the Baker Tilly Melbourne office. This offers valuable work and life experience to staff members,” Bibi Ferreira says.

Thanks to the firm’s broad range of clients in different industries, staff have the opportunity to experience a wide variety of assignments. This provides a comprehensive learning and development experience.

BTHK supports a number of not-for-profit organisations via fundraising, including the Tsung Tsin Mission of Hong Kong (Chinese TTM), a long-standing beneficiary.

“Our staff have participated in a number of workshops, including traditional rice dumpling and iced moon cake making workshops which benefited low-income families,” Bibi Ferreira says. “Furthermore, we collaborated with Chinese TTM to organise a drama workshop in July, where the local theatre company, Black Bird Theatre, whose performances for the public we also sponsor, provided a full-day interactive programme to develop youth interest in the performing arts.”


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