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Magician dazzled by spell of accountancy

Published on Friday, 19 Oct 2012
Nelson Cheung
Photo: Warton Li

Despite possessing the qualifications to work as an accountant, Nelson Cheung Chin-ngai, manager of IT risk and assurance – advisory services at Ernst & Young, decided to pursue a career as a magician for a year at a Hong Kong theme park before devoting his life to his professional accounting career. He tells Wong Yat-hei what life without his wand is like at the Big Four firm.

What is your academic background?
I graduated with a bachelor of information systems from the University of Melbourne, and have a master’s in professional accounting from the Southern Cross University, Australia.

How do you start your day?
It depends on client schedules but I always start my day 30 minutes early to review and prioritise items on my to-do list. My team and I might be on the road the whole day visiting clients. When I am in the office I also spend time discussing projects with my colleagues, attending seminars and tender briefings, and meeting potential clients.

What does your job entail?
Our clients come to us for solutions. As an adviser, my job is to understand their problems and provide advice on how they can be resolved. I have to understand the problems clients face before I talk to my subordinates and develop relevant project plans. I need to review the status of projects from time to time, resolve issues with my subordinates and clients, and review subordinates’ work.

What are the major challenges you’ve encountered so far?
The major challenge is that there are always new technologies being introduced and we have to keep up with these new changes. We never stop learning and have to broaden our exposure to bring value to our clients.

What are your career plans?
To be successful in this industry, you need to be an expert in a particular area. My immediate plan is to gain more knowledge and project exposure in IT security management in order to become a specialist in this area. In the long-term I would like to become a partner at Ernst & Young.

What advice can you give those who are interested in the industry?
This industry is full of opportunities and challenges. If you like to deal with new things and are eager to face challenges, you are a suitable candidate.

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