HKICPA Career Forum 2016: Providing the innovation that clients are looking for
It was at a careers talk by a Big Four firm that Vinccy Lai, financial controller, group finance, at Jardine Matheson, was first attracted to accounting.
“The accounting profession seemed a natural step to take because I enjoy the different aspects of business and commerce,” says Lai, who completed her bachelor of commerce degree in Australia. “I enjoy the variety of the work, which at Jardine’s involves sharing ideas and experiences with people involved in operations covering different business units and industries.”
She explains that she is a good example of someone who has used her CPA qualification to move up the career ladder, and has worked for professional services firms, multinationals and in the local commercial sector.
“The CPA designation is a flexible tool which opens career doors across a range of roles and industries, and even provides the opportunity to work in different countries,” she says.
However, Lai adds, it is important to keep one’s knowledge up to date because regulations, compliance and the way businesses operate are constantly changing. There is always something new to learn, so both practising accountants and those joining the business industry need to find the time to stay on top of current and emerging trends.
“In addition to technical training, learning something new can be useful, even if it is not directly linked to your work,” Lai says. She adds that seminars and workshops offered by the HKICPA cover a wide range of topics, while online learning can also be a good source for strengthening technical skills and knowledge.
As the accountancy profession is increasingly looking beyond the numbers, Lai says it is vital that those joining the profession are eager, open-minded and prepared to learn. Communication with colleagues and clients, in particular, plays a big role in the daily life of an accountant, so developing strong interpersonal and communication skills is important.
“There will be challenges – as there is with any career that involves responsibility – as well as rewards,” Lai says, so it is important to be open to new ideas, widen your knowledge and exposure, and be prepared to provide the innovation that employers and clients are looking for.
For those eager to find out more about the accounting profession, Lai recommends seizing every opportunity to talk to CPAs and ask them questions about their roles and what they enjoy about their work.
This article appeared in the Classified Post print edition as Providing the innovation that clients are looking for.