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Opening doors with accountancy

Published on Friday, 04 Jan 2013
Alison Yam
Simon Ho

Alison Yam, senior associate for restructuring services at Deloitte & Touche Financial Advisory Services, says that being an accountant has helped her career to blossom.

“Accounting enables me to pursue many different career pathways, such as commercial, corporate or even proprietary business. It is a language of business and one of the essential skills one must have in the commercial world,” she says.

Yam has attended every CPA Australia Career Expo since she graduated in 2010. “I was surprised that I could continue to benefit from the expo just by participating year after year. Meeting with potential employers enabled me to gain insights into employment opportunities and different accounting firms’ recruitment standards,” she says.

The expo has also given Yam the opportunity to engage with employees of exhibiting companies and get advice from elite industry figures, many of whom are senior members of CPA Australia, from some of the largest and most renowned accounting firms in Hong Kong.

Yam advises expo attendees, especially first-timers, to explore as many different firms and industries as possible to determine a suitable career path.

“Be proactive. This is the perfect opportunity to ask the right people how you can be successful in this industry. And be prepared. You could meet your future employers here, so you need to impress them.”

One of the most important qualities Yam looks for in a potential employer is the company’s reputation. “Working in a firm that upholds high work and performance standards will eventually help me develop a high-quality practice,” she says.

Another vital aspect she considers is staff support. “It is essential that accountants update themselves regularly with the latest regulations, laws, standards and practices. It is therefore important that the firm is in line with this view and that it provides staff with adequate resources.”

Simon Ho, vice-president of sales and marketing – Asia for Financial Express, became an accountant because of his interest in working with numbers and analysis. As he became more involved in the profession, however, he grew to appreciate the dynamic nature of the field.

“I was exposed to businesses across different industries. This allowed me to understand their uniqueness, along with the opportunities and difficulties they encountered,” he says.

Ho is no longer an accountant, but his experience has led to a career in finance. “My stint in accounting has given me a set of highly sought-after transferable skills, such as attention to detail, reasoning and analytical ability,” he says.

Being a member of CPA Australia has had a strong impact on Ho’s career. “With its reputation and international standing, CPA Australia brings together like-minded professionals with whom I have had the pleasure to meet and learn from during regular events and training courses.”

He shares the view that a career in accounting can lead to a number of other opportunities in different professional fields.

“The accounting qualification certainly opens a lot of doors, especially in finance and compliance. The qualification provides my employers a sense of assurance in my competency, along with the professionalism shown in my work through my accounting training,” he says.

Sustainability is one of the attributes Ho looks for in a potential employer. “The organisation should be growing or possess the potential to grow. It is also vital that a firm values the career development of their staff and offers training opportunities,” he says.

“It should also provide a working culture that encourages open communication and the flexibility necessary to achieve a good work-life balance.”

BDO Limited, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, Ernst & Young, Grant Thornton Hong Kong, KPMG, Manulife Financial, PricewaterhouseCoopers, RSM Nelson Wheeler, Shinewing (HK) CPA

Baker Tilly Hong Kong, CWCC, FTI Consulting (Hong Kong), KCS Hong Kong, PKF, Standard Chartered Bank (HK), Tricor Services Limited

Michael Page International

South China Morning Post – Classified Post

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