#008: Elevating the Value of Sustainability & Internal Audit

with Wei Chien Yoong

Our Guest Mentor:

Wei Chien Yoong recently moved to Singapore to take on the role as Audit Lead Asia Pacific at the diversified conglomerate Cargill, the largest private company in the world, and as such she’s a regular business traveller across Southeast Asia. Her current interests are helping finance leverage the value of sustainability audits for the benefit of the business and local communities as well as better understanding the impact of block chain. It’s no accident that given Wei Chien has at one time or another been based out of 3 continents she’s developed a very well-rounded accounting & finance career with valuable perspectives to share on the show.

Wei Chien’s other prior roles included finance transformation implementing Cargill’s Global Business Services Strategy in Malaysia; Finance Director Southeast Asia Process Automation and controls at Invensys with other leadership roles at Diageo, Honeywell & KPMG. Originally from Malaysia Wei Chien has an Executive MBA from Singapore Management University, a Bachelor in Commerce from Western Sydney University, and is a member of CPA Australia.

It was really great to get to know Wei Chien more during the recording of the show, she’s down to earth, articulate, and very passionate about our profession making a positive impact for our businesses and communities.

Key Quotes From the Episode:

“And the profession at the moment requires a very strong people focus, a stakeholder-oriented mindset and an ability to translate, to understand the numbers and interpret the numbers into insight therefore supporting growth and the development of the business.” [03:55]

“The audit profession tends to have a very checkbox mindset it’s very structured, it’s very square, you check off the box and you get your job done, but I don’t think that is going to sustain all of us, because that is not what business is looking for.” [06:27]

“Businesses are looking for auditors who are more well rounded, understands the business, connects with the business, understands the real risks around the business and what are the practical mitigation or control plans that because we’re not talking of a perfect scenario there’s always risks.” [06:40]

“I see a number of changes coming along whether they be via technology or globalisation or it might even be politics that would impact some of the policies as well that will affect the finance professional, so keep an open mind, be curious about things, that will ensure you’ll remain relevant into the futures.” [28:18]

(Other resources and how to connect with Wei Chien below).

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Key Points From the Episode:

  • The one practice we can all do to have a fun, rewarding & successful career in accounting & finance
  • The 3 pillars of sustainability audits and some ideas on where they can improve the bottom line.
  • How diversity in audit perspectives can unlock value for the business
  • What blockchain means for the value proposition of global shared services centres and finance teams into the future.

Time Stamped Show Notes:

[03:23] – Wei Chien talks about how her recent move to Singapore went.

[03:13] – Her family’s role in becoming an accountant.

[03:55] – How the expectations of the modern finance professional have changed.

[05:00] – Why internal audit is in essence a form of finance business partnering.

[05:37] – Where the internal audit team can do more to be more valued business partners.

[06:40] – What businesses are looking from their auditor.

[07:47] – What auditors can do to get those experiences businesses are looking for even if they can’t leave their home country.

[11:05] – Why we should be thinking more about sustainability and sustainability audits.

[12:23] – Describes what a sustainability audit is and its 3 pillars.

[14:58] – What’s really exciting her about her new role.

[15:20] – How diversity in audit perspectives can unlock innovation in ideas for sustainability.

[17:10] – Highlights how automation of shared service centre activity is heavily impacted by its level of maturity.

[20:09] – Why automation in finance & accounting doesn’t have to mean jobs disappear overall.

[21:59] – Her key strategic insight into the white space in between two value chains.

[24:58] – Authenticity, what it means and how it can impact your success as an accountant or finance professional.

[26:40] – Why the human element is so important if a little odd for accountants to say.

[28:18] – Key quality for accounting & finance professional of today and tomorrow.

[29:00] – The importance of blockchain and where it will potentially disrupt accounting & finance.


Resources Mentioned:

Connect with today’s guest:

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