Saturday July 28, 2012
Tan Theng Hooi answers your 10 questions
Deloitte Malaysia country managing partner answers ....
What is the one thing that any business can do to best improve its risk management? Tan Kim Siong, Kuantan
The key for any organisation is to be “risk intelligent” by taking a holistic and unifying approach for building an effective and efficient risk management programme that incorporates risk governance (strategic decision-making and oversight), risk infrastructure and management (designing and implementing a programme led from the top) and risk ownership (measuring and monitoring). Activities across all these levels should be integrated into a systematic, enterprise-wide programme. This embeds a strategic view of risk into all aspects of business management and gives leaders a clear view into the challenges and opportunities that risk can create.
When you were appointed country managing partner of Deloitte Malaysia in October 2008, you said the public accounting practice has a major role to play. What did you mean? M. Ramesh, Puchong
Public accounting practice has a major role to play in today's demanding and challenging business environments. We set the standards for quality and integrity. And we work with all stakeholders including clients, professional bodies and regulators to uphold integrity and confidence in the marketplace. Besides that, we provide opportunities for fresh graduates and young qualified accountants to be trained and prepare them for the challenges ahead.
What is the most valuable lesson you have learnt as country managing partner of Deloitte Malaysia? Mansor Razak, PJ
One of the most valuable lessons I've learnt in recent years is how individuals can collaborate and work together to achieve extraordinary results. Deloitte people in South-East Asia work together as one firm across eight countries, demonstrating that we can achieve greater results by pooling and sharing our resources. With the setup of a shared services centre based in Malaysia, we are able to provide backup support for our practitioners across the region without having to duplicate such resources in each of the country. This has helped us achieve great results by reducing costs, increasing productivity, retaining talents and delivering greater value to our clients.
The ETP is expected to require increased level of accounting expertise and I am glad that the Government recognises this and has proposed a number of accounting sector measures to ensure a successful transformation programme. In view that accountants today play a pivotal role in businesses, it is anticipated that the proposed ETP measures will ensure that Malaysia will continue to have competent accountants of international standards. Increasing the number of accountants is a critical success factor for the Malaysian economic development. Whilst we are eagerly producing high quality accountants, effective talent retention strategies are necessary to slow the flood of talent out the so-called “brain drain”. Being English-speaking and culturally diverse, we are renowned for our adaptability and agility; naturally our talented accountants have become targets for other countries. The measures to encourage highly-qualified Malaysian talent to return home as well as the initiatives to enhance the accounting services sector are positive steps under the ETP.
Malaysia has a reputation for producing a lot of talent in accounting. Do you think this is the case and why? Ken Lee, KL
Malaysia indeed has a reputation for producing a lot of accounting talent where Malaysian universities produce approximately 3,500 fresh accounting graduates and additionally an estimated 3,000 accountants with professional qualification join the workforce annually. The professional accountancy bodies like MIA, MICPA and other foreign professional accounting bodies like ICAEW, ACCA and CPA have done very well in promoting the accounting profession and encouraging students to pursue professional accounting qualifications. In addition, the Big Four accounting firms have been working closely with the professional accounting bodies and institutions of higher learning to ensure graduates are well trained and professionally certified. It is proven that Malaysian accountants are very much in demand as some are heading top conglomerates locally and abroad. Aside from being professionally qualified, they are also multilingual and are renowned for their ability to adapt and work in different cultures and environment.
Name three issues that your firm considers the most challenging and what are you doing about these? Bulbir Singh, Seremban
The top three issues that we consider most challenging are talent, regulatory issues and professional fees.
In the aspects of talent, retaining Gen-Y talent is a prevailing issue not only among the Big Four accounting firms, but across all industries and businesses. Our key initiatives in driving talent retention, particularly the Gen-Y, include offering opportunities to work in various locations via our Global Mobility Programme, job diversification and building deeper engagement with our talents. We constantly ensure that the work place and activities are appealing while we strive to meet work-life balance expectations of our talents.
In terms of regulatory issues, the accounting profession has become highly regulated following the financial crisis and corporate failures. These scenarios have resulted in the introduction of Audit Oversight Board, new accounting and auditing standards and other regulatory measures which potentially pose some challenges to all stakeholders. To ensure that our people are kept abreast with these ongoing regulatory changes, we invest in additional resources to ensure that high quality work is consistently delivered to our clients. Additionally, we provide support in training and implement continuous learning programmes where professionals spend the required hours annually being updated on the latest developments.
Fees remain a challenge with the professional services industry. Comparatively, accounting fees in Malaysia are among the lowest in the region. This poses a challenge in retaining talents and attracting overseas talents to return. To overcome that, we invest heavily in hiring senior professionals with foreign experience from the Deloitte network to ensure that we deliver world-class quality and value-added work to our clients. Very often, we found that when we deliver high quality work, our clients are prepared to pay the fair fee that matches our work value.
What do you look for when recruiting young auditors, tax consultants and management consultants? Jenny Ng, Penang
We look out for a solid academic track record to ensure they are highly trainable. Additionally, graduates who are all-rounders possessing leadership qualities, a strong command of English, good communication skills with the ability to work in a team and deal with complicated issues have an added advantage. High performers who desire to excel in the accounting profession are in great demand.
Branding wise, how does Deloitte fare when compared with the rest of the Big Four? PricewaterhouseCoppers (PwC), KPMG and Ernst and Young immediately ring a bell, but that is not necessarily the case with Deloitte. William Ng, Johor Baru
Globally, Deloitte and PwC are the largest of the Big Four by a significant margin and the gap between these two is very small. Deloitte has consistently been the fastest growing organisation around the world for many years, which led to us catching and overtaking our competitors. However, in Malaysia, the market is more competitive and Deloitte is the youngest of the Big Four. Although we were founded in 1968, we were known as Kassim Chan & Co until 2000 when we rebranded our practice to Deloitte.
We are now taking steps to invest and to build a stronger brand presence in Malaysia and the region. The consistent message we are receiving from our clients is that they are extremely satisfied with our services which are seamless and consistent with the global standards of “the Deloitte difference” as we deliver the Deloitte promise to our clients. Today, we are well known in the marketplace as the leading tax and consulting practice besides having a strong audit client base serving many large renowned multinationals and local public listed companies.
When did you decide on a career in audit and why? Eugenie Devan, Bangsar
I decided to pursue a career in accountancy after completing my A-levels. Coming from a family background where all family members were running businesses of their own, I was naturally influenced to start a career related to business. Hence, the accountancy profession was my preferred choice as I perceived that it pays relatively well at that time whilst offering a secure and stable profession. When I was offered to do my accountancy articleship with Deloitte, I jumped at the opportunity and never looked back.
After I qualified as a professional accountant, I was constantly given new opportunities in varied roles and responsibilities within the organisation and this has kept me going until today. I find these new opportunities in my career very exciting and challenging yet truly inspiring and rewarding.
Auditing isn't exactly the most exciting job in the world. What are the benefits of having auditing knowledge and how does this apply in everyday life? Shahril Cheh Buang, KL
The auditing profession inculcates core values on integrity, independence, ethical behaviour and conduct as well as professional skepticism. These are valuable attributes gained by the professionals and are tremendously beneficial when applied to everyday life. Auditors are also trained to exercise professional judgment with business sense. Personally, I find this is very important in making sound, professional business decisions.