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ISCA CAREER PATHWAY TALK: ILLUMINATING INSIGHTS INTO MYRIAD OPPORTUNITIES FOR ACCOUNTANTS


Around 70 young Finance and Accounting professionals and accounting undergraduates attended the ISCA Career Pathway Talk

Backed by the successful first run in 2018, the ISCA Young Professionals Advisory Committee (YPAC) presented Season 2 of our highly anticipated Career Pathway Talk. Held on 27 November 2019 at the KPMG Clubhouse, participants enjoyed an evening of fun-filled conversations with food, drinks and laughter.

When asked what type of career an accountancy degree or a Chartered Accountant (CA) qualification brings, responses never fail to deviate from audit and financial accounting roles – stereotypes that are entrenched in many people’s minds. In order to debunk these misconceptions, the panel discussion, titled Opportunities Ahead And Beyond (Season 2), was focused on sharing the various career pathways a CA can pursue in addition to audit and financial accounting roles.

Kicking off the session for the evening was YPAC Chairperson Belinda Teo, Assurance Senior Manager, Ernst & Young LLP. She welcomed the participants and encouraged them to pursue their dreams. Thereafter, John Doyle, Associate Manager, Contracting Division for Accounting and Finance, PageGroup Singapore, shared insights into the company’s recently launched Singapore Salary Benchmark 2020 report. He also addressed some of the common problems faced by both employers and employees in the industry, as well as the current recruitment trends in the Accounting and Finance sector.


YPAC Chairperson Belinda Teo, Assurance Senior Manager, Ernst & Young LLP, delivering her welcome address

Hearing from the panellists

The panel comprised four experts from various fields in the Accounting and Finance sector, bearing testimony to the versatility of a CA qualification. They shared their decisions behind their unconventional career choices, as well as the dilemmas they faced at the crossroads of their careers.

Andre Toh, Partner, Transaction Advisory Services, Ernst & Young Solutions LLP, spoke about how he chose to start his career in advisory and his journey to become a veteran in this field. Wong Dan Chi, Global ESG Specialist, Nikko Asset Management Group, explained how she got into the field of sustainability, the current trend that was unnoticed back then. Maria Teo, Associate Director, Forensics and Litigation, Nexia TS, elaborated on her decision to venture into the field of forensics, an unconventional shift from her original audit and assurance route. Tay Toh Sin, Managing Partner, Alva Investment LLP and Founder, Laevo Art, disclosed the details of how she exited corporate finance to join the business of investing in technology ventures, and touched on her personal endeavour – the art of living.


(From left) Panellists Tay Toh Sin, Managing Partner, Alva Investment LLP and Founder, Laevo Art; Andre Toh, Partner, Transaction Advisory Services, Ernst & Young Solutions LLP; Maria Teo, Associate Director, Forensics and Litigation, Nexia TS; Wong Dan Chi, Global ESG Specialist, Nikko Asset Management Group, and moderator Willy Tai, Business Analyst, Hong Leong Finance

Moderator Willy Tai, Business Analyst, Hong Leong Finance, invited questions from the floor which the speakers responded to candidly. The question that garnered the most interest among the participants centred on their decision to make a mid-career switch, and the various challenges they faced during that transition. Although skills were transferrable across industries, the panellists stressed the importance of continuous learning throughout one’s career. Coupled with the complexity of taking on a completely new role, the Accounting and Finance landscape has also been undergoing revolutionary changes in the past decade. As a result, young accountancy professionals should be well-informed of the latest trends in the economy and the shifts in demand for different business offerings.

As decision-making figures in their respective organisations, the panellists also shared numerous interview tips with the participants. They elaborated on the attributes and attitude they would look for in an ideal candidate. Apart from soft skills, they touched on the practical skill sets and prerequisites that would differentiate a candidate from the rest. The candidate must have a positive attitude towards change, a constant willingness to learn, a good fit into the current organisational culture – all of which point to exponential growth potential.

As they shared amusing anecdotes to illustrate their ideas, the participants also garnered a better understanding of the job requirements and what it takes to make a career switch. The evening ended with a brief networking session, during which many participants approached the speakers to continue the conversations.

If you are keen to join us for our next instalment of the Career Pathway Talk series, do register your interest with us at YPAC. To receive the latest updates and information, follow us on Instagram at @isca_ypac.


A representative from Michael Page, part of the Page Group (in blue jacket), sharing the current recruitment trends, as well as answering participants’ queries

YPAC members, ISCA Industry Support team and panellists