Getting a wider picture of business operations

Recently appointed an Associate at KPMG in Malaysia, BSc Accounting and Finance graduate Tan Hui Xian tells us about her career so far
Conducting an audit
Tan Hui Xian: "Choose the career path that you like rather than follow the crowd"
We studied a wide range of subjects even though we were majoring in Accounting and Finance. This helped us gain a basic understanding of numerous fields.

My studies: I studied for a University of London BSc in Accounting and Finance at HELP Academy, Malaysia. We studied a wide range of subjects, ranging from accounting, finance, economics, statistics and mathematics, even though we were majoring in Accounting and Finance. This helped us have a basic understanding of these fields. Studying for a University of London degree strengthened my self-discipline and time management skills. I advise if you want to be successful in examinations not to wait until the last minute, but studying consistently will help you to have a greater chance to excel.

My company and job: KPMG is one of the Big Four Accounting Firms. It provides audit, tax and advisory services. Currently, I am attached to the Internal Audit, Risk and Compliance Services department. We perform the fieldwork for internal audit engagements, searching for potential improvement opportunities which are value-added for our clients.

The best and worst bits of my job: The best bit is uncertainty. We do not know what will be our next engagement, who the team members are, and where are we heading to - in terms of the client’s location. It is full of challenges. The worst bit is that the job drags you away from your comfort zone. We are required to travel to different parts of Malaysia and even overseas. It will just be your team and you. You can suffer from homesickness and also feel the pressure of tight deadlines. It really spices up your life.

My happiest moment at work: The best part of my job is being able to finish the scope of work assigned for the client within the stipulated deadline. We are required to be well briefed prior to interviewing the client where the aim is to get additional information or to confirm factual accuracy. Luckily, all the seniors are very helpful and willing to give guidance throughout the engagement. I really learn a lot every day in terms of technical skills and soft skills.

Getting the job: After submitting my job application, we took online assessment tests, written tests, and then went for interview sessions. It is crucial that you do some research on the nature of the job for which you have applied prior to submitting your application. You should be familiar with the nature and position you have applied for.

Postgraduate/professional qualifications: Currently, I am pursuing a Certified Internal Auditor Certificate. This certificate broadens your technical knowledge in the internal audit field.

Be prepared: You will have a steep learning curve. We are involved in a wide range of industries and scopes of audit. For one internal audit engagement, which usually takes three to four weeks, we are required to understand, perform testing and search for improvement opportunities.

Some advice: Choose the career path that you like rather than follow the crowd.