Left: Senior Audit Manager Iven Lim plans, organises and implements audits, overseeing them to completion. He has a Bachelor's Degree in Accountancy from NTU.
Right: Teo Yee Han is an Audit Associate with Foo Kon Tan LLP, where she prepares, plans and executes audit tasks under supervision, and assists other accounting and auditing teams. She is a qualified Association of Chartered Certified Accounts trained professional.
As a fresh graduate in accountancy, where should you start your career?
While many assume it is best to start in one of the Big Four, that might not necessarily be the case. These large firms tend to assign an auditor to a particular industry and keep them there, which means a young professional may not gain an understanding of how things work across sectors.
For that, a sound career move would be to start out with a firm such as Foo Kon Tan (FKT) LLP. FKT is a household name in Singapore accounting, having started operating in the country in 1968 and amassing an impressive portfolio of clients such as Gardens by the Bay among its advisory clients.
Young executives enjoy the opportunity to work in multiple industries from manufacturing, public sector to non-profits, and gain experience in a variety of audit functions including assurance, compliance, business softwa resolutions, and quality control. And thanks to FKT's open-door policy and bold leadership, everyone's opinion is heard and valued in this forward-thinking company
Starting Out With FKT
Self-described "new-joiner" Teo Yee Han can attest to these gains, as she completes her Association of Chartered Certified Accountants practical experience requirements with FKT. As an Audit Associate, she prepares, plans and executes audit tasks under supervision, and assists other accounting and auditing teams as needed.
"The company always leads us to be different and encourages us to stand out by embracing and leading our unique thoughts, ideas, and perspectives. By integrating them into our work, we can surpass our clients' expectations and deliver personalised services with our deep expertise," she said.
Indeed, FKT's success lies in its continued dedication to active listening and customised solutions, and it inculcates the same in its associates. Yee Han recalled how Senior Manager Rindawaty and Managing Partner Kon Yin Tong personally sat down with her and provided guidance when needed.
"They shared their own stories with me, and what the workday would be like," she recalled. "In this way, I understand the meaning of my work and why I should continue doing it, rather than just daily tasks and job scope."
They followed through on their word, giving Yee Han ample opportunity to grow. Though young, she has already gone through multiple job rotations and been trusted with many important projects across a variety of industries – all of which would not have been possible at any other firm.
"Experienced people are the key," said the young auditor. "This company has the most experienced team led by approachable partners to coach and support our development in the workplace."
Sign up for BrightMinds Now
Long Years With FKT
One of these experienced old hands is Iven Lim, Senior Audit Manager. His position is all about guidance, supervising the audit staff on their work processes and keeping clients and partners up to date to ensure a smooth and successful audit process.
He spoke with pride about the FKT team, regaling us with stories of tight deadlines, knotty regulations, and the skilful management that guided him and his team to successful completion. "Our clients compliment us, saying we are professional and competent," he smiled.
However, he and FKT do not intend to simply rest on their laurels. Iven is currently exploring further use of technology in audit. One of the software he uses populates a company's transactions wholesale, making it easy to identify any anomaly. It also automatically detects duplicates, and flags problem areas for further attention.
"If the sales for a particular month are exceptionally higher as compared to prior years, this allows us to investigate on this unusual fluctuation, and corroborate this with client explanations and underlying documents," Iven elaborated. "The technology even allows to detect if there are any instances of multiple payments for a single supplier invoice/staff, which may indicate a lapse."
This forward-looking perspective that accepts and embraces innovation is a characteristic of FKT, and Iven is proud to be part of the team.
There are other gains, too! "We recently enjoyed a sweet treat – muffins and moon cake – that our Managing Partner brought in for us."
The Place to Begin
Obviously, one should not join FKT because there might be baked goods on offer.
Iven provided a much more compelling reason why his company is the best choice for a young graduate. "If you want to gain exposure and learn more, it will be best to start your career at a medium-sized firm like us."
He added: "You will be exposed to a greater body of work in a variety of industries. Also, medium-tier firms are people-oriented and practice an open-door policy, where the staff can freely enter a partner's room to discuss issues."
Yee Han finished with a summary on FKT has to offer: "A people focused organisation with bold leadership and inspired individuals that empowers us to scale greater heights. We offer continuous opportunities for the development of expertise and personal growth."
"The company is ready to provide mentorship in attaining professional qualifications, backed by the strong coaching culture with scheduled training and workshops to mould and develop us."