As Accounting Manager of Ednovators, a local non-governmental organization (NGO), Leanne Law relies heavily on her accounting expertise to help the NGO find the best way forward. She tells A Plus how she advises management in her role and why she plans to continue working with NGOs in years to come
What is your current role and responsibilities? How is it going so far?
I’m an Accounting Manager at Ednovators, a local NGO. We believe that technology can be better utilized to teach children. Our mission is to introduce innovative teaching methodologies to schools, with the aim of enriching the education of both students and teachers around Hong Kong. By partnering with schools, we arrange training and one-on-one coaching for teachers to learn how to use teaching methodologies in their lessons. For example, we have been training teachers to effectively use video conferencing software such as Zoom to conduct online classes. We also coach teachers in employing the use of “design thinking,” a solution-based approach to solving problems, in their lessons. Many of our courses overlap with the required training courses provided by Hong Kong’s Education Bureau. In my role, I’m in charge of managing the NGO’s budget, overseeing its internal controls and handling financial documentation. When we receive funding, I put together a report to indicate how the money will be used. The job is going well. I manage another bookkeeper who is in charge of other basic accounting duties, while I’m in charge of preparing financial reports. I also work directly with the board of directors and executive directors, which is something I truly appreciate.
What are the most rewarding and challenging aspects of your role, and why?
For me, it’s working with members of management, who may or may not have knowledge in accounting. So it’s my job to convey the meaning behind the numbers in a way that they understand. For example, if the company is working with a limited budget, I would have to determine how long we can operate with this budget, the impact it would have on the teachers, and whether it would be enough to finance any overseas training for them. This is also the most rewarding aspect of the job. It’s the first job I’ve had that allows me to work directly with the board of directors and executive directors, so I need to respond quickly to their needs. It definitely takes time to develop the right approach to communicate with them.
What inspired you to become an accountant?
In secondary school, I actually wanted to become a teacher. But after my final exams, I didn’t receive an offer to do a teaching degree. Instead, I was offered the opportunity to study an associate degree in accounting. I decided to go with it since I’d already learned a bit about it. I enjoyed it, and decided to pursue a full degree in accounting. I’ve been an accountant for over 10 years, and can say that it offers a very stable career.
Where do you see yourself in the next five to 10 years in your career? Which field do you plan on specializing in, and why?
My goal is to become a financial controller of an NGO within the next 10 years. There is a sense of purpose that comes with working at an NGO, and it truly feels rewarding to help meet social needs. I started my career at the Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority, and then worked at the Hospital Authority for three years where I was in charge of management accounting and overseeing its yearly budget. I went on to work at Room to Read, an international NGO focused on the education of children in Southeast Asia and Africa. At Room To Read, I had the chance of working with accounting and development staff in the United States and needed to familiarize myself with generally accepted accounting principles. I then worked at The Nature Conservancy in Hong Kong where I focused on environmental protection before coming to work at Ednovators. Having experienced what it’s like to work at NGO, I hope to continue working at one for the foreseeable future. The people I’ve met are truly passionate about their jobs and are all committed to working towards the NGO’s mission.
How do you think the Qualification Programme (QP) has helped you in your career so far, or prepared you for your current role?
The QP is a basic requirement for all CPAs in Hong Kong. Having a CPA qualification gives people more confidence in the work that you do. I found the Module A financial reporting to be the most helpful. The QP lays down the foundation for someone to become an accounting manager or to take on a senior accounting position.