Janet Wong’s job as Senior Analyst of Internal Control at Estée Lauder Companies involves a rigorous travel schedule, and requires her to always be quick on her feet. The young member tells A Plus the important lessons she’s learned from supervisors, and how her CPA skills help each day
What is your current role and responsibilities? How is it going so far?
I perform risk-based reviews on our Asia-Pacific affiliates to ensure efficiency and effectiveness, for example in their retail and e-commerce operations, supply chain, and inventory management. Though challenging, I’d say things are going very well and I enjoy the job.
What are the most rewarding and challenging aspects of your role, and why?
I love travelling, and because we need to audit different affiliates across Asia-Pacific, I can travel with my team to places such as South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore and Mainland China. The audit work, however, can be challenging due to the company’s diverse portfolio of brands, so I need to be a quick learner and really understand each company’s technical process. This means doing my own research before the trip.
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?
I would like to remain at Estée Lauder focusing on internal audit for the next few years, and aim to be senior general manager one day. In the future I would like to specialize in risk management and advisory, as I feel it would provide me a better overall view of a company’s business.
What has been the biggest challenge you have faced in your career so far and how did you overcome it?
I also had to travel quite a bit during my previous role at Esprit to perform on-site audits on our company’s operations in Europe, such as in Germany, Sweden and Denmark, and there would often be miscommunication due to language barriers and differences in working styles. Though it can be frustrating, I learned the need to be patient, and to understand that others work differently. I remember we once requested our colleagues in Germany to send us urgent documents – but since it was a holiday the following day for them, they asked if we could send it after. With careful communication, they were fortunately able to send everything before the holiday. I believe working with people from different cultures really gives you a global mindset.
What are the biggest lessons you have learned so far from work experience or managers?
I learned how to strike a balance between my quality of work and timeliness of work submission. I used to take hours and work late into the night to check and perfect my working papers. My previous boss taught me that timeliness is everything, and if I run into problems, that I should seek direction from managers to address any issues earlier on, which speeds up the process.
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 very structured, and teaches what you really need to know in the business world. I found Module C, Business Assurance, to be most useful in my current role as it covered internal audit, and the red flags to look out for when identifying audit fraud. The QP really is a bridge between a typical university student and a professional. The exams were really tough, but if I hadn’t taken part in this programme, I wouldn’t have been able to understand the business world as well.