Many young graduates look for career fast track and eventually find themselves hopping from one job to another. This is not the story of Norman Tsui, assurance principal, Grant Thornton Hong Kong.
Equipped with an accounting degree, Mr Tsui embarked on a career journey some 16 years ago at an international accountancy firm in Hong Kong. In just five short years, his outstanding performance bestowed on him a position at the firm's Singapore office where he spent a fruitful 10 years to form a solid foundation, before making his latest move to Grant Thornton.
"As one of the leading accountancy firms, Grant Thornton has been quick to furnish me with further growth opportunities that enable me to polish my skills and put things in perspective," Mr Tsui notes.
With extensive experience in audit and business advisory services, Mr Tsui has a number of professional designations tucked under his belt. These include a fellowship of the Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants and a membership of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Singapore. He is also an associate of the Singapore Institute of Taxation and a Fellow of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants.
However, he stresses that true devotion and acumen are what it takes to succeed in his field, or any others. "It is all about hard work," he concedes. "The work is challenging at times and demanding often. This requires us to constantly upgrade our expert knowledge such as the latest in auditing and accounting standards, and strengthen our sensitivity on the changing business environment via attending seminars and taking part in professional development programmes."
Now a partner of the firm, Mr Tsui finds it even more important to plan ahead and continuously look for improvements. He says, "An ideal partnership is formed to pull together available resources, meaning that you must be able to align the work with various departments from the firm, in particular with people who possess and offer expertise in a range of seemingly different but all interrelated disciplines."
Mr Tsui is particularly grateful for all the support he has received from both his peers and the firms he worked for. "For example, Grant Thornton's dedicated technical and training department provides us with an extensive range of in-house learning and development programmes," Mr Tsui says, adding that auditors at the firm are encouraged to enrol in seminars and other external programmes hosted by professional bodies like the Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
According to Mr Tsui, the Singapore and Hong Kong markets share a certain level of similarities in terms of culture, business language (English and Chinese) and practice. "There was no culture shock," he says. "In terms of work, the two places follow closely the international auditing and accounting standards."
For these reasons, Mr Tsui was comfortable enough in taking up major assignments, particularly in providing his clients with financial due diligence reviews for M&A (merger and acquisition) and IPO (initial public offering) exercises both in Hong Kong and Singapore.
Over the years, Mr Tsui has witnessed the growing needs for audit services across Asian countries, especially in the soaring economy — mainland China. "We are an integral part of the mainland," he says. "We must try and understand its unique culture, business practice, as well as its audit and legal systems. The business atmosphere is changing in such speed, that the demand for our services is unprecedented."
The accounting system in mainland China has been modified progressively. Adapting to the new system has been a challenge especially when infusing a sense of globalisation into the fast-paced economy is essential.
Every partner at Grant Thornton oversees a portfolio of clients, including listed companies from Hong Kong and abroad. Today, Mr Tsui finds the greatest job satisfaction in maintaining the close ties between the firm and its mainland customers. "With Hong Kong as window to the mainland, I feel I could make greater effort and contribute to forming a bigger picture for businesses in both regions," he says. "The robust markets at present have remarkable influence on our business development. On the other hand, the increased significance of our work is testimony to the climbing economies."