The One-Minute Interview
Mr Wilson Woo
Ernst & Young
• Congratulations on being appointed as the Vice President, ACCA Singapore Local Executive Committee (LEC). What would the LEC like to achieve this year for the membership?
At the recent AGM, the issue of membership fee increases was discussed. The council had explained the rationale for the fee increases and to a certain extent, being a global membership, the fees charged is consistent across the world regardless of where you are. I’ll like to shift the focus to making full use of the membership fees instead and really think about how we can create greater value for our members by having better programmes and activities that are beneficial to our members.
• You are very successful in your career. What is the one trait which you think has led to your success?
Professionalism! Being a partner with Ernst & Young and in the professional services industry, we have to ensure that we service our clients well consistently. Having said that, servicing our clients well does not necessary mean agreeing with them all the time. There are times when we need to stand by our beliefs and values in doing the right thing, and it is our professionalism that will stand the test of time.
• What has been some of the best career advice you have received?
Be patient and focused in what you do and success will come one day. Building a career is a life-long journey. One needs to demonstrate patience and not be overly eager to reach the top or to make the most money. It is the experiences that you accumulate over time that will underpin and contribute towards your future success.
• How do you spot future leaders in your department and what does your firm do to groom them?
Someone with good potential must demonstrate commitment in everything he or she does. In the audit business, everyone plays a critical role in any engagement regardless of his or her seniority. Therefore someone that truly understands the importance and value of his or her work, have the courage to assume responsibility, the appetite for challenges and the right temperament as a total team player, would make a potentially good future leader. At Ernst & Young, we have structured people development programmes that enable us to identify and nurture our high performers within the firm in a holistic yet targeted manner.
• What are some of the biggest work challenges you have faced and how have you overcome them?
To me, people are our key assets. Keeping talented people motivated, and constantly enriching their experiences so as to help them build long-term careers with the firm are some of the challenges. To overcome this, we need to show genuine interest in engaging and mentoring our people, and this is enabled with the help of various training, development and mobility programmes at Ernst & Young.
• With such a demanding schedule, how do you manage balancing work and family? What advice can you offer fellow members?
When I was much younger, I always believed in “work hard, play hard and sleep less”. Now, I focus on quality rather than quantity, so spending quality time doing what I enjoy is what matters.
• And finally, we know you play very good golf. Can you share with members why golf and work make an ideal combination?
Honestly, no one talks about business on the golf course. Golf is just a means to building relationships with people including clients and business associates. I guess very few other sports can give you that few hours to build relationships and maybe that is why it is seen as an ideal combination.