in collaboration with
Table of Contents
New membership pathways 5
into CPA Australia
Quick Updates: Job Trends & the 7
Evolution of an Accountant’s Role
How much are you getting? 8
Join the CPA Passport student 10
How To Survive and Look for a Job 12
In Tough Times in collaboration with
How Do I Write My Resume? 14
Resume Writing Tips 16
Welcome to the StreetSmart Guide
How Best To Seek Jobs, Where Do I Look? 19 to Job Hunting, your handy resource in
starting your career.
A world of opportunities 22
Where do I start? How do I write a good
What Is The Right Job? Choose Your Best Fit 24 resume? How do I excel in interviews?
How does the web approach work?
The global accountancy designation for 26
strategic business leaders These are some of the many questions
you probably would ask yourself when
Take Your Best Pick – Weigh Your Job Options 28 looking for a job. As you flip through
the pages of this Guide, you will find
The skills successful employers are looking for 29 comfort in knowing exactly what to do
How to Handle Interviews 31
It Doesn’t End There - Remind Them of You! 34 Please be reminded that this Guide
does not serve as the ultimate
Wheel & Deal - Negotiate Your Package 36 advice provider. It only serves as a
comprehensive and resourceful friend
in helping the most important element:
Moderator - Simon Si YOU. Here’s the first advice: Read
Project Manager - Winnie Lee plenty more about job hunting because
Editorial - Matthew Ong as you read more, you will learn more
Creatives - David Wong
Advertisements - email@example.com and this can only benefit you.
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50300 Kuala Lumpur omissions. The views and opinions expressed in this book do
nowboarding.cpaaustralia.com.au T +603 2176 0333, F +603 2698 7200 not necessarily reflect the views of JobStreet.com.
New membership pathways into
CPA Australia’s new membership pathways and enhanced CPA Program pave the way for
candidates studying any discipline the opportunity to join one of the largest networks of
business and finance professionals in the world with a membership of more than 122,000
members in over 100 countries.
Whether you are studying finance, business, I.T or even engineering, you can benefit from a
career built on professional accounting skills.
The increased accessibility to the CPA Program provides candidates from accounting and
non-accounting backgrounds a streamlined pathway to achieve the CPA (Aust.) designation.
The enhanced program is a crucial part of CPA Australia’s efforts to ensure the designation
continues to be recognised by employers globally as a highly valuable asset that drives
As a CPA Australia member, you’ll gain instant recognition and professional credibility
associated with having the letters CPA (Aust.) after your name. You’ll be internationally
recognised as a leader in finance, accounting and business by the Malaysian Institute of
Accountants and other professional bodies in Canada, Hong Kong, Singapore, UK and USA.
The CPA Program is structured as distance learning. Candidates are provided with the
segment manuals and learning aids including computer-based education and online
support program. This means there are no compulsory classes. Students can choose how
they want to be supported and they can study anywhere in the world at any time at their
The CPA Program integrates educational and practical experience, designed to equip you
with all of the technical, business, personal effectiveness and leadership skills you’ll need to
be a CPA (Aust.).
The educational component of the CPA Program is broken into foundation and professional
The foundation level provides you with a base of knowledge of accounting principles and
practices that undergo the financial dimension of an organisation covering eight core
The professional level builds on your foundation knowledge with higher level analysis,
judgement, decision making and reporting. It focuses on ethics, governance and global
strategy & leadership which makes a CPA Australia member stand out from other
The practical experience requirement of the CPA Program is part of the professional level and
is undertaken concurrently with the educational component which ensures you become a
For more information on CPA Australia or CPA Program visit:
Suite 10.01, level 10, The Gardens South Tower, Mid Valley City, Lingkaran Syed Putra 59200 Kuala Lumpur
nowboarding.cpaaustralia.com.au T +603 2267 3388 | E firstname.lastname@example.org | W cpaaustralia.com.au
Quick Updates: Job Trends & the Evolution of
an Accountant’s Role
Times have changed and much has happened in the world of accounting and finance, all of which
have contributed to changing job trends and a rapid evolution of an accountant’s role in today’s
workplace. You need to stay alert of what’s happening around you and what the future holds.
Knowing and understanding the current trend will help tremendously in your career planning.
Year 2009 -1st Half
Ranking Top 5 Specialization
1 Finance - General/ Cost Accounting
2 Marketing/ Business Development
3 IT/ Computer- Software
4 Clerical/ Administrative Support
5 IT/ Computer- Network/ System/ Database Admin
Ranking Top 5 Specialization
1 Finance - General/ Cost Accounting
2 IT/ Computer- Software
3 IT/ Computer- Network/ System/Database Admin
4 Marketing/ Business Development
5 Clerical/ Administrative Support
Ranking Top 5 Specialization
1 Finance - General/Cost Accounting
2 IT/Computer - Software
3 IT/Computer - Network/System/Database Admin
4 Marketing/Business Development
5 Clerical/Administrative Support
In terms of job posting numbers, the hard times have not spared accounting and finance jobs as we
see a general decrease in the hiring numbers across the country. Even then, these charts (above)
showcase the top 5 specializations in demand for each year and clearly, the need for finance/
accounting positions have not waned since 2007. The recent years have seen marketing positions
moving upwards in ranking but finance positions remain strongly rooted on top. It should also be
noted that out of all the jobs posted, 36% of them listed CPA/Professional Qualified Accountants as
part of the requirements.
How much are you getting?
Senior Manager Manager Senior Executive Junior Executive Fresh / Entry Level Non-Executive
Position Level Min Max Min Max Min Max Min Max Min Max Min Max
RM RM RM RM RM RM RM RM RM RM RM RM
Finance - Audit/Taxation 5,625 10,000 4,000 6,500 2,200 3,700 1,500 2,400 500 1,550 850 1,800
Finance - Corporate 6,875 12,000 4,000 6,795 2,500 4,000 1,800 2,600 1,000 2,000 1,103 2,000
Finance - General/Cost Accounting 6,000 10,788 4,000 6,500 2,300 3,500 1,500 2,378 864 1,600 1,100 1,800
Whether you are a fresh graduate or a senior manager, it’s also important to know where
you stand in terms of salary. Above is our salary report which shows the minimum and
maximum pay of each position according to their fields. Typically, executives earn below CPA Passport
RM4,000 with managers and senior managers earning up to RM12,000. The difference in
the minimum and maximum amount each position level receives varies little in positions CPA Passport is CPA Australia’s global student network. It’s your ticket to the broadest
which are executive (with differences of up to RM1,500). It only widens at managerial career options available in Australia and overseas. It provides more resources, networking
positions where the differences are around RM 5,000 and above. opportunities, study support, ongoing training and work experience programs than any
other professional body of its kind.
The Evolution of an Accountant’s role:
As businesses go global and transform in light of technological advances, so does the Magazine access Internship program
role of an accountant. Where accountants of old were used to a localized business
As a CPA Passport student you’ll get free The CPA Australia Internship Program is about
environment, today’s accountants have to deal with an increasing demand to be more
specialized in a dynamic and global business world. access to Real Business magazine – the only helping you find relevant professional experience
finance, accounting and business magazine throughout Australia, China, Hong Kong,
Yet another interesting development is how an accountant’s role has become more specifically for students. Singapore and Malaysia with great employers.
strategic rather than operational role. As a result, accountants today are required to Over 90 organisations signed up for the program
be more dynamic, proactive, business savvy, strategic, and possess high business in 2008 from industries such as banking, energy,
intelligence. All this is a far cry from accountants before where cautiousness and standard Professional and
finance, government, professional services and
routines were common practice. current resources
resources providing paid professional placements.
When assignment time hits there’s no better
resource than cpaaustralia.com.au, containing For more information on the 2009 – 2010
In a nutshell, would-be accountants today must realize that today’s businesses need
everything you need to know from the world of internship program check out
accountants to be more than merely accountants. They need to be strategic partners
in an organization, a valuable arm of the institution capable of addressing issues or finance, accounting and business. cpacareers.com.au
problems in creative and flexible means. Companies are still hiring, and those who are
CPA/Professional Qualified Accountants will find themselves in a favorable position.
Join the CPA Passport student network
Get yourself a head start in the ultra-competitive employment CPA Passport events such as CPA Australia Career Market Day, undergraduate conferences,
market by joining CPA Australia’s CPA Passport student network camps and office trips. All these at absolutely no cost at all!
which is open to undergraduates and graduates. You’ll get
access to global networking opportunities, career fairs, online I also joined the Taylor’s University College - CPA Australia Student Charter where I
resources, career advice and tips, as well as the CPA Australia
was elected president last year. The student charter is dedicated to providing learning,
networking and personal development opportunities to its members. Personally, I feel
that the charter has provided a solid platform for my personal growth, as I get to lead a
CPA Passport student Chua Chye Soon shares with us what the
Chua Chye Soon
CPA Passport Program means to him. CPA Passport student team of enthusiastic students, manage events and make contacts with industry players.
Tell us about yourself. Why do you want to pursue a career in accounting?
I am a final year student currently enrolled in the University of South Australia’s Bachelor
Having strong technical knowledge does not guarantee success as other factors such
of Commerce (Accounting & Finance) via a twinning arrangement between the University
as people, financial resources, timing, luck and opportunities also almost always play a
and Taylor’s University College.
part in determining success or failure. As I see myself as a business person in the future,
How did you join the CPA Passport network? the possibility of me venturing into any industry is very high. As I am unable to learn
My understanding has been that CPA Australia is a professional accounting body aimed everything now, I believe that equipping myself with accounting knowledge seems to
at providing benefits only to its members. Little did I know that CPA Australia also has a be the best bet. This is why I want to get into the accounting field because it is certainly
student network that focuses in providing benefits to students until CPA Australia staff relevant in all businesses.
came over to Taylor’s University College and delivered a talk during the orientation day in
my first semester. I found it interesting and I joined the CPA Passport network immediately
after that talk.
How beneficial is the CPA Passport network and what do you think
about the CPA Australia student charter?
I was excited by the various benefits that an undergraduate can reap from joining the
CPA Passport network - getting free newsletters and magazines, participating in various
• Research your options:
Does your industry or line of work offer
little promise of employment in the coming
months? If so, now is a good time to step
back to identify the projected top performing
industries and jobs. The best place to find this
information in the Web is through a Google
or Yahoo search. Start with “best industries
work recession” or “recession jobs 2008” to
Which one are you? Rethink your current or past job to understand your position
uncover articles describing some of the more
in the bigger corporate picture. Here are some questions to ask yourself:
“recession-proof” sectors to target.
- How did my work improve the performance of my department or
• Change your focus:
Start asking yourself the question “What’s in
it for them?” as opposed to “What’s in it for
- How many roles did I perform that saved the company the expense of
me?” Especially in an economic downturn,
added employees or contractors?
you will want to stay focused on what you
can accomplish for your next employer. Show
- How has my work made the work of others (employees and managers)
them that you understand the macroeconomic
easier, faster and more effective?
“bigger picture” of the role you play in moving
the company forward.
Collect specific examples of the benefit that your company gained from the work
• Sell results, not skills:
you’ve already performed. Clarify the specific benefits your company received
Leave behind that old mindset that your job-related skills or length of service are
by making money or saving money, and write them down.
selling factors. The new mindset is to think of yourself as a mini profit-and-loss
centre rather than just an employee. Employers today buy results and are less
• Add achievements to your resume:
impressed with candidates promoting a long laundry list of skills. You will want
Employers do not hire employees, they hire problem-solvers. Your new resume
to define the many ways your past and present job performance is an asset to
should be a hard-hitting sales tool designed to accomplish one goal: get the
your next employer.
interview. To demonstrate this, add a specific list of achievements to your
resume. Take the list that you developed in the previous section and hone it
• Start talking money:
down to your biggest and most notable accomplishments. Now, describe the
The downturn has made the private sector economy even more bottom-line-
benefit that your employer gained from each example. This will put you several
oriented than ever. Hiring managers categorize employees into one of two
steps ahead of your job-seeking competitors. Plus, you will now have some
distinct groups: a) those who help make money, and b) those who help save
talking points ready for that next phone interview.
How Do I Write My Resume ? FUNCTIONAL RESUME organizes work history into sections that highlight
skills and accomplishments deemed most appropriate for the position. Job hop-
Do It To Your Strengths pers, career changers and fresh graduates may use this type to make sense of
seemingly disconnected experiences and display transferable skills and related
achievements. It could raise concerns that it is being used to cover information
gaps and a spotty employment record. Employers might also encounter difficul-
ties matching skills and accomplishments to actual job titles, dates and respon-
sibilities. To avoid this, include the company name in the bulleted description of
your accomplishments. Do not omit at least a brief chronological listing of your
COMBINATION RESUME tries to merge the best features of the chronologi-
cal and functional types – incorporating both a chronological work history and a
skills and achievements section. In this format, skills and accomplishments get
top billing followed by employment history. The combination resume may not
sit well with some employers who may find these longer resumes particularly
After that self-assessment, it is time to go into action – that is, to plunk yourself repetitious and confusing. This format can be a good tool, however, for some-
before the computer and compose a power resume. Any job hunter worth his one with strong editing skills.
salt knows a good resume is the key to an interview invitation and ultimately,
to employment. Aside from a summary of your abilities, work experience and
education, a resume should reveal your unique selling point to entice a potential CURRICULUM VITAE is sometimes used interchangeably with resume but
employer to “buy” you. by formal definition, a curriculum vitae refers to a detailed, lengthy and struc-
tured outline of educational background, publications, projects, awards and
The secret to an irresistible resume is to address the specific needs of a specific
work history. It can run up to 20 pages and usually employed by educators and
job. A tailored resume has infinitely more impact than a one-size-fits-all. To craft
such a resume, you need to firstly organize information under specific headings scientists boasting extensive academic and professional credentials and seeking
such as education, academic achievements, work experience (if any), skills and positions in education or research.
activities. When you have them all on paper, decide on the proper format to play
up outstanding qualities that fit into the job’s requirements. Here are several ELECTRONIC RESUME is one that can be sent by email or viewed on the
kinds of resumes for your perusal.
Internet and specially formatted for scanning and searching by optical scanning
CHRONOLOGICAL RESUME is the most conventional as it emphasizes on systems. This format is frequently used when sending resumes to electronic
an itemized employment history. Career milestones are presented in reverse resume banks and job sites. It is becoming an increasingly popular choice as it
chronological order, starting with the current position held. Each position is fast, effective and convenient. It can come in different file formats but experts
contains a description of relevant responsibilities and accomplishments. Ideal
for candidates with solid experience and progressive job history in a field or recommend using the ASCII text file formats as they are universally recognized
industry, and want to continue along a similar career path. Most employers by computer systems.
prefer this style as it is based on facts and easily digestible.
CHRONOLOGICAL RESUME SAMPLE
RESUME WRITING TIPS DAVID LOW
Blk 223, Bukit Pertama, #07-210
75450 Kuala Lumpur.
• AVOID SPELLING BOO BOOS. Errors such as simple typo blunders re- email@example.com
flect poorly on you. Proofread separately until your resume is perfect. OBJECTIVE
A challenging sales and marketing position with an IT or Internet company
• STREAMLINE. Remove personal pronouns like “I” and articles like
“a”, “an” and “the” to create punchy phrases and maximize space. 2007 – Present Sales Manager, Data Solutions Sdn Bhd.
• Top Salesperson for 2007.
• Promoted to Manager within one year of joining company.
• Developed new client relationships for company resulting in in-
• USE POWER VERBS. Action words add “oomph” to your writing and creased sales revenue of 25% since assuming management of
sales force in 1998.
enable you to describe clearly what you did and how well you did it. • In charge of managing and motivating sales force of 15
• Developed quality control measures for customer service
• USE PERSONAL DETAILS SPARINGLY. Leave out extraneous informa- 1994 – 1996 Assistant Sales Manager, Seven Seas Import Co. Sdn Bhd
• Top Salesperson 1994 – 1996
tion to free up limited space. This includes names, parents’ occupations, • Made cold-calls and follow-up visits to vendors and retail outlets
birthplace, etc. Reserve these details when asked during the interview. • Observations made during client contacts helped to strategically
broaden product range offered by company resulting in new high
profit margin product line.
• BE CONCISE. Resumes are often screened in 10 seconds or less. 1990 – 1993 P/T Sales Representative, Hygeia Health Products Sdn Bhd.
Be brief and to the point. Use bullet points to underscore im- •
Developed sales leads through personal contacts and referrals.
Achieved highest commission bracket despite working part-time.
portant information. Employ paragraph breaks, lines and num-
bers. Your resume should not be more than two pages, or if 2000 – Present Stanstead Business School, Kuala Lumpur.
Working towards a Bachelor of Business Administration Night classes in
you have extensive professional experience, three pages long. Data Management, Marketing and Cust. Relations.
1991 – 1993 Nanling Polytechnic, Kuala Lumpur.
Diploma in Business Management
• MAKE IT AN EASY READ. Your resume should be visually appealing.
A carelessly printed, sloppily designed resume is a challenge to most 1987 – 1990 SMK Damansara, Kuala Lumpur.
recruiters. Use a font size of at least 10, and at the most two conser- OTHER
IT Skills : MS Office (Word, Excel, Power Point, Publisher, Access)
vative type styles. Underlined and bold text should be used spar- Languages Spoken : Chinese (Mandarin, Hokkien, Teochew), Bahasa Melayu, and English
ingly and only to highlight significant data or indicate section breaks. REFERENCES
Mr. Andrew Lim General Manager, System Resources Inc.
Mr. Alan Tong CEO, Seven Seas Import Sdn Bhd
Dr. Judith Prahba Professor of Marketing, Stanstead Business School
FUNCTIONAL RESUME SAMPLE
How Best To Seek Jobs
Where Do I Look ?
27 Jalan Bunga Raya,
73520 Kuala Lumpur. There are many ways to seek your first job. Traditionally, you
(03) 3325874 can ask your relatives, look through the newspapers, go to
(hp) 0123325874 employment agencies or attend walk-in interviews.
OBJECTIVE On-line recruitment is another avenue for you. In fact, on-line recruitment is fast
Seeking a position in public relations with a regional or multinational company. growing in popularity with jobseekers looking for jobs and employers looking to
hire. The underlying reasons behind its growth in popularity are:
RELEVANT SKILLS & ACHIEVEMENTS
Public Relations • It’s Convenient
• As a summer intern with a national software company, wrote press releases
and coordinated with public relations for a major product launch.
Look for jobs from the comfort of your own home or wherever you have access
• Class spokesperson on student-faculty campus council for three successive to the Internet. You do not have to sift through pages upon pages of newspaper
years at university. advertisements, buy stamps, stick them on envelopes and send your applications
• Selected and serves as one of Singapore’s national student representatives out. You are able to apply, monitor all your applications and check their status
for the International Cultural Festival, 1994. all at once from where you are seated.
Writing • It’s Quick
• Assistant editor of student-run weekly current events paper at university. There are snail mails and then there are emails. Given an option, you obviously
• Published three guest editorials in the local Mesa Chronicle.
• Wrote and co-directed several publicly performed plays in high school and JC.
would not prefer sending applications through the postal service because you
will be wondering if they had actually reached the intended recipients or whether
Managing they would take days or weeks to arrive. With on-line recruitment, you can
• Planned and coordinated cultural awareness festival at university that apply with a click of a button and you can be sure the application is submitted
involved over a dozen organizations and was attended by 2,500 students. immediately. The speed of email ensures you get a reply in a timely manner.
• Directed a university volunteer program for local Adopt-a-Sister program, in
volving twenty-five felame students. • It’s Accurate
Get alerted only on vacancies that interest you. On-line systems allow very
specialized job alerts where you can look only at the vacancies you want to
Cheyenne Software Corp. Public Relations Intern Summer 2000
Mesa St. Journal Assistant Editor 1997 – 1999
apply for or be notified of any vacancy that matches your qualifications and
interests. With that, you only will filter through appropriate jobs and need not
EDUCATION be frustrated with discovering that you are engaging yourself with irrelevant job
Mesa St. University Mesa, California functions.
B.S. Public Relations 1995 – 1999
Honours (3.5/4.0) • You get more out of it
Job hunting aside, you are able to find many other resources to enhance your
Joaquim Junior College Singapore personal development. You will be able to find most of what this Guide offers
you and perhaps even more to help you progress in your career. Visit www.
Furnished Upon Request jobstreet.com and take some time to explore the website to discover what are
readily available to you.
So you see, the evolution in job hunting has brought on-line recruitment to the
fore in preference and effectiveness. Looking for a job is tedious enough. Would
you not rather relieve yourself of the cumbersome routine of conventional job
hunting methods? Give on-line recruitment a try! Visit www.jobstreet.com.
Now more students can
become a CPA (Aust.).
Today’s CPA Program now offers even for today plus the knowledge to become
more ways to become a CPA (Aust.). a strategic business leader of tomorrow.
So, whether you’re studying an CPA Program is a rigorous and fully
accounting, ﬁnance, business or even integrated education and experience
an IT or engineering degree, you too can program that exceeds world-class ethical
beneﬁt from a career built on professional and professional standards. It is also
accounting skills. recognised and respected around the
world. That’s why today’s employers
A professional accounting qualiﬁcation choose CPAs.
opens up a world of opportunities,
including a wide variety of business
careers. As one of the world’s leading Visit our website to ﬁnd out how you
professional accounting bodies, CPA can secure career excellence with
Australia gives you the technical expertise CPA Australia.
A world of opportunities What are the benefits of the CPA Program and how does it relate to
your past studies and current work?
Through strategic alliances with other organisations in North I am in the process of finishing my CPA Program which enables me to learn the necessary
America, Europe and Asia, CPA Australia members form part skills and knowledge to help me in my job. The scope of the CPA Program accommodates
of a network of over 800,000 professional accountants. CPA my interests and job requirements.
Australia responds strongly to employer demands by providing
members with skills that deliver value. I’m looking forward to carrying the CPA (Aust.) badge as it will open a world of opportunities
because it will certify me as having the highest level of competency and ethics.
For Jonathan Lai Jun Fei ASA the CPA (Aust.) designation is about
Jonathan Lai Jun Fei ASA
making him the choice of employers. Equity Research Analyst
Mayban Investment Management
KEVIN TRANTALLIS CPA (Aust.)
ChrIsTIAn DIor, GuAm AnD sAIPAn
Tell us about yourself? For Kevin Trantallis, the CPA Australia
designation is always in fashion.
I graduated from Curtin University of Technology, Australia, majoring in Accounting and
Finance. I worked as an auditor in Ernst and Young for a year and a half, and then joined The fashion industry, perhaps more than any
other, embodies the qualities CPAs bring to a
Mayban Investment Management as an equity analyst.
business. An ability to be both analytical and
visionary, to think+create, is a mark of the
As an equity analyst, I analyse stocks and related sectors by reviewing financial statements CPA designation.
and other macro/micro factors to understand the fundamentals of the companies and the
Being a CPA means having the career scope
sectors. I then produce reports and present them to the Head of Equity Research and Fund to work globally, across industries, using this
Managers in order to assist them in terms of stock selection. combination of technical and creative skills.
It also enables access to knowledge exchange
I am currently an associate (ASA) member of CPA Australia undertaking the CPA Program. regardless of geographic location.
With more than 122,000 members operating
Why is it important to join a professional body like CPA Australia? in over 100 countries, CPA Australia is one of
the largest finance and accounting bodies
A professional qualification is like a key to many doors. I believe CPA Australia enhances
in the world.
my working life by exposing me to a lot of skills and knowledge that are really useful.
Contact the Malaysia office on 03 2267 3388
Those who are in doubt about pursuing the CPA Program should go for it. Be motivated
or visit our website for more information.
and passionate about it.
A CPA (Aust.) drives
What Is The Right Job? After writing down the answers, go over them and see how they fit together like the
pieces in a jigsaw puzzle. They should give you a mental picture of who you are –
your ideal life, your perceived skills set, and your work turn-ons and turn-offs.
Choose Your Best Fit Then look outward for validation. Read or surf the Internet for careers that might
suit your lifestyle. Approach friends, professionals and acquaintances who hold jobs
As you prepare to launch your job search, it is important to start off on the right foot you find interesting. Request if you can do formal informational interviews (ask them
and waste less time on the trial. More than anything else, here is where planning, about particulars of their work) or ‘shadow’ them (observe them in action at work).
preparation and research are crucial. It is equally critical that you have a solid idea Your objective is to form a clearer image of what they really do and assess whether
of where you want to go. To point you at the right direction, ask yourself these four you will like to be in their place. From your findings, you can begin a more informed
questions before you take the plunge. search for your dream career. Your career choice should depend on your perceived
happiness on the job, the potential rewards and your chances of success.
1. WHAT CAREER WILL SUIT MY LIFESTYLE?
Your work is only one aspect of your life. So, look for work that will fit your life, not the
other way around. By envisioning the life you want, you narrow your choices to those
careers that complement that vision.
Would you prefer working in a big company and managing a large staff count, or
running your own small business with a couple of assistants? Which would make you
happier: being office-bound or doing field work all day? Are you at your performing
best surrounded by office colleagues or do you yearn for a flexible arrangement that
allows you to work partly from home?
2. WHAT ARE MY TALENTS AND SKILLS?
Look for a job that you feel can make full use of your skills set and abilities. Do you
have the gift of the gab and can sell just about anything? Or are you creative with a
flair for words or an eye for design? Are you good in a particular sport? Or can you
cook like a pro or have a green thumb?
3. WHAT DO I LIKE DOING?
It does not seem like work when you enjoy what you are doing. Find out what catches
your interest or stirs your passion. Do you like the idea of teaching little children and
moulding their young minds? Or are you more attracted to a life of public service?
Is creative work your cup of tea? Or are you more at home in the realm of cold logic http://my.jobstreet.com/career/premium/career_profile.htm
and hard facts?
4. WHAT DO I DISLIKE ABOUT WORK?
Asking yourself what you cannot stand doing – what bores you to death – will help
you focus. Are you uncomfortable striking up a conversation with strangers? Does
anything technical make you yawn? Do you abhor the limelight? Do you hate the
The global accountancy designation for
strategic business leaders
How has the CPA (Aust.) designation helped you in your
More than 21,000 CPA Australia members hold senior positions of career?
CEO, CFO, GM or Financial Controller showing that many different Frankly, I was in two minds on whether to do the CPA program or not. I am lucky to have
made a wise decision. I truly believe that the CPA (Aust.) designation has been a key to my
careers can be built on a base of professional accounting skills.
career success, as its status as a leading global accounting qualification has helped open
a world of opportunities – literally in my case.
Penang based Indian national Amit Minocha CPA (Aust.) is proud to
belong to one of the most respected and recognised accounting The CPA Program has helped me develop into a better, more complete finance
bodies in the world. professional able to contribute and add value to the organisation I work for.
Amit Minocha CPA (Aust.)
Operations Finance Manager
Tell us about yourself. What is the importance of gaining work experience?
Having worked through my CPA Program and MBA, I am a strong proponent of ‘theory
I hold a Bachelor of Commerce (Hons) and an MBA specialising in International
can only get you so far as you have to do the real thing to experience the rest. Years of
Management, in addition to a professional membership with CPA Australia and the
work experience has helped me develop and grow skill-sets necessary to be successful
Institute of Chartered Accountants of India. I have 16 years of experience across different
in today’s competitive world. More importantly, it has taught me how important it is to
countries (Asia Pacific & Australia) and a variety of industries from multi-nationals, small & chase your dreams and give it your best shot.
medium enterprises, public sector and accounting firms – each one giving me valuable
knowledge and experience in several facets of accounting and finance. I am currently What is the importance of continuing professional
the operations finance manager in Intel Products (M) Sdn Bhd. managing assembly test development (CPD)?
factories in Kulim, Kedah. We are living in truly exciting times, but we forget sometimes how challenging these times
are as well – with the constant changes in the macro environment. I personally believe
CPD is the key to ensure continued success. Most of us recognize the importance of
My job basically involves working with a team of professionals in providing world-class
continuous improvement at work, well, CPD is no different. It’s the process of continuous
financial service to business operations to ensure solid tactical execution of strategic
learning for personal and professional development. Having access to all the tools and
objectives for the company. It covers cost, budgeting & forecasting, business planning resources available, enables us to do our jobs better.
process, capital and controls, business decision-making, identifying and working on
strategic initiatives and projects leading to roadmap and/or affordability goals.
Take Your Best Pick – The skills successful employers are
Weigh Your Job Options looking for
CHOOSING THE RIGHT COMPANY Successful employers are looking for people who use their
Well, it felt like you had gone through the wringer – grueling tests, screenings, judgment to make good decisions and exercise technical
brutal interviews, even dry runs and group simulations to see you in an actual work
skills. They want people who take a strategic view and are
milieu – and you passed them all! The potential employers are suitably impressed
and give you anticipated offers. Now you face a different kind of pressure to decide across details – people who are globally focused and know
which to accept. For many candidates, the choice seems obvious enough: the offer their local market conditions.
with the fattest paycheck. But experts advise caution in singling an employment
contract on the mere basis of an irresistible pay offer. They point to the need to first
consider all relevant factors before you decide. Sam Chay Siew Hun CPA (Aust.) was headhunted by CIMB
three years ago to set up the tax department responsible for
Points to consider: tax planning and compliance, and the mandate of making
COMPANY VISION. Look for an employer that knows its business, where it is going and
the tax department into a profit centre. He couldn’t refuse.
how it will get there.
Sam Chay Siew Hun CPA (Aust.)
Group Head of Tax
LONG-TERM ORIENTATION. Pick an organization that intends to stay for the long haul, Tell us about yourself.
i.e. has a long-term orientation plan, invests heavily in facilities and people, and makes
The tax profession has given me the opportunity to fully utilise my skills both as an
decisions with far-reaching significance and benchmarks with the best industry
practices. accountant and as a tax specialist. As the Group Head of Tax, I am accountable and
responsible for tax matters throughout the organisation and am constantly developing
PEOPLE ORIENTATION. A good company regards its people as its most important assets.
tax strategies that are consistent with the Group’s stated tax philosophy and policies.
It should have values such as development programmes, a democratic system of
communication and consultation, career and succession planning. It should have clear
and just policies, a professional yet familial atmosphere, a sense of pride and belonging Managing the global tax position of the CIMB Group, Malaysia’s second largest financial
among the employees.
services provider, can be very challenging indeed, but I feel very fortunate to work with a
EXCELLENCE. Organizational excellence does not happen overnight. It rests on a delicate talented group of people within the Group and the opportunity to work in a dynamic and
balance between culture and strategy. A company needs culture to help implement fast paced environment. This is a great experience for me personally and professionally.
strategy. Without strategy, the company will just be one big, happy but unproductive
How has the CPA (Aust.) designation helped you in your
COMPENSATION. Good compensation questions to ask yourself include: Does the career?
company provide annual salary reviews? How do they make compensation competitive It cannot be denied that the CPA (Aust.) designation is one of the most sought after
with the market, industry or business community? Will extraordinary performance be
qualifications in today’s corporate world.
recognized and compensated through a merit system or a performance bonus scheme?
The tax arena has become increasingly complex, and businesses today, more than ever
before, need to recognise tax as a strategic management issue. Therefore, I believe in
hiring the best qualified people i.e. a CPA (Aust.), providing clear direction and then
guiding them all the way.
What advice would you provide jobseekers (fresh grads) on
how to better equip themselves in th e current economic
Retention is rarely an issue, but finding the best people is always a challenge. I am
MASTERING INTERVIEW SKILLS
constantly on the lookout for like-minded fresh graduates with the same aspirations to The interview is a crucial area. It is not enough to show up for the
join my team. Someone who demonstrates our core values: innovation, integrity, passion meeting and hope that inspiration will hit you. While a well-crafted
resume will definitely help carry you to first base, it is the interview
and teamwork. I like people with good energy, enthusiasm and intellectual curiosity. that will ultimately bring you to home base – or lead you to a strikeout.
Therefore, knowing how to play the interview cat-and-mouse game
cannot be overemphasized. There are different forms of the interview
As an employer what are you looking for in candidates but the basic principles of good interviewing remain the same.
Having all the technical skills is not enough. Entrepreneurial and soft skills are also required Dig up all you can about the hiring company and prepare ahead of
time by anticipating questions and having ready answers in your head.
because tax planning cannot occur in a vacuum, it must be linked with the operations During the interview, extend a warm handshake, show confidence
and culture of the organisation. There is a wonderful feeling of accomplishment when we and enthusiasm and flash your pearly whites. After the interview,
do not forget to thank the interviewer and to inquire about what will
achieve a successful synergy of operational objectives, tax benefits and implementation. happen next. Back home, draft and send a Thank You letter to the
But even when we manage to achieve the proverbial “win-win”, the CIMB Group often interviewer immediately.
changes course and we must be prepared to evolve or sometimes, chart an entirely new
A serious jobseeker should not leave this crucial stage of the search
course. But that only ensures that the fun never ends. process to chance or luck. Here are 10 rules of thumb for a winning
The biggest challenge facing tax professionals today is the pace of change. Developments interview performance:
seem to occur more frequently today not only with tax laws but with business models that 1. COME PREPARED. Research beforehand on the company’s
are evolving. This means the candidates must continue to learn, develop and enhance services, products and operations. Get details from their annual reports
or websites. This way, you will be able to discuss intelligently how
their tax skills.
your talents, skills and experience can help reach their organizational
goals. Bring along additional materials for a successful presentation,
such as an extra resume and work samples.
8. ASK AWAY. If the recruiter inquires, “Do you have any ques-
2. ARRIVE EARLY. The horrendous traffic is no excuse to be late
tions?” take him up on it. Good questions to pose include those on the
for your appointment and thus earn debit points from the start. Leave
company’s directions, plans, culture, the specifics and expectations of
for the interview at least one hour earlier than necessary to cope with
the job and those along a similar vein to underline your keen interest
any contingencies such as motor breakdown, flat tyre, traffic jams
in the firm and the position.
and poor weather.
9. DON’T ACT DESPERATE OR APOLOGETIC. Jobs are hard to
3. DRESS SMART. Remember what they say about first impres-
find, it is true, but have some pride. Do not reveal over-eagerness to
sions? You may be tempted in this casual-dress age to dress down,
please or an over-willingness to accept everything. Maintain a good
but be warned that conservative dress codes still rule the hiring day.
posture, extend a firm handshake, flash friendly teeth, and strive for
Formal clothes show you consider the interview important enough to
an alert and confident attitude.
have taken pains to dress up.
10. OBSERVE PROPER ETIQUETTE. An interview requires that
4. REPLY CALMLY. Due to over-eagerness or nervousness, some
you follow certain practices such as maintaining eye contact and wear-
candidates blurt out their response even before the question sinks in,
ing formal clothing. But more than that, sending a Thank You letter
thus giving half-baked answers. Listen carefully and organize your
after the interview shows basic courtesy and proof of your sincere
thoughts before answering. If you have done your homework, you
interest in the position.
will have ready answers for some of the standard questions thrown
5. DON’T SHOOT YOUR EX-BOSS. It is amazing how some can-
didates think they can win sympathy points from the interviewer by
ranting against a previous employer. On the contrary, this will mark
you as a potential troublemaker and raise serious doubts about the
real reason you left your job. Concentrate on elaborating your own
accomplishments – and squash any impulse to gripe.
6. FOCUS ON THE COMPANY’S INTEREST. Of course, we all
love a dream job offer that is bundled with a fantastic pay package
but you must not say that. Do not go to the interview intent on ex-
tracting information from the interviewer about what the firm can
give you. Remember that you are marketing yourself, so strive to
convince the employer that you are their best bet.
7. DON’T TALK MONEY TOO SOON. Making salary inquiries
during the first interview is a big no-no. It gives the interviewer an in-
kling into what your utmost consideration is. Do not broach the topic
until you receive a definite offer. And find out beforehand what the
salary scale is for the position to negotiate effectively.
• If the interviewer tells you the position has been filled,remain
calm and respectful. You may yet salvage something out of
the situation. If you feel you have established rapport with the
interviewer, you could:
THE APPLICATION FOLLOW-UP • Request that your application be considered for future
Many jobseekers erroneously think that the job hunting process ends
with the interview, and that all they can do afterward is helplessly • Ask for referrals to other hiring employers.
wait for the employer’s next move. Actually, there is another thing
you can – and should – do. This crucial but often overlooked initiative • Solicit feedback on your weak areas so you can improve.
is called the follow-up. Carefully executed, this can give you bonus
• If your emails or phone calls are not being returned three
points in the employer’s tally card. Here are some guidelines on doing
weeks after your interview, it is safe to assume you were not
it properly: chosen. But do not be crestfallen – a better offer will surely
come your way. Just remember that practice makes perfect.
• Inform your references that they might receive a call from the Reflect on the interview and extract lessons of improvement to
employer. This is basic courtesy and prepares your references prepare for the next interview.
on what to say.
• The follow-up starts at the end of the interview. Before you
leave, be sure to ask when the employer might arrive at a hiring
• Always write a Thank You letter within 48 hours of the
interview. Express appreciation for the interview opportunity and
stress briefly how you are the perfect fit for the position.
• Make sure your letter is free of errors. This includes ensuring that
there are no typos, grammatical errors and misspellings. Double
check the company’s name as well as the interviewer’s name and
• Do call on the day instructed to. If the interviewer promised to
contact you and has not, make a follow-up letter or call a week
or so later to inquire about your application and underscore your
continued interest in the position.
• While doing follow-up, do not let up on your pursuit of employment
with other firms. In this manner, your job hunting campaign is not
limited to one company and you have more chances of getting
calls from other employers.
2. THE INTERVIEW
During the meeting, you can raise your worth in the recruiter’s eyes
by stressing your strengths, talents, knowledge, accomplishments and
skills. If you have no work experience, you can discuss your school
projects and undertakings, using control words such as “took charge”,
“initiated”, “developed” or “implemented” to indicate successful
completion of a programme or activity.
SAVVY SALARY BARGAINING TIPS TIP: RESIST ANY ATTEMPT AT THIS STAGE TO STATE A SPECIFIC
FIGURE. Instead, provide a salary range rather than a definite number,
1. PRE-BARGAINING STAGE going for an offer in the middle to high end of the spectrum. The less
The salary negotiation process starts even before the actual interview you reveal about what offer will make you bite, the more you are
takes place with an assessment of your financial needs and situation. likely to receive a best offer.
The goal is to find out the acceptable initial salary scale for you. Here
is how you do it: 3. THE NEGOTIATION STAGE
Now comes the tricky part. Admittedly, salary ranges for most
• Calculate the amount you will need to support your lifestyle. entry-level positions are set and leave you little room to negotiate.
Factor in your monthly expenses such as transportation, But most employers would probably quote the lower end of the salary
work, clothes, food expenses, etc. scale, so your goal is to shoot for the high end. Here is an example
of an offer being made and possible responses. Experts suggest
• Assess your value. Describe your skills, abilities, talents and framing responses in a question form to avoid sounding arrogant or
knowledge on paper and be prepared to show your future employer demanding.
the benefits you can bring to their company.
The salary is
• Do a comparative research on prevailing salary trends. This RM2,000 per month
is so you do not underprice or overprice yourself. How do you Employer
conduct a salary survey? Ask your friends, contacts, professional
associations and other job seekers. You might also try your school
career centre, trade publications and on-line re-sources. I am happy about the job offer and I am very
interested in the position. But considering today’s
• Conduct a discreet study of the hiring company. Ask from inside high cost of living, I’d like to be making around
sources if you have them, visit its website or gather company RM2,500. Would that be possible ?
brochures or profiles.
The secret is to come up with three figures: the minimum, mid-level and
maximum acceptable salary. When asked your desired compensation
during the interview, articulate a salary figure between the mid-level
to maximum, never the minimum pay which should only be a guide I’m delighted in your interest in me and I
on the absolute bottom line offer you are willing to entertain. really believe I can contribute, but I have other
options in the RM2,500 range (say this only if
true). Is there a way we can work this out ?
You should be able to draw from your preliminary research here. If
you have learned the company’s benefit and compensation package,
you can pick up clues when pushing your luck. Remember that you
are negotiating for the upper end, not squeezing the company dry,
which is a strategy that is likely to boomerang.
TIP: DON’T BE ASHAMED TO NEGOTIATE. Potential employers
is the place to begin with.
look favourably on aspirants who are not afraid to negotiate, since
it shows the job seeker knows current market rates and puts a high
premium on himself or herself – surely positive qualities of awareness
4. THE JOB OFFER Ample Fresh Graduate Jobs!
If the company states the offer is final, find out if they can offer non-
monetary perks instead, such as allowances, bonuses, performance
raises, stock options and profit sharing. Or you can ask for a promise
Great Jobseeking Resources!
of a raise – which should be given in writing. Or if the offer is really
hard to swallow, ask if they will consider other work arrangements
including part-time or consultancy work. http://my.jobstreet.com/campus
Key rules when considering job offers include:
• Once you receive a job offer, never accept or reject it on the
• Ask about their other fringe benefits.
• Then ask for at least 24 hours to think it over and request another
meeting to finalize discussions.
• Be enthusiastic but non-committal.
• Offers made over the phone, in particular, should not be
• Insist on a face-to-face meeting to discuss details.
• When deciding, consider all factors including opportunities for
growth, promotion, training and skills enhancement; the company’s
stability and management style; advice from your mentors, family
and friends; the total pay and benefit package.
Charles Wong FCPa (aust.)
Senior regional Strategic change Manager
aSia pacific finance, hSBc, hong Kong