Even after 16 years at the same company, Wandy Chan still wakes up excited to go to work. The Chinese-born, Hong Kong-raised, Shanghai-based director for professional services firm TMF Group China says she faces a new adventure every morning.
Her 450-strong team helps businesses that are expanding into the Chinese market meet compliance and regulatory challenges in a rapidly changing environment. One day, she’ll teach a client about the latest version of China’s unique Golden Tax System (GTS). The next, she’ll assist another with foreign exchange control. For Chan, being open-minded is vital.
It’s not what you know that’s important, but how you know,” she says. “In ten years, today’s knowledge might be obsolete. To remain in your role, you need to know how to change.
For this reason, Chan works at future-proofing herself, her company and her industry, ready to embrace the epic leaps in technology the modern world faces. After completing her degree in Accountancy at Queensland University of Technology in 1997, Chan began the CPA Program to do just that.
She shares that it was the CPA Program’s support, clear direction and global platform that appealed to her. Since then, she has had opportunities to expand her career in three markets: Australia, Singapore and China, drawing on her learnings from the Program and CPA Australia’s professional network to adapt to the needs of each markets. “Everywhere I’ve been, CPA Australia has supported me with its international network. Even when moving to a new country, I’ve never felt alone.”
Chan regularly attends CPA Australia’s seminars in Shanghai. They provide technical updates and cutting-edge resources that are vital to maintaining relevance. “We learn about the latest developments in artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics, gain insights into different industries, and even discover new business models.”
Such a range and depth of information means the annual membership fee delivers major dividends. As soon as there’s any change in global accounting standards, CPA members are able to learn about these developments.
Over the next ten years, big data is set to streamline globalization, and likely to transform Chan’s role.
“In most regions, including India, the Middle East and Africa, only 28% of the taxation process has been digitized. But, in the Asia Pacific, it’s around 46% and, in North America, it’s at 67%.”
As taxation filing goes digital in more and more nations, the automation of data processing will become more widespread. In addition, machine learning will offer increasingly sophisticated data analysis. What will this mean for Chan and her team? Chan sees incredible opportunities – for both her career and industry.
We’ll spend less time on tedious manual tasks and more time helping our clients – with deeper insights, from connected infrastructures.
Big data will allow businesses to monitor and predict performance, informed by consumer behavior, returns on investment and market opportunities all over the world. In China, where there are more than 950,000 registered foreign companies, this will collide with an increasingly flexible currency system and an increasingly efficient tax system.
“The third version of GTS (GTS III) contains more sophisticated functionality that, ultimately, will be integrated with all industries, tax categories and tax administration areas … it can enable faster and more accurate processing, ensuring greater transparency and reducing fraud, error and misreporting.” In addition, China has announced its intention to use blockchain technology for tax invoicing.
Sound daunting? Not for Chan. “You have to have courage and be willing to try new opportunities. It’s okay to make mistakes, especially when you’re young – you can afford to! Before taking on this role, I’d never been to Shanghai and I didn’t speak Mandarin, but I didn’t let that stop me.”
Since arriving in Shanghai, Chan has been networking with other CPA members. “The organization is very open. You’re welcome to ask questions and share ideas. I personally always recommend the CPA Program to my colleagues – not only because of the opportunities to meet like-minded professionals, but also because of the continual support.”
Find out more about the benefits of the CPA Program with stories from The Competitive Advantage.
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