You are Accela’s VP of Finance and Operations, could you tell us about your role and what a typical day at work is like for you?
My role is responsible for the service delivery of Finance bookkeeping, compliance, and Corporate Secretary services to our clients. I’m also responsible for looking after the financial performance and strategy for Accela by ensuring we make commercial decisions today to support growth tomorrow. As a leader, my role is to motivate and encourage the people in the company to aim high and shoot higher, professionally and personally. There is no typical day here at Accela, but mine starts with a coffee whilst checking the bank accounts when I get into the office, as I’ve already checked my emails on my commute into work – which includes an O-bike and the MRT!
What would people never guess you do in your role?
Most people think I stare at numbers all day, getting lost in spreadsheets. There are days like that, but mostly I’m listening – in fact, sometimes I feel more like a therapist! With company finances being so intimate, sometimes clients reluctantly come to us when they really need help, especially Founders who have been going it on their own for a while. It’s my job to listen to their challenges, understand their concerns and reassure them that firstly, they are not alone and secondly, there is a solution or at least always another avenue to explore… sometimes that also comes with a hug. Behind every business is a real person with feelings, dreams, and fears.
The most memorable incident since you started work here at Accela is …
When Kate Williams, our Talent Director, ordered the most beautifully crafted, uniquely glazed ceramic coffee mugs to the office and finding out that Tiffany Chua, our Assistant Art Director, made the mugs! It’s crazy what you might not know about the people you see every single day.
How do you like to unwind after a long day at work?
Yoga. Wine. Laundry. Gin. Bed. Not necessarily in that order, and I have no issue multi-tasking any of the above.
You shared with us recently about a travel blog by a solo female traveler, who left her job in corporate finance to travel the world. How did you come across this blog and do you have plans to become a traveler in future as well?
Genuinely? I accidentally booked a trip to Chennai in April, the hottest month of the year to travel, and it’s in the most conservative state in India. I needed fashion inspiration that was modest, would let me survive the heat and still be Insta worthy – check out “theblondeabroad” on the gram. I don’t have plans to become a professional traveler; given my passion is visiting places less traveled, I like the idea of not publishing every experience so we can all still find places to explore with little expectation as those for me always make for the best memories.
What is your favorite place on earth?
Sarnies! Conveniently located opposite our office! Outside of my work-world, quiet seclusion under a heavy blanket of stars able to arrest me with the vastness of the universe and the smallness of our lives.
Do you have any “hidden talents”?
I am really good at touching my toes.
Before working here, what was the most unusual or interesting job you’ve ever had?
I used to design and paint sets in school. I loved challenging my creativity within the physical confines of the stage, man-hours, and of course, financial budget to transport the audience to a different world. It’s surprisingly been great training for what I do now, helping small to medium enterprises find innovative and pragmatic business solutions in an ever-changing financial landscape when you always need an extra pair of hands and just a little more cash.
What are 3 words to describe your leadership style?
Courageous – never fear the unknown, that is the downfall of innovation.
Creative – I truly believe there is always a solution.
Collaborative – people do their best work when they are supported and make mistakes when they don’t ask questions. My team is my best source of inspiration as they teach me new things and offer new perspectives every single day!
What is on your wish list for the next five years with Accela?
Global domination! Here at Accela Finance, we are trying to provide a service that fills a gap in the market that we felt from being a fast-growing business in our own right. We want to help our partners find pragmatic solutions, supported by the convenience of tech, especially when it comes to meeting compliance requirements so we can focus on making informed business decisions. Wouldn’t most people want that too? We continuously strive to improve our processes and solutions to find that balance, and we’d love to share our experience in doing so with as many businesses as possible! So yes, global domination after all.