CAs around the world: Ace Tan CA on the importance of adapting, ethics, and seizing global opportunities in Malaysia
There’s a popular saying coined by American business writer Tom Peters that says, “If a window of opportunity appears, don’t pull down the shade.”
It’s an expression that lends itself to the career of Australian Chartered Accountant Ace Tan, Manager of Corporate Strategy at Carsome, a Malaysian e-commerce platform that sells used cars.
Soon after his graduation from the University of Melbourne in 2015, Ace returned to Malaysia where he started off his career at one of the Big 4 accounting firms. Several years into his corporate career journey, Ace’s window of opportunity came in the form of headhunting from the Malaysian e-commerce used car trading platform as the start-up scene in Malaysia began to flourish. Ace said it was a turning point for him and Malaysia as the thriving start-up landscape presented an incredible opportunity for young CAs looking for an international career.
“It’s a region where accountants are in very high demand,” Ace says.
“Everyone, from corporations to new start-ups, are looking for financially-savvy people to help their business grow.”
This demand allowed Ace to use his CA designation to pursue an exciting and meaningful career abroad as the manager of corporate strategy at Carsome.
Technologies and Innovation
Ace found that a major career benefit of working remotely was learning how to adapt to new trends and innovations and the business opportunities they created.
Witnessing how technology impacted the world during the COVID-19 pandemic forced Ace and his team at Carsome to adapt and stay agile to be competitive under challenging circumstances.
“We had to think very quickly about how we could switch up our business model. We switched to delivering cars to people, instead of people coming to us and even introduced virtual car tours,” Ace explains.
"We’re a very international business, with employees from around the world such as Malaysia, Korea, United Kingdom, Germany and China. Technology has definitely made us more integrated and kept us all connected."
Ethics and Learning
One area Ace is particularly passionate about is ethics. As the manager of Corporate Strategy, Ace has found that remaining ethical, honest and transparent leads to the best outcomes when representing himself, his company and his work.
Values such as integrity and ethics are respected all over the world. While working internationally, Ace has utilised his knowledge of ethical standards from the Chartered Accountants designation to build trust and respect with his clients, team, and investors.
“You have to be very genuine and ethical in terms of what you are trying to tell external and internal stakeholders and in representing the numbers or telling them how the company is performing,” Ace says.
“Being in charge of the financial modelling and strategic planning, we have to make ethical decisions to showcase realistic and truthful actual performance – timely reporting on a month-to-month basis is a great way to do this.”
Ace found that the skills he learned while studying for his CA designation were key to his work and career. He advocates for use of the value focused professional approach that has allowed him to identify changes in the e-commerce landscape and contribute relevant recommendations to his company Carsome.
What advice does he have for future CAs? Ace said it’s important to build networks as early as possible, and to keep learning, seeking out opportunities and adapting as you grow.
“University is a way for you to learn, make friends and improve your social skills,” he explains.
“International societies and forums are very helpful in opening up your mind and connecting with people globally.”
Want to hear more inspiring stories?
Hear from other CAs around the world on global opportunities and enacting change.Read more
Catching breaks, taking opportunities and making a difference
Charles Zhang talks about how Chartered Accountants ANZ provided him with the opportunities to make a difference.
Business student Oscar Cheal on why rural and regional students should say yes to opportunity
We speak to Oscar Cheal, business student and inaugural recipient of the Chartered Accountants ANZ-CEF Scholarship, about his journey as a student growing up in rural Lightning Ridge NSW and his advice for other students who are in similar positions.