Helping to pass on the baton from a mentor
Initially, Ivan Au, divisional president of Greater China for CPA Australia, thought that advertising and marketing might have been his cup of tea as several of his family members were already in the media business.
He later changed his mind and joined the University of Sydney, Australia, with the ultimate goal of becoming a businessman. He opted for marketing and accountancy, and went on to obtain a Master of Commerce (accounting and finance) degree at the university.
“This is the language of business and it tells stories of business,” he argues.
Upon graduation, Au realized it’s more important to qualify as an accountant and so he looked to CPA Australia. He says he’s grateful having had a good mentor who did accounting and had worked for a professional accounting firm and who shared with him lots of advice.
Au subsequently joined accounting giant PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) after working at the University of Sydney as an associate lecturer for nearly two years. He’s now an assurance partner at PwC.
Au has more than 18 years of accounting and assurance experience, specializing in multi-location assurance projects relating to China’s outbound investments, initial public offerings and mergers and acquisitions.
Joining CPA Australia in 2000, Au thinks it’s an excellent platform for networking and has since been working in various committees within the organization.
As divisional president for Greater China, Au speaks on behalf of CPA Australia as an advisor — contributing ideas on the strategy and direction of CPA Australia for the benefit of its members, providing them the forum for professional debate on relevant issues, including accounting, finance, law and ethics and promoting the skills, qualifications and professionalism of members.
Along with fellow members, he also helps to develop informed viewpoints on matters impacting members and the profession.
Au founded the Young Achievers Committee in CPA Australia as he’s passionate about nurturing the future generation of accountants, and very much enjoys sharing his industry experience and knowledge with young people. The Young Achievers Committee was started in 2012 as a working group, and transformed into a committee a year later. As an advisor to the committee, he says he always tries to combine work with fun during training or networking events, and encourages young members to be involved in the community and sports.
To those from the younger generation who would like to take the plunge in the accounting industry, his advice is they should also focus on networking as one of its values is that communication generates intellectual information which enables them to pick up knowledge beyond their own horizon.
In management, Au says having a clear direction is vital and the path taken should be adored by every team member, while the management should make sure that everyone in the team does have a say.
CPA Australia executive Ivan Au says the demand for accountants has grown in tandem with the Chinese mainland’s rapid economic growth. Ivan Au, divisional president for Greater China at CPA Australia