Eve Lynn Paves Her Way To Success
Margaret Thatcher said “I do not know anyone who has got to the top without hard work. That is the recipe. It will not always get you to the top but should get you pretty near.”
Tah Eve Lynn, a MICPA-CAANZ graduate and past winner of MICPA’s Most Outstanding CPA award, is a testament of this statement. This young woman has been steadily making her mark in the fast paced and highly competitive world of professional accountants. She completed the MICPA-CAANZ Advanced Stage examinations in 2013 and has qualified as a Certified Public Accountant (Malaysia) with The Malaysian Institute of Certified Public Accountants (MICPA) and Chartered Accountant (ANZ) with Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CAANZ).This inspiring young lady with her keen mind and wit shares her journey with us in this exclusive interview.
Our school years are essentially a time when we discover ourselves and our identity. How were those years for you?
I met most of my good friends during my formative years that I believe I will continue to stay in touch with till the foreseeable future. I also had the opportunity to dabble in different subjects (both science and art stream subjects) which allowed me to discover my strengths and weaknesses in different areas. For instance, I discovered that I had an affinity towards studies that are logical, methodical and detail-oriented. This allowed me to deduce that accounting would be a good path for my future.
What extra-curricular activities appealed to you whilst in school and in university? What about now?
I have always loved sprinting and had the chance to participate in many a sprinting event (100M, 200M, 4 x 100M) throughout my schooling years. I was also a quartermaster of the Girls Guide Association in my high school, which taught me the value of leadership and discipline. During my time in university, I was involved in the Monash Accounting and Finance Club (MAFC), which opened up doors for me to network with hiring managers and leaders in the Big 4 firms in Malaysia. Despite my busy hours at work, I still make it a point to workout at the gym at least thrice a week to ensure that I have a healthy mind and physique.
Which University did you attend? What were your best moments there?
I attended Monash University from 2008 to 2010. During that time, I had the opportunity to mingle with different people not just from the Business faculty but from other faculties e.g. Medicine, Engineering, which provided me with different perspectives. I made several lifelong friends as well, some of whom became my colleagues. This allowed us to form a strong support system to grow our careers together. My best moments came during my final year at Monash when I discovered that I have succeeded in graduating into the Dean’s Honour List representing the top 2% of the Faculty of Business and Economics.
How do you think your university experience has helped shape you as an individual?
My university experience opened my eyes to the value of networking. The people that I met in events organised by MAFC opened up doors of opportunity in the form of internships and post-graduate prospects. Similarly, by making myself available to mingle with a diverse group of people within the university, I succeeded in developing my interpersonal skills which has proven to be very valuable when transitioning to my current role as an auditor.
There are many bodies which offer professional accounting qualifications. What made you choose the MICPA-CAANZ Programme?
The key deciding factor for me was the dual membership that it offered. As an Australian university graduate, to pursue a programme that is partnered with CAANZ is the next logical step after graduating as it is a prestigious membership. Apart from that, the MICPA-CAANZ Programme ensures that I would be able to receive a post-graduate education that is more aligned with what I was studying at a university level.
How do you feel about winning MICPA’s Most Outstanding CPA award?
I was ecstatic when I found out that I won the award (as it was announced only on the award day itself, there was an element of suspense while waiting for the announcement). At the same time, I felt validated that the hard work that I had put in over the years in pursuing my professional papers and in developing my career has yielded great results. It certainly does feel good to be recognised and I deem this as one of my proudest achievements.
What do you think were the key factors that led to you winning this Award?
The first factor was time management – ensuring that I had allocated sufficient time to carry out my work efficiently and effectively, whilst still having the time to do my revision on the weekends. Secondly, the drive to succeed – the Award presented itself as an opportunity and a goal that I wanted to work towards. I was always mindful to vindicate myself by not just passing the examinations, but to also aim for a high score.
How has the Programme helped in paving a professional pathway for you?
Being a recognised MICPA-CAANZ professional member provides me with a distinguished legitimacy that allows me the option of growing my career not just locally, but internationally as well. It validates that I have valuable technical competencies and ethical values that allows me to serve as an accountant in varied organisations cutting across different industries.
Working life is definitely different from life as a student. How did you find the transition from student to starting a career? What were your toughest struggles in adjusting and how did you overcome it?
Working life is a whole new ball game especially at the beginning when you have to work hard to build a presence in the firm. Once you transition from a student to starting a career, you become increasingly aware that opportunities are no longer just present, and it is something that you have to work hard towards, or voice out for. You also find yourself growing in an environment that gives you increased responsibilities, where decisions made would affect a much larger stakeholder than just yourself.
What are some notable experiences that have contributed to your career growth at your current workplace?
Throughout my 4 years with PwC, I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to be exposed to a wide array of audit clients. Specialising in financial services industry audit, I had the chance to audit some of the top listed banks in Malaysia, as well as standalone foreign banks that presented itself with its own set of unique challenges. I was also assigned to special public accounting projects that allowed me to be more familiar with public accounting standards on top of the Malaysian Financial Reporting Standards (MFRS). These broad experiences helped me to not just improve my technical skills but also valuable soft skills in the areas of leadership, teamwork and communication skills.
It can be challenging working whilst pursuing a professional qualification at the same time. How did you cope?
I have been very fortunate in that my firm, PwC places a strong emphasis on continuous learning and provides ample support to employees that are pursuing professional programmes. To cope with both my workload and my studies, I ensure that I always plan ahead of time to manage both my superior’s expectations, and to be mindful that I have allocated sufficient time for revision.
How do you envision your future career path?
My aim for the future is to climb up the corporate ladder and make a mark in the business world by becoming a high level decision maker one day. I also wish to be able to make a significant impact on causes that I believe in.
For the most part we are all moulded by our upbringing and family values. Please share with us what are some of the key values and personal beliefs that you hold close to your heart.
My family has always instilled in me a sense of ownership on how I chose to live my life and the decisions that I make. Ownership means knowing that the choices we make holds consequences that would shape our life and our future. From a young age I have always known the value of a good education, and of going that extra mile in doing anything that you set your mind on.
What inspires you?
Traveling is something that really inspires me outside of work. Being exposed to different cultures, looking at how people approach life with different perspectives is something that I believe is beneficial to my own personal growth and values.
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. How do you reward yourself after a tough day at work?
One of the best ways to unwind is to make plans with friends, be it just a short dinner after work, or planning for short excursions during the weekends, to just relax and catch up. I also go to the gym three times a week and take part in group exercise classes, getting a good workout plus mingling with the friends that I have made there as well. These are the little things that keep me going outside of work.
How would you advise a student who is undecided on their career pathway and how would you encourage them to consider accounting as an option?
I have always believed that accounting is the root of all business language. It has a wide application that could carry a person’s career across different industries and positions. I would advise a student who has an affinity towards pursuing a business career to choose an Accounting major as it would allow them to interpret numbers and understand business in a more holistic manner.
What would you say to an accounting undergraduate who needs motivation and inspiration to continue their pursuit of a professional accounting career?
I would tell them to persevere in their pursuit of a professional accounting career. The accounting profession is one that is best described as a continuous learning pursuit. With hard work and persistence, a lifelong career in professional accounting would reap rewards and open doors of opportunity that are almost limitless.
If you were given the opportunity, how would you make a difference for accounting students and the accounting world in the long run? What are the changes that you would like to see in the accounting industry?
I believe that the increased emphasis in ethical values is the right way forward for the accounting industry. The public have an increased expectation of the accounting industry to do the right thing, and this should be ingrained within our core values, and reflected in the way we carry out our work. On a lighter note, given the opportunity, I would like to change society’s perception that accountants are dull number crunchers! On the contrary, we are sociable, fun loving people who play as hard as we work.
This year, the ambitious and intelligent Eve Lynn has taken her career to the next level with a new job with EY in the UK. She has proven that with the right attitude, hard work, determination, perseverance and the right qualifications, your career can grow in leaps and bounds within a short span of time. Eve Lynn’s career has gone international!
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