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Bryan Tang

The best part about working in audit is the opportunity to work on a wide variety of clients in different industries. As every client is unique in terms of their business model and processes around their operation, there’s always a lesson to pick up from every audit engagement.

What's your job about?

I work at ShineWing Australia in the Assurance and Advisory Division (AAD). ShineWing Australia is an advisory and accounting firm with a key focus of providing advisory services to clients from emerging markets with a desire to tap into the Australian market. My role in AAD involves ensuring that our clients are presenting their financial position and performance through their financial statements in a true and fair view that is compliant with the standards prescribed by the AASB. This entails preparing workpapers where samples from each account that are material are selected to be tested substantively which involves the audit team substantiating selected transactions against supporting documents such as invoices and receipts. Any transactions that raises an eyebrow are followed up with the clients. It is imperative that the audit team actively communicates with the clients to understand their business operation and to resolve any doubts raised during the audit before signing off the auditor’s report. This ultimately helps the audit team gain a reasonable amount of assurance that a client’s financial statements are free from any material misstatements.

What's your background?

Despite being born and spending my formative years in Melbourne, I’ve spent most of my adolescent years in Malaysia which was my parent’s native country. Having moved abroad or rather home at a young age, made me realise and appreciate the cultural diversity around me as Malaysia’s a melting pot of cultures as well as the privileges that I once took for granted while living in Australia. During this time, I also developed a genuine connection and interest to learn more about my native background. Upon returning to Melbourne, I commenced my Bachelor of Commerce degree at the University of Melbourne majoring in Accounting and Finance as it was an area that I was genuinely passionate about in high school. In my penultimate year, I applied for various summer internships with the aim of gaining some industry experience that was directly relevant to my studies. In all honestly, the application process was rather disheartening after multiple rounds of rejections. Just as I was on the cusp of giving up, I was offered a spot in ShineWing’s Summer Vacation Program in 2018 in the AAD team. The entire internship experience that summer was a very rewarding experience and an eye opener to the practical work in the field. It also made me realised how much I genuinely enjoy the supportive learning culture at ShineWing Australia. It was precisely why I was enticed to return as a Graduate in 2020 in the same role.

Could someone with a different background do your job?

Most definitely! I would consider audit an excellent starting point for anyone keen on working in professional services or those trying to figure out an area of particular interest within the accounting realm. An accounting background is not essential but does come in handy. Must have skills for audit are professional scepticism and soft skills. That is, to always question something when in doubt and to be able to communicate issues and solutions effectively with clients. Communication is key as you’ll likely be exposed to a vast array of clients- each with different personalities.

What's the coolest thing about your job?

The best part about working in audit is the opportunity to work on a wide variety of clients in different industries. As every client is unique in terms of their business model and processes around their operation, there’s always a lesson to pick up from every audit engagement. One of the more attractive learning points are how similar issues can be presented by clients in different industries but are effectively resolved with very distinct solutions. It’s also interesting to gain an understanding on specific industries along with the opportunities and challenges posed in that particular industry.

What are the limitations of your job?

The flipside to audit is the uneven distribution of working hours across the year. Peak season for audit is typically between July to October where burning the midnight oil is a norm during this period. In the quieter months between February to April, they’ll be plenty of days where I find myself at my desk just admiring my stellar wallpaper while sipping on some freshly brewed coffee as workloads are at its all-time low. This is due in part to the datelines prescribed by ASIC as to when audited financial reports have to be lodged.

3 pieces of advice for yourself when you were a student...

  1. Take a gap year. It’ll be your only ‘me-time’ as a youth before entering the corporate world where you’ll be able to tick off stuff from your personal bucket list like travelling around the globe.
  2. Seize the opportunity when presented. Don’t undermine your skills and capabilities just because you’re still a student. The only way forward is to have a go.
  3. Grades aren’t the world. Focus more on brushing up on your soft skills. While grades count at university; soft skills are ultimately what will propel your career in the long-run.