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From the “Big Four” to Intel Finance: In Conversation with Lim Chun Kwang

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Lim Chun Kwang always had a knack for numbers. However, he also harbored aspirations of becoming a doctor or a dentist and contemplated taking up accounting as an extra subject in Sixth Form but stopped short given the workload of the compulsory subjects he already had to take. As fate would have it, his pre-university exam results fell short of the requirements for a medical degree and so began his journey into the world of accounting, which led Chun Kwang into one of the “Big Four” firms.

In 2020, after ten years in auditing, he found himself at a crossroads and decided to join Intel’s Finance team. The departure from auditing into a commercial setting was a big step.

“Coming in, I knew I had to start from zero in a huge organization like Intel, but I wanted to give myself an opportunity to see what else was happening in the world outside of auditing, to challenge myself and broaden my perspectives,” Chun Kwang reflects.

Seeking balance and variety

Work as an auditor can be both hectic and isolating because it heavily revolves around providing service and fulfilling clients’ demands. Even having reached the senior management level after a decade into his career, Chun Kwang still has a strong desire to explore further, interact with people more, and seek a better work-life balance.

“I thought about the life I wanted for myself and my young family. The birth of my second child was pivotal, and the prospect of having more time for my family was a driving factor,” he explains.

His current role as an IFRS Accounting Policy Group and Entity Accounting Manager sees him leading a team of 18 members and interacting with employees at various levels—from working with peers and leaders across business units in different regions to facilitating the adoption of new accounting policies and standards for the organization.

“Intel is such a dynamic environment to work in. Its current investments in advanced packaging facilities, acquisitions and restructuring for example, is an opportunity to read up on standards and see how they apply in real-life scenarios. I’m always curious as to how these shifts affect my book and entities across the company. It has definitely given me a greater sense of satisfaction!” he says.

Staying agile and open

Chun Kwang acknowledges that there are challenges aplenty. With no background in commercial accounting to fall back on, he needs to make up for the lack of exposure. These are challenges he’s ready to tackle.

“You need to have a mindset that accepts changes. Be agile and eager to learn because nothing is set in stone, especially in this industry. What happens in the business on the front, will affect what happens in the accounting at the back. The work is definitely not easy, but you will get the satisfaction and due credit when you meet those challenges,” he shares.

For Chun Kwang, the payoff has been worthwhile, especially in terms of being able to make the cultural shift from being focused primarily on making clients happy to a value-driven environment that emphasizes work-life balance where he’s in the driver’s seat of his own career. The tremendous support from his superiors has given him the extra boost to forge ahead in his journey.


“When you have a dream, you need to be bold and give yourself a chance. Sometimes, taking that one scary step is all that’s needed to bring about new possibilities, learnings, and fulfilment,” he says.

 

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