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Bernard Poon
Chris Davis
update on Friday, December 3, 2010
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Deep in a coalmine may seem an odd place to find a finance professional, but it is the type of experience that Bernard Poon, managing director, Ernst & Young Transactions, says is part of the thrill of being an accountant.

While working as an auditor, Poon has also spent time cycling in Anhui province, exploring a mainland steel mill facility the size of a small town, and spent days on the shop floor of a car and truck factory in Wuhan.

"The thing that often gets overlooked is the diversity of opportunities the accounting profession offers," Poon says. In addition to auditing, he spent two years as a trainer with Ernst & Young's learning and professional development department.

He has also moved within the firm to work on mergers and acquisitions, financial due diligence and, in the past few years, valuation and business modelling. "The traditional view is that if you work for a 'Big Four' company, you only work on auditing and taxation, but this is no longer the case. These days, the market expects accountants to be multidimensional business advisers," says Poon, who chose the CPA Australia qualification for its international recognition, reliability and value as a stepping stone into the corporate world.

Depending on the service they provide, Poon says accountants work with the client's finance department, the CEO and other decision makers. He says this provides insights to the way businesses are run and strategies formed. "You meet some really interesting people, see their different characters and learn new perspectives, while applying your own professional skills," says Poon, who combines work with travel, including a visit to Shanhaiguan at Qinhuangdao, in Hebei province, where the Great Wall meets the Bohai Sea.

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