Pauline Lo has always known where to turn for support, which she has learned during a career that has included controllerships and senior financial roles in the health care, chemicals, communications and luxury retail sectors.
"Working on the commercial side, it is important to attach yourself to a good professional body," says Lo, director of finance of the Asia value chain for footwear and apparel company Timberland. "We need timely updates on technical areas, new regulations, and developments in the region. CPA Australia has a very proactive approach, so we always know what is going on."
That is essential for Lo in a role that oversees tax, compliance, legal and financial issues for five countries across the region. The responsibilities extend to running centralised accounting in Hong Kong, controlling budgets, monitoring outsourcing risks and spending for third-party suppliers.
"I've found that training as an accountant was like opening a door to the business world," Lo says. "But you must continue to broaden your professional knowledge and improve your soft skills if you want to climb the career ladder. CPA Australia shapes us in terms of applying best practices and striving for excellence in a competitive environment. Important values relating to ethics and integrity are also built into our professional training."
Given her success, Lo is now an example to others and she welcomes the opportunity to pass on her skills and knowledge to colleagues and fellow CPA Australia members striving to succeed.
"These days, you need to be very open-minded and well-informed if you move into management," she says. "You must continue to sharpen your judgment and build professional expertise. You need to hold yourself and others in the organisation to the highest standards. You should also be open-minded with the courage to lead your team to stretch goals."