Full Name: Chan Min Son
Organisation: Rimbunan Hijau Group Greater China & RH Mining Resources
CIMA Entry Route: CIMA CFO Programme
CIMA Level/Award achieved so far: FCMA, CGMA
Tell us about your current role and what is the most interesting part of your job?
Currently I am a CFO with Rimbunan Hijau Group, a leading Malaysian conglomerate with diversified businesses across the globe. I am responsible for the financial management and accounting of the Group’s Greater China businesses across diversified industries, as well as the Group’s global mining and mineral businesses. I also work closely with the CEO in evaluating and shaping the strategies of the businesses, managing investments and divestments, and enhancing the value of the businesses through commercial management and change initiatives.
The most interesting part of my job is leading and directing the relationship management with key governments and authorities, capital providers, business partners, management teams and colleagues in different locations and businesses.
What was the motivating factor that prompted you to pursue the CIMA CFO Programme?
I have gained substantial experience in finance, investment, management and engineering through my career in civil engineering, management consulting, investment banking, direct investment and corporate management. In 2011, I left my previous employer Macquarie Group to work on corporate finance and investment with RH Group. The Group then further entrusted me with the financial management, accounting and commercial management responsibilities of its diversified investments in Greater China and mining and mineral investments globally.
Having completed corporate finance, investment and asset management transactions and roles in my past career, I wanted to refresh and enhance the core knowledge and best practices of management accounting including risk management and governance. Effectiveness, efficiency, relevance and reputation are the key factors that I was looking for in a suitable programme. The CIMA CFO Programme ticked the check box and I did not hesitate in being a part of the Programme.
Why did you choose CIMA and not other professional accounting programmes?
I was looking for an internationally reputable accounting qualification with a strong emphasis on management accounting. I believe being a qualified management accountant makes me a better CFO. CIMA is undoubtedly the leading institution in granting a reputable management accounting qualification.
CIMA’s syllabus covers extensive financial reporting, taxation principles and ethics, and more importantly it covers in greater details on management accounting and other business skills.
Was the content of the programme useful to you?
At my level, I am focusing on strategic aspects of general management - from business strategy, financial strategy to strategic risk management. As a CFO with substantial management and corporate finance experiences, I found the Programme and its course materials, as well as CIMA course contents and exams were particularly useful in integrating management accounting with business, improving my knowledge in risk management, as well as refreshing the theories on people and leadership skills.
Can you share some tips on how you prepared for the exam? Is there anything in particular that students should look out for when sitting for the CIMA Strategic Case Study exam?
The CIMA CFO Programme workshop was a good start for the exam preparation. The Programme workshops refreshed on the core knowledge required and familiarised the Programme participants with some of the key issues relevant to the industry of the Case Study, including the use of scenario and mock exams.
In addition to that, I reviewed the CIMA textbooks relevant to the Strategic level, utilised the CIMA online learning facilities and researched on the industry using the Internet.
Students should familiarise themselves very well with the Case Study, understand the issues associated with it and prepare some solutions to the issues. During the exam, students should focus on the requirement of the questions, manage the time well and be concise in the answers.
Now that you are a CIMA member and a CGMA – what value (or advantages) would it bring to you?
Being a FCMA, CGMA adds on to my credential as a well-rounded financial management professional with the necessary technical, business, people and leadership skills at the strategic level. CIMA’s framework of practical experience and generic competencies enable me to objectively develop myself and my team.
CIMA is an excellent platform to continually enhance my knowledge in management accounting through its thought leadership and CPD. It also provides me with a networking platform and allows me to get close to other experienced professionals.
What advice would you give to aspiring students who are keen on building a career as management accountants?
Management accountant is one of the most interesting business professions. Management accountants work on understanding business value drivers, contributing to development and implementation of strategies and changes, enhancing value of businesses, managing risks and being in the loop of reporting and managing performances of businesses.
Management accountants who work on business, financial and risk strategies are always part of a group involved in the highest level of decision making in an organisation. A good management accountant makes a good senior financial executive candidate and a business leader, and he or she works closely with the CFO, CEO and the board.
Being a part of CIMA is a good start in becoming a successful management accountant.