Full Name: Tan Pi Chiang
Occupation: Head of Finance
Organisation: Cellnique Cosmaceutical Sdn Bhd, Malaysia
CIMA Entry Route: CIMA-MIA Strategic Leaders Programme
CIMA Level/Award achieved so far: ACMA, CGMA
Tell us about your current role and what is the most interesting part of your job?
Currently I am the Head of Finance and primarily leading the finance function in the group of companies. I am also involved in developing the strategic planning, identifying Key Result Areas and setting up the KPIs on the corporate level to ensure that the organisation is aligned to its corporate objectives. The most interesting part of the job is being able to be involved in setting up the strategic directions for the organisation. It is a very challenging task where I will need to look into different perspectives of the business and identify the critical success factors in achieving the strategic objectives of the organisation.
What was the motivating factor that prompted you to pursue the CIMA-MIA Strategic Leaders Programme?
I believe the Programme will help me develop my career path into a new level with a globally recognised CIMA qualification. Besides that, the CIMA programme structure which is very relevant to my job expectations had also prompted me to pursue this programme.
Why did you choose CIMA and not other professional accounting programmes?
I believe that the CIMA programme is a more well-rounded programme which also focuses on the non-financial aspects of a business. This is crucial because in a real business environment, focusing mainly on the financial aspects that are provided mostly by other professional accounting programmes will not be sufficient enough to excel in this highly competitive environment.
Was it a tough journey pursuing the last exam of the CIMA qualification? Describe your journey – how do you balance work and study, how much time do you spend studying and which study materials did you use?
It was tough when I was trying to decide whether should I pursue the CIMA qualification due to work and family time constraints. However, after I had taken the first step to enrol for the programme, it was not that difficult after all. I try to manage my time accordingly for my work, family and studies. Normally I would spend one to two hours late at night to read study materials and online articles, and do some online research to prepare for the exam.
Is there anything in particular that students should look out for when sitting for the CIMA Strategic Case Study exam?
In my opinion, the pre-seen material is the most important piece of information for students to scrutinise and identify the issues for the Case Study exam. Gathering more information or case studies on the industry, best practices and applying them within the context of the Strategic Case Study will also help a student to pass the exam.
What advice would you give to aspiring students who are keen on building a career as management accountants?
It is advisable that students who do not have interests in public practice should really consider CIMA instead of other professional accounting programmes. The CIMA programme is much more flexible and business focused. Students will be more well prepared to face the business challenges after they have graduated.
Before venturing into management accounting, ask yourself whether you really have an interest in the field. The next question should be whether you think that it gives you value in climbing the corporate ladder. If the answer to both questions is a ‘yes’, then you are heading in the right path.
Now that you are a CIMA member and a CGMA – what value would it bring to you?
As a member of CIMA and CGMA, I will be able to continuously develop myself with up-to-date developments on my skills, knowledge and best practices. These developments will be essential for my personal development and career progression.
How would the CIMA qualification be of help to you in your work or career?
The qualification has helped me to sharpen my business skills and improve my strategic thinking other than the financial aspects which are expected from the qualification. These skills have enabled me to make better decisions and lead my team more effectively.