Monica Executive Director/Vice President, Internal Audit Internal Audit Department, Tokyo
You should also take time to consider what you are doing, where you want to go and be receptive of constructive feedback so that you can identify the areas where you need to develop further.
I am a business auditor in the Tokyo Internal Audit Department. My key responsibility is to conduct audits on the firm’s businesses and functions and to determine the design adequacy and effectiveness of controls for the area under review. Outside of my department, I serve as an Alternative Secretary in one of the firm’s corporate governance committees. I am also a co-chair in one of the Japan Women’s Network sub committees.
As part of the Tokyo Internal Audit team, I am able to gain a more holistic view of the firm’s activities and a better understanding of interdepartmental relationships, while meeting new people throughout the firm. Our group usually works in small teams comprised of two to three auditors. Each team member functions independently on his or her allocated area, while at the same time supporting the others by sharing information, knowledge and best practices. This is not only done within the individual project teams, but across the department. Everyone works closely together with the objective of completing the reviews effectively and efficiently.
We must conduct effective risk assessments to assist us in prioritizing and determining the areas for review. In addition, we have to be on our toes to keep up with the constantly changing operating environment. It is also essential that we exercise creativity in providing commercially viable solutions to enhance the control environment and mitigate any risks.
I am usually involved in several ongoing audit reviews simultaneously. These projects may be local, regional or global. My typical work day often begins with multiple meetings. When meeting with clients, we will discuss their work functions to facilitate us in conducting the audit reviews or we may examine areas where controls could potentially be improved. In team meetings, we go over the project scope, our approach, recent progress and exceptional findings identified during testing.
My day also consists of audit testing work for my current projects. In addition, I assist my manager in responding to email requests or queries that we receive from Internal Audit team members from other regions. Sometimes, I will have evening conference calls with my global team members regarding a global project. We will also update each other and share knowledge that we obtain from audits conducted in our respective region. Finally, I am involved in people development. I frequently meet with my assigned team members to discuss their progress and action plans for career development.
After eight years with a public accounting firm in Singapore, I evaluated my self-development and career path. I knew I was interested in working overseas, particularly in Japan, and so I sent my resume to recruitment firms there. I interviewed with several financial institutions and decided to choose Goldman Sachs, not only because of the firm’s exemplary reputation, but because the communication with interviewers made me believe that the firm and its environment would be a good fit (even if the questions asked were tough at times).
The people here are highly competent and the business activities and operating environments are complex and fast-paced. At the same time, I felt very fortunate that all my colleagues were so helpful. They were always ready to respond whenever I had questions, regardless of how simple they may have seemed. After more than two years with the firm, teamwork remains as strong as ever.
I initially wanted to pursue Chemical Engineering as I enjoyed myself while working as a contract laboratory technician testing petroleum products and chemicals. However, at the last minute, I chose Accountancy as the course took only three years instead of the four years required for engineering courses. That was my stepping stone into the accounting and finance field. I was happy to have the opportunity to work at this firm, and have definitely enjoyed myself so far.
A career in finance is very interesting and can be very rewarding. However, the hours can be long and the work can be very hectic and intense. I would say it is important to execute your job well and manage your own career. You should also take time to consider what you are doing, where you want to go and be receptive of constructive feedback so that you can identify the areas where you need to develop further.
There are many avenues where you can seek advice and assistance to develop yourself and your career here at the firm. In addition, the firm’s Internal Mobility Program provides access to permanent positions both locally and in other offices for interested employees to further their career development.