Year of Transformation: Cheng & Co’s Journey to Becoming a Leading International Accounting Firm

By Dato’ Dr Chua Hock Hoo

Towards the end of 2016, we declared that 2017 will be a year of Transformation for Cheng & Co towards our vision to become the leading home-grown international accounting firm with offices in 100 locations by the year 2020. We have had numerous discussions and countless days of long hours with all our partners to construct the best possible plan to engineer our growth over the next two and a half years.

I am happy to state that our Transformational year has gone up a gear with numerous breakthrough events and collaborations that have taken place in the first half of 2017. In mid-2016, we officially opened our wholly-owned subsidiary Pro B Centre in Bangsar South, Kuala Lumpur (KL), offering Shared Services Outsourcing (SSO) and Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) services and facilities.

The success of Pro B has resulted in a landmark signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Cheng & Co, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) and, software solutions and services provider XeerSoft to incorporate Account365 – a cloud accounting system – into UKM’s Global Business Services (GBS) course. Cheng & Co will support UKM via its Pro B portal to ​review student’s final year projects which include GBS assignments for clients.

This is a clear indication of our commitment to human capital development, particularly in a growing industry such as GBS. As part of Cheng & Co’s core transformational strategy towards internationalisation, we joined the TGS Global Network last year and our aim was to become the leading TGS member in the ASEAN region in the future. Signs are positive as two TGS Global network member firms from abroad visited our office recently.

Chief Executive Officer Tom Wong and I had the privilege to personally welcome Ms Kanjanick Suwinchai, Managing Partner of Enlighten Advisory from Thailand and Mr Muhanad Shilu of Fuad Abdul Kareem & Partners from Qatar. We had a great sharing session, learning about each other’s business, culture and more. We also had the opportunity to visit another TGS member firm, Nortex in Shanghai, China and had a positive engagement with them.

Subsequently, we moved it up a notch with our trip to Europe in June. Cheng & Co visited TGS Soregor in Paris and I made a courtesy call to Managing Director Marc Desjardins. Next was to The Netherlands to explore engagements with TGS Lime Tree in Amsterdam, particularly to outsource their accounting services to Cheng & Co, while promoting fundraising opportunities for M Group Australia’s development project.

Asia is expected to reap tremendous economic benefits from China’s massive One Belt, One Road (OBOR) project. Our trip to Europe also discussed strategies and development possibilities of TGS Asia-Pacific with Cheng & Co as the focal point of support, as part of our transformation strategy.

International Accounting Firm With Global Presence

Cheng & Co is already present in major Asia-Pacific countries such as China, Hong Kong, Australia and Singapore and our presence is expected to grow to other countries in the region by 2020. Hence, the establishment of TGS Asia-Pacific will certainly enhance the strength of the network while increasing the international recognition of TGS members in the region.

To boost Cheng & Co’s brand name as one of the leading home-grown international accounting firms and, also appeal to youngsters and graduates as the employer of choice to pursue a successful career, we participated in numerous prominent career fairs. We had booths and conducted interviews with talented individuals in fairs such as CPA Australia Careers and University of Malaya Career Path in KL and, the TNC Crossover Camp in Melaka.

On the subject of youngsters, we realised that to achieve our vision, it is crucial to cultivate our young talent and develop them into future leaders with the right knowledge and transformational mindset to lead Cheng & Co towards and beyond 2020. Hence, we introduced the Transformational Leadership Programme 2017, which is supported by Cheng & Co Foundation.

Indeed, we have conducted leadership programmes in the past, especially the S.U.P.E.R Leadership series. But this time it’s different and far more challenging as the Transformational Leadership Programme is a wholistic series of training sessions that incorporates the S.U.P.E.R series modules and outdoor adventures designed to help participants enhance their leadership knowledge, master soft skills, develop confidence and overall physical endurance.

Thus far it has proven to be successful as our talented staff who are participating in this year’s edition are showing greater enthusiasm and willingness to learn and develop into Cheng & Co’s leaders of tomorrow. Merger and acquisition (M&A) strategies have been a cornerstone to our growth and success since 1993 and the second quarter of 2017 ended on a high as we added yet another new branch to the Cheng & Co family.

On 26 May 2017, Cheng & Co officially sealed the M&A of Taiping, Perak-based accountancy firm Ng Yoke Weng & Co. Ng Yoke Weng & Co has been in practice for more than 30 years and the firm was built through the hard work, dedication and vision of Mr Ng together with his highly-committed staff members. This M&A will further consolidate Cheng & Co’s presence in Malaysia and the professional services that we provide nationwide.

In all, we have successfully carried out our agenda for Transformation for the first half of 2017. I am truly excited about the prospects and potential for the rest of the year and everyone at Cheng & Co are geared up to end 2017 on a high.

So, together we Transform, together we Grow and together we Succeed.


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