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Leading up to Cheng & Co’s 25th Anniversary celebrations this year, Connection Online will be featuring a series of articles that shares the thoughts of our core partners on their time with the firm, their personal and professional development throughout their tenure and their hoped for the future.

This series focuses on Deputy Managing Partner, Mr Tan Wae Leng. He began his career at Cheng & Co’s Melaka Branch in 2001, with the Consultancy division in a junior position as Associate Advisory with starting salary of RM850. He was employed by ex-Melaka Branch Manager, Mr Chua Hock Peng. The Melaka Branch had just started at that time and was a small outfit with limited resources. However, Mr Tan was willing to take on any assignments to drive the branch and sometime did work outside of his job description and managed them well. During this process he gained a lot of experiences dealing with different industries and, with good overall performance, he moved up the ranks to Head of Business Advisory and Consultancy Division, and subsequently Melaka Branch Manager. Today he is the Deputy Managing Partner of Cheng & Co Group.

Tan shares his thoughts on his time with Cheng & Co and what drives him to keep powering the firm towards achieving its Vision 2020, to become the Firm of the Future – the leading home grown international accounting firm.


What are the key factors that motivate you to further your career and professional growth with Cheng & Co?

Throughout my time in Cheng & Co, I have gone through great career advancement. I have shared with other colleagues before on the time I worked as junior where I came across many university friends who were already attached to big corporate companies with good remuneration packages. I also faced pressure from family to change jobs and join a bigger organisation. However, I insisted that I stay on with Cheng & Co because I can see firm growing and offering a good career platform with many opportunities for youngsters.


How much have you gained in professional and personal development throughout your tenure in Cheng & Co?

During the early years at Cheng & Co, with the dedicated teams in the Melaka Branch, we grew steadily yet explosively to become the second biggest in terms of turnovers and head counts which is just behind our Headquarters, among other locations of Cheng & Co Group. With a great team now, Business Advisory and Consultancy became one of the strengths and core services of Cheng & Co.

In Cheng & Co, I learnt a lot about leadership and problems solving that has equipped me with good managing capabilities. I worked my way up the ladder from a junior to become a divisional partner and Head of the Melaka Branch between 2001 and 2007.

In 2008 I obtained approval as an approved licensed auditor and was admitted become as a Core Partner of Cheng & Co. I was subsequently transferred to Headquarters and became the Deputy Managing Director in 2011.


What are the areas that you feel Cheng & Co is different from other organisations?

Cheng & Co’s philosophy is to provide total solutions and a One Stop Professional Centre and with this belief, we are firmly growing together with Small & Medium Enterprises. As they grow they will need more services to support their business. This is what constantly drives Cheng & Co to expand our range of services.

In Cheng & Co another good value is “sharing and transparency.” We are willing to share the rewards with our high performing teams. We are a performance driven and rewarding organisation. As long as you can perform and contribute to the growth of the organisation, we are willing to share the benefits with them.

The key factor to become a manager in Cheng & Co is performance, not the number of years of employment. This is the reason that we have many mangers and partners who are young and energetic.

We have more than 30 partners in the Group and we emphasise a lot on communication and transparency to prevent any misunderstanding and align our goals with others to work closely and achieve them.


What areas do you feel require further improvements?

We need to work harder to improve our current I.T. infrastructure to the greater extent of automation to enhance the delivery of services without compromising quality. Now the business environment is much more dynamic and we need more talent to contribute new ideas and take initiatives to lead the change which is crucial for the organisation’s future.


What development plans do you have for your division in the future?

My plan for Business Advisory & Consultancy is to build up more talent to assist our clients’ growth strategy for the future. Currently we have many divisions and services in this platform, and we are moving towards consolidating our expertise, know-how and industry benchmarking into big data analysis to strengthen our professional service model.


As a partner and director in Cheng & Co Group, what advice do you have for managers, young employees and newcomers to the firm?

In Cheng & Co, those who perform well are very passionate about their day-to-day work responsibilities. Passion in this profession is key for success. Whatever challenges we face will present good learning opportunities that will make us brilliant. Therefore, we should never give up trying.

Cheng & Co is the firm of future and it is the firm of your future.

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