Sanjay Sidhu

Executive Director, Advisory

Current role
I currently lead a team of multiskilled individuals who deliver a range of forensic and risk management related services to clients. These services include investigations, forensic data analysis, risk assessments, internal control reviews and advice in relation to corporate governance and enterprise risk issues.

What attracted you to this role and this company?
Having spent 10 years in public accounting, followed by 10 years in a corporate internal control and governance environment, this role seemed to be the natural progression for me. I wanted also to turn my experience back into the public accounting environment as it is one that I enjoy immensely. BDO came across as dynamic – growing, nimble and ready to think unconventionally. From the very first discussions with the firm, it came across as an organisation that would allow me to present my skills while helping me to continue to grow. One year on, this has proved to be exactly the case.

What makes you suitable for this job?
I think the most critical elements are experience and personality. Having also worked regularly across a range of companies and almost a dozen countries have allowed me to compare and contrast how things are and can be done differently. Working with a range of people and cultures was also sensitised me to the range of organisational, personal aspirations and outlooks that can shape how things are done and how advice is received.

What is the one skill you possess that makes you an effective leader?
I’ve learned, from watching others and taking on from people whom I consider mentors, that a leader is not someone who gets out front and leads the way, but is someone who inspires others to follow him or her; someone who gets people to believe that their way is the way to go. The key skill for achieving this is communication, and that includes listening as much as being able to communicate outwards. On a day-to-day basis, I make the time to listen, coach, advise and take on advice.

Professional motivation
The personal motivation comes from wanting to do justice to the efforts my elders put into getting me educated and placed well in life, plus setting an example formy own child. My energy comes quite simply from the fact that I absolutely, thoroughly enjoy what I do.

In short: ‘School’s over. Your education starts now.’ What I’m getting at is that the true learning that will take you through your career begins only when you enter the working world. I have seen many new graduates fail to grasp that and fail as a result, despite their 4.0 GPAs. Your university learning and results may open the door to a career, but how well you do once you step through that door comes down to what you do and learn from then onwards.

Career Highlights
1991 Graduated from University of Strathclyde, UK with a bachelor’s degree in accounting and finance
1991 Joined Touche Ross & Co in Glasgow, UK as Trainee Chartered Accountant of Institute Of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS)
1994 Earned Chartered Accountant certification from ICAS
1994 Joined Ernst & Young in Aberdeen, UK
1996 Joined Ernst & Young in Warsaw, Poland
2000 Earned Certified Information Systems Auditor certification from ISACA
2001 Joined Lucent Technologies in Hilversum, the Netherlands as IT Audit Lead for Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA). Went on to lead the EMEA team as a whole for Internal Audit as well as Compliance and Investigations
2008 Joined Avery Dennison as Internal Audit Director for EMEA
2011 Joined Amgen as Internal Audit Director for all operations outside North America
2012 Returned to Malaysia and joined BDO as Executive Director, Advisory