Mabel Koh Chiew Ling
Associate – Audit
What did you do at university?
I majored in both accounting and finance at university although I was in pure science stream up to Form 5 with an ambition to be a nutritionist. I never expected that I would change my mind until my first introduction to accounting and business studies where I realised how interesting it was to play around with numbers.
Why did you choose a career in your field?
I can just hear my mother telling me ‘take up accounting because you will get a lot of job opportunities after university!’ Her advice, plus my interest led me to where I am now. I am always curious about how things work, which fulfils the most important requirement to be an auditor: professional scepticism.
What do you do in your job?
KPMG comprises three lines of services: assurance, tax and advisory. My job as an audit associate is to utilise my best professional judgement when assessing clients’ information and assertions to ensure that the figures are accurate. I look into the internal control systems, business processes and operations as well. I believe that quality is not an act, it is a habit. Hence, I always try to be particular when performing my tasks.
What do you like most about your job?
As a valued member of the audit department, I am constantly learning something new from different audit engagements and interacting with various people across my organisation. Also, I get to come into contact with different businesses, which make me feel that auditing is definitely not as boring as people think it is.
What skills do you consider to be essential for your job?
Relevant technical skills are crucial as we deal with numbers every single day. Though, never forget that we deal with our clients too. Effective communication can promote confidence and trust between auditors and auditees. I was really quiet back then, until my first internship with KPMG during my second year of university. At times, I had no choice but to deal with clients and superiors. I opened up a lot at the end of my internship and I communicate with people better now.
What are your future plans?
I am currently pursuing an ACCA professional qualification, which may nourish me with necessary technical knowledge to deal with work across any sector in the finance and accountancy industries. As I need three years of relevant working experience to become a qualified ACCA member, I plan to work with KPMG to gain experience while doing my papers.
There are internships available for students now. I strongly advise those interested in auditing to take up this opportunity. It helps you develop relevant skills before getting hired as a permanent worker.