The business of auditing is well known to be a demanding career, especially during the quarterly reporting season. While some dread the idea of the long hours scrounging through companies’ accounting books, PwC partner Nurul A’in Abdul Latif finds it enjoyable.
“I joined PwC 24 years ago so this is my first job after graduating from Universiti Malaya,” says Nurul A’in. While her mother preferred her to be a doctor, she instead found the idea of being able to know what goes on inside a company while making money appealing. This led her to pick up accountancy and join the professional services firm. “What I like about the job is that I get to go around and meet people, so you get exposed to different industries and businesses.”
According to her, what’s more important is that being around other successful people opens up an avenue for learning from their experience. Plus, it provides a character building environment, especially when having to deal with the CEOs and CFOs of big organisations.
Nurul A’in shares that her ability to converse in Mandarin made an impression on the top management when she was asked to sit in a meeting with the chairman of Bank of China as an interpreter for the agency. “It was my late father’s foresight when I was growing up in Singapore where he thought it would be a very important skill to have for work in the future. Being different makes you stand out and I have benefitted significantly from it,” says Nurul A’in, adding that she now sends all four of her children to Mandarin classes.
To her, the most important thing for any individual to have in order to be successful is not just the technical know-how but to be an all-rounder and having confidence. “I’ve seen many brilliant people facing barriers to career progression due to their limitations in communication skills. To go higher you need more soft skills than technical,” explains Nurul A’in.
BALANCE AT WORK
Despite her positive attitude towards her job, she is aware of the difficulties faced by some individuals to truly shine and grow the way she did. “Especially when you have children and family. You need to set priorities and need an understanding partner,” says Nurul A’in, adding that an understanding partner at work is equally as important.
Realising this reality, PwC is working hard to come up with initiatives to make sure their employees are able to have a work-life balance through programmes such as #gethomesafe (Get Home Safe) where employees are encouraged to reduce their long hours spent at work and to ensure they return home safely.
The initiatives are also part of the company’s effort to better adapt to the changes in the workforce that came with the entry of the millennials who are distinctly different in their needs and aspirations compared to previous generations. “The below 30s make up 80 per cent of our staff so the environment is very dynamic and young, which makes it enjoyable to work. At the same time, we're aware about what's important to them,” says Nurul A’in.
To that end, PwC introduced the flex+ programme where employees are given flexibility with consideration of their life outside of work, but still providing clients with high quality outcomes.
These initiatives also benefit the remaining 20 per cent of the company. “With all that in place, life in PwC is quite fun. I like it because I get to be with my 'work' family.”