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Wendy Chan – Big Risks and Big Opportunities

By Brad Eisenhuth | Career Management, Mentor, Eisenhuth, FL:MAI |

Wendy Chan is the CFO of MinterEllison, a leading international law firm based in Sydney. She has a proven track record of leading successful finance teams, creating value for stakeholders, driving changes, improving processes and solving problems, making her a Finance Leader worth examining.

Wendy has extensive experience in Finance, both in professional services and industry. She spent nine years as the Finance Director at PwC, leading the Accounting and Tax Accounting team and the Strategic, Planning and Reporting group.

We recently welcomed Wendy to the Outperformer, and found out a little of what makes her tick professionally, and what advice she has for emerging finance professionals.

The Benefits of Being Brave

One of Wendy’s biggest achievements came as a result of taking one of the biggest risks of her career – filling a challenging role that was completely outside her comfort zone, but which proved to be the perfect springboard for making an impact in a function that touches so much of the business.

“I took on the role of Group Financial Controller at PwC with a mandate to improve the newly offshored Finance function,” explains Wendy. ”As with many outsourcing initiatives, there were a some challenges to overcome after the initial transition.

“While learning on the run and managing a new team, I was accountable for a number of initiatives to transform the finance operations within PwC. This included re-engineering accounting processes, enhancing internal controls, implementing IFRS and improving engagement .

“I took a huge risk, but it paid off.”

Adding Value – Walking The Talk

Wendy’s newest project is the implementation of Business Intelligence at MinterEllison.  “This will have a significant impact on the firm in terms of efficiencies,  and working impactfully with clients,” she says.

Some of these benefits include:

  • More timely, accurate, insightful and actionable data for decision making and forecasting purposes.
  • Gaining valuable insight into client behaviour and identifying potential opportunities.
  • Boosting productivity by reducing the manual manipulation of data, and establishing a single source of truth by integrating dispersed systems and introducing self-service.

Words of Wisdom

Wendy’s advice to emerging professionals is simple: “Do what you are passionate about,” she advises. “You will only succeed if you believe in and enjoy what you’re doing. Take risks and face challenges that will help you grow. Have a quest for knowledge, and stay on top of the innovations and disruptions in your industry. Adopt a problem solving and process improvement mindset - strive to make a difference. And find a great mentor.”

Key Points To Remember

  • Always be on the lookout for ways to add value to your company.
  • Challenge yourself – seek out opportunities to take on broader and more complex roles to improve your skill set and professional profile.
  • Don’t be afraid to take calculated risks to improve yourself and better your career.
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