The view from Mai Nguyen FCCA, head of finance, Validus Capital, Vietnam
It is widely accepted that without passion, it’s hard to pursue a long and productive career. If someone asks me why I like my job, my answer is always that I love to deliver and add value to the business from a finance perspective, and to be considered a valuable partner. A good finance person is a key success factor for any business.
I started my career as an internal auditor for FrieslandCampina, a Dutch food and drink group. It was a fantastic starting point, as audits and discussions with various department heads gave me a thorough knowledge of the business processes of a great manufacturing firm. And I’m so grateful to my first boss for directing and introducing me to ACCA.
I then worked for DXC Technology, a global IT services and solutions leader, as a finance manager. There, I gained many wonderful experiences working with business leaders not only in Vietnam but across Asia, the Middle East and the headquarters in the US.
The office in Vietnam, with more than 1,000 IT engineers, really put pressure on me – so many clever maths brains in one place. They helped me to realise the enormous influence of technology on the entire world.
I dealt with robotic process automation (RPA), which was developed inhouse for corporate functions and was extremely exciting. RPA is considered a threat to some people, but I have a different view. Technology in general and RPA in particular helps by reducing the time spent on repeatable and simple tasks, and challenges us to further develop ourselves. As a result, both business and society will gain more benefit and value from a workforce with higher expertise.
I developed a new question for my career: why not a combination of finance and technology? So now I work in fintech, in a peer‐to‐business lending marketplace. Being head of finance for Validus Vietnam, I feel proud that together with the team, we are using technology to minimise the cost of financial intermediation, and passing the benefits to both investors and SMEs.
Throughout my career, the letters ACCA and later FCCA have always sat next to my name. It’s a genuine source of pride. It helps me to be recognised globally and, more importantly, I have a reputable and powerful professional network that can support me in both expertise and career development.
Last year was a tough one, but it has also helped us to realise a lot of value. Safety during Covid-19 is an invaluable gift that the Vietnam government has given to our people. Our economy is growing positively and is promising further gains in the trend of a shifting global supply chain. I believe many opportunities will open up for young people in Vietnam.
Aside from finance, I love travelling, which is how I balance work and life. I wish to contribute my limited energy to green and sustainable tourism.
This article was first published in the March 2021 edition of Accounting and Business magazine