Zhang Mengying, journalist

As head of audit and financial advisory at Mazars Southern China, Joanna Ye is leading a team in Guangzhou working closely with international companies. Among various strategies that she has developed in working with a diversified portfolio of enterprises, one golden principle for her is ‘professionalism plus service’, ensuring that customer care goes with high standards of work.

‘Our top priority is ensuring quality in our industry, as it allows us to assist customers in complying with regulations and operating successfully in various markets,’ she says. ‘While working on identifying and addressing significant risks, we provide practical strategies that align with companies’ goals in long run.’

‘We make it a point to understand and address customer expectations’

Customer care

Ye adds that prioritising quality can be challenging for accounting and finance professionals, who must continuously learn and adapt to changing regulations, customer organisations and evolving business models.

She emphasises the importance of providing professional services that combine expertise and exceptional customer care. ‘Professionalism encompasses having in-depth knowledge and effective communication skills. Service, on the other hand, involves actively listening to customers and addressing their expectations, such as meeting agreed timelines and avoiding last-minute surprises.’

Ye says effective project management becomes crucial when dealing with large cross-border projects. It means putting in time and effort to understand the customer’s requirements and stakeholder needs as well as closely monitoring progress and coordinating communication across different countries, languages and cultures. She adds that she considers herself ‘a hands-on manager’.

‘Many European companies want to stay in China and expand here’

Sino-European focus

In 2021, she was elected to the board of the south chapter of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China, and is now serving a second two-year term. ‘Many European companies want to stay in China and expand here,’ says Ye. Manufacturing companies, in particular, prioritise supply chain reliability and infrastructure, and she says South China offers a mature and robust platform for high-end manufacturing and automation.

At the same time, Chinese enterprises have been expanding their global presence, demonstrating their growing strength. As well as its inbound investment services in China, Mazars, which was established in 1945 with European roots, offers a platform where China-related expertise, experience and resources can be integrated and maximised to support the overseas expansion of Chinese companies.

Digital challenges

Ye admits that the role of the finance professional has become even more demanding with China’s significant economic and technological transformation over the past two decades. ‘Traditional companies in South China have embraced a high level of automation with the integration of robots into their assembly lines,’ she says.

China has also undergone a notable digital transformation across many sectors. And despite the current geopolitical tensions and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, which led to a slowdown, Ye believes the substantial size of China’s market continues to drive development, notably the dynamic markets in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.

Amid all these changes, Ye believes the mission of accounting professionals is still the same: to provide accurate accounting and critical information for decision-making and risk management. However, as organisations grow larger and undergo digital transformation, the business landscape becomes more complex, with numerous transactions within the system. Without expertise in data analysis, it is difficult to understand the overall performance of a company, she says.

Analysing vast amounts of data requires leveraging technology and having a dedicated data team to generate key information. Ye believes that continuous learning is important in the era of digitisation.

‘Each individual brings their own strengths, and we need to recognise and leverage these unique qualities’



Head of audit and financial advisory, Mazars Southern China


Assistant manager, audit and assurance, KPMG Shenzhen, China

‘Learning data analysis is not easy, particularly for junior colleagues who may lack a background in this area,’ she says but adds examples to follow in other markets include France, where junior professionals are exposed to training and gradually become proficient in analytical techniques.

While Ye accepts she may not fully understand the implementation of a specific technology, she always tries to understand the processes and outputs so that she can effectively communicate with the team and make requests for information or delegate.

Learning benefits

As a leader, Ye encourages colleagues with a keen interest in specific areas to take the lead and contribute to collective learning. ‘Each individual brings their own strengths, and we need to recognise and leverage these unique qualities. We also encourage the team to step outside their comfort zones to unlock potential.’

As a member of the ACCA Southern China steering team (which sets strategic direction and oversees the organisation) since 2019, Ye says the value of ACCA membership goes beyond the qualification itself. ‘It lies in the platform and resources ACCA offers, which support various aspects of work, study and personal life. Being part of a community that shares similar values and goals is beneficial for both physical and mental wellbeing.’

She highlights ACCA’s mini learning programmes for staying on top of evolving business, finance and accountancy issues. ‘The time requirement is limited and can help enhance relevant comprehensive skills and knowledge,’ she says.

Ultimately, it all comes back to her working credo: ‘professionalism plus service’. In her desire to achieve this, the learning never stops.

Mazars in numbers


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countries and territories


of the global workforce are women