I was born and grew up in Hong Kong before going to Canada to study. I have worked in several different countries in Europe and Australasia, which has been really helpful as it means I can bring a global perspective to my role. I also converted my AICPA qualification to ACCA because of the global opportunities it offers. I started my career as an auditor at PwC. Then after 28 years in the commercial sector, I decided I wanted a role that involved giving something back to society.

My current employer, Health Innovation East (HIE), is the regional innovation arm of the NHS in East England. We are a non-profit organisation primarily funded by the NHS and the Office for Life Sciences. Part of our mission is to improve care pathways, and support the health and life sciences industry and academics.

There are lots of interesting opportunities as we move through our careers

In my dual capacity as CFO and COO I oversee finance and operations. This involves working as a strategic business partner to the management team. My responsibilities include working with the board, senior management and various business teams, and also with IT service providers, HR consultants, bankers, auditors and legal advisers.

The challenges we are facing today mirror those of the commercial sector. These include global instability, rising costs and funding pressures. The upcoming general election is adding further uncertainty to medium and long-term strategies. We work with innovators who obtain funding from venture capitalists, but a shortage in funding from this source is also a risk we now need to navigate.

It’s important that accountancy continues to attract younger professionals. There are lots of interesting opportunities as we move through our careers because developments in technology not only allow us to offer better analysis, but also free us up from routine tasks to focus on offering strategic advice.

We grew the business in APAC from €60m to more than €130m in five years

My advice to those starting out in the profession is to define a clear career goal for yourself. More broadly, it’s also important for those in the finance function to establish connections with business operations – this is really important for professional growth. As for myself, my ultimate goal is to become virtual CFO and COO, so I can offer advice and support to professionals, entrepreneurs and NGOs globally.

One of my proudest achievements was while at Allianz Trade in Asia Pacific. I was the first localised regional chief financial and administrative officer. We grew the business in APAC from €60m to more than €130m in five years, including by expanding into new markets. It was an exciting yet challenging time. I had to hit the ground running on my first day, as the region was undergoing legal restructuring and SAP implementation with a one-year completion deadline.

I love travel and exploration. I’m keen to continue to expand my horizons.