Henry Tan of CLA Global TS Group stresses crucial role of collaboration in creating meaningful opportunities

Tan delved into key management trends set to make a substantial impact in Singapore's business arena in the years ahead.

In the fast-paced world of business, effective and efficient management is a crucial element of success. This holds especially true in Singapore, a global hub for commerce and innovation. As businesses in the Lion City continue to flourish and attract investment from around the world, the need for astute leadership and an adaptive, reliable financial system is paramount.

One individual who has been at the forefront of this dynamic landscape is Henry Tan, the Group CEO & Chief Innovation Officer at CLA Global TS Holdings Pte. Ltd. With a distinguished career spanning finance, accounting, and insolvency practice, Tan brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the table.

His impressive credentials include a First Class Honours degree in Accountancy from the National University of Singapore, memberships in numerous professional organisations, and a track record of serving on the boards of various high-profile companies.

In this article, Tan shares his thoughts on the importance of an efficient insolvency system in Singapore and the wider Asian context. He also delves into key management trends that are set to make significant impacts on the Singaporean business landscape in the coming years.

As a licenced insolvency practitioner, why do you think it is important for management professionals in Singapore and in Asia to continuously develop an efficient and effective insolvency system?  

As the Southeast Asian economies (Singapore included) and the Chinese economy gain greater share and importance in the global economy, ever more investment capital is heading to these economies.

To support these investments, the recipient must possess a trusted and reliable financial system. Such a financial system must necessarily comprise an effective and efficient insolvency regime that would provide the stakeholders with a just and equitable solution for any failed investment initiative.

Hence, as Singapore and Asia economies continue to mature and gain importance to global investors, insolvency practitioners must continue to play a greater role to evolve; acquiring the latest financial knowledge, adopting best practices, and enhancing skillsets to upgrade their financial systems to meet the demands of foreign investment.  

With your extensive experience in the finance industry, what are some of the key management trends today that you think will make huge impacts in Singapore in the next few years?

Collaboration is the key. Within the firm, different business units collaborate to create meaningful opportunities for our people, our clients, and our communities. When facing clients and industry partners, collaboration sparks new innovative service offerings to gain competitiveness. 
Talent management has become equally or even more important than managing the business. This is especially true in the finance industry, where our people front the services we provide. 

What our people continue to look for are opportunities. Hence, as an employer, we need to ensure our people have great winning opportunities in terms of areas of learning, upgrading, exposure, advancement, broad thinking, experiential learning, hands-on usage of advanced tools, and exposure to cross-cultural and different geopolitical environments.

Whilst financial gain remains a motivator, talents value forward-looking firms that can offer career progression, global opportunities, and corporate purpose with an impact. 

Talents are always looking out for job opportunities with innovative cultures, flexible working arrangements, benefits that evolve with time, and employers that listen to them. 

In addition to career progression within the firm, talents are also looking for firms that can offer mobility. This could be in the form of a secondment to the firm’s regional office and affiliated overseas firms or working opportunities with overseas clients. 

Having worked for various professional institutions, how do you see the role of finance and accounting practice and professionals evolving in the near future?

Finance professionals should no longer view themselves as accountants but as business advisors as more are needed beyond numbers. Finance professionals can add tremendous value with advice on business, risk, and other areas with evidence-based financial perspective. 

Technology has changed the way finance and accounting professionals work. From going paperless to the adoption of many digital tools such as secured digital signing, efficient cloud-based accounting, extensive enterprise resource planning (ERP), and personalised data analytics software, technology tools streamlined some of the primary or day-to-day tasks.

Emerging Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology will continue to evolve at a very fast pace to shape and replace certain roles. AI can automate repetitive and high-volume tasks with high accuracy and efficiency. However, it is important to note that humans are still required to set it up, ask the right questions to ensure accuracy and add the human touch, especially in client-facing transactions. Whilst technology will do a lot more mundane, repetitive calculations, finance professionals are to exercise analytical mind and judgement, which cannot be replaced.  

With the benefits that technology brings, we must consider and manage the risks. Cybersecurity and data protection are essential to safeguard individuals and organisations against cyber threats. We must prevent and reduce such risks, especially in the finance and accounting practice, as it holds vital information regarding cost and earnings, profit and loss, liabilities, and assets for decision making which influences processes within a business.

As a judge in this year’s SBR Management Excellence Awards, what makes an entry stand out for you in terms of its impact on the Singapore management landscape?

Entries that are into sustainability, innovation, and digital solutions would stand out. Additionally, those that could add value to healthcare, wellness, care for the elderly, and food shortage issues would create an impact. 

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