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Charting a successful career with CPA Australia

Henry Wang ASA is a highly successful finance professional who has worked his way up through a number of varied positions to a leadership role as Managing Partner at Barentsz Capital, with CPA Australia helping him to become a true business leader.

Henry, who studied economics and geographic information science at Peking University and philosophy at The University of Hong Kong, says he didn’t learn much about accounting at university, but as the foundation of modern finance, he certainly needed accounting knowledge throughout his career.

Moreover, Henry says a CPA qualification was crucial in his personal transition from pure investment decision making to performing the duties of senior management. “Accountancy and finance knowledge is essential to effectively oversee the operation of an asset management group”, he said.

Henry chose CPA Australia because it was internationally recognized and provided a flexible approach to studying, alongside an engaging community that encourages continuous learning and mutual support.

Open to finance professionals from a range of backgrounds 

Henry was also attracted by CPA Australia’s flexible entry pathway for financial professionals. This meant his undergraduate degree at Peking University granted him an exemption from six foundation exams. “This recognises my knowledge gained from undergraduate study and let me focus on where I need to learn and improve the most – saving time and effort.”  

CPA Australia welcomes non-accounting background professionals, who actively spread CPA professionalism out of the accounting community and bring awareness of its importance and application to the wider world of finance. “CPA Australia do great in this regard. I greatly appreciate that.”

Henry said the CPA knowledge is definitely important for someone who leads a team, runs a business or oversees overall operations. “I can’t imagine someone with nil knowledge of accounting and finance running an asset management business well… It is impossible to perform your fiduciary duties in a responsible way if you don’t know about the asset management firm’s accounting and finance issues.”

Striving for excellence in leadership and business

Henry has had a number of increasingly senior roles in finance over the years, and he realizes the importance of solid accounting knowledge. This became increasingly apparent as his career progressed into decision-making roles two years ago.  That’s why he was determined to join CPA Australia and start the CPA Program to acquire accounting and finance knowledge from a systematic, global perspective. 

Henry worked in private credit, where the CPA Program helped him understand how to elevate the creditworthiness of an issuer, evaluate the value of collateral and develop an understanding of how much buffer is available before a defaulting position eats into investments. And now, in Henry’s current role as a Managing Partner in an asset management firm, the CPA knowledge is helping him thoroughly understand the business – including budgeting, cash flow forecasting, writing up sensible business plans, financial control and how to meet regulatory requirements. 

Throughout his journey, CPA Australia’s big-picture approach and internationally recognised designation has provided a global platform to connect with peers and businesses, helping Henry build his finance career, whilst enjoying continuous development through industry engagement.

Looking ahead, Henry can see future areas where the qualification will continue to prove its worth. The growing ESG field, which is embedded in the compulsory and elective subjects within the CPA Program is increasingly relevant to asset managers. “We need to seriously consider the application of ESG and how to integrate these into daily operations. The necessity is increasing in both investment and regulatory senses. Accounting standard-setters are also incorporating ESG-related information into financial reporting standards, and knowledge of such new developments is very important.”

He also sees future CPA application in the field of virtual assets, which have become a nonnegligible asset category for traditional asset managers. “How to record, value and audit new asset classes of such novelty poses serious challenges for the whole finance community – and here again, accountancy standard-setters are following up. A CPA qualification will help us make sense of the latest developments and correctly evaluate investment opportunities in this space.”

Provision of this extensive and constantly evolving range of subject matter is part of CPA Australia’s commitment to stay abreast of new developments in the business and accounting fields, and enable members to seize opportunities in emerging fields.

All told, CPA Australia has helped Henry achieve his desired rise up the career ladder by providing the essential financial knowledge, advice and connections that he needs to prosper in such senior positions. 

Like Henry, you can build your career with CPA Australia. To find out more please join us to an upcoming Become a CPA webinar.

AUTHORCPA Australia CPA Australia

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