Alice Tan FCCA: a career journey on Singapore’s transport system

Alice Tan FCCA: a career journey on Singapore’s transport system


So Alice, we are at the Land Transport
Authority of Singapore where for the last 20 years you’ve had quite a few
achievements here as well as overcome many challenges. This is actually a
former hospital ground that we converted into a green landscape office for staff to
enjoy this greenery, the trees. So Alice did you always want to be an accountant? Well in a way I followed after the
footsteps of my late dad who was handling finance in a Dutch trading firm, and I’ve seen how he wrote beautiful books, balanced his accounts and I said, “hey, one day I want to be like him!” and indeed that’s what I did And what is the one piece of advice you would give to young aspiring accountants just starting out on their careers? I would
recommend that they go and do at least two to three years of audit experience because when you go into audit you have to very quickly size up the firm that you’re in, in a
very short time, and then with the spectrum of experience in the industry then you’ll be able to decide a career is it banking, is it in the industries, is it in the factories, is it in the service industries or is it in a public sector organization? What would you say are some of the differences between working in the private sector
compared to the public sector? Interestingly similar to the private
sector that faces a world which is volatile, uncertain, complex and
ambiguous world. The public sector also faces that, but more importantly in the public
sector we are very focused – in the Land Transport Authority we are focused on public
transport issues. Interesting is the public sector has got a very conscious
mindset of governance, transparency accountability, because we are spending
the public dollar, so every dollar counts. So transport – that affects everyone’s
lives and it’s such an important element in modern society. What are some of
the big trends that you can share for public transport in the next ten years
or so? The rail network is the backbone of the transport system in Singapore. We are
actually increasing the rail capacity so that it’s accessible to all people. We are also reviewing the bus the bus contracting system, we are
encouraging a car-light lifestyle I am also looking forward for autonomous
vehicles where you actually don’t own a vehicle but you can actually hop on to
autonomous vehicle, do your SMS, do your whatsapp, do your emails, without being booked
by the traffic police. Can you tell us something about your life outside of
work? I know how to give my time voluntarily, my time to a church
organization in rendering them financial expertise and advice from my experience to help
them set up the internal controls, the governance, ensuring they have standard operating procedures Has being an ACCA member helped you in your
career? Oh tremendously, yes. Having this qualification which is
actually both local and global has allowed me to have the professional
standing and the qualifications to help me in my various roles in handling the respective of setting up companies,
setting up processes, setting up governance, risk management in the organization. And also it enables me to have the post-qualification exposure and network to many of the learnings and education series that ACCA conducts in Singapore. Alice, so now
we come to the rapid-fire section of our interview. Are you ready? Yes. Great, here
we go. What was the last book you read? ‘Leadership, Teacher and You.’ This is
written by Mr Lim Siong Guan who is the former civil service head of the public service, and excellent book. So what is your favourite place , and why? Currently I like to hang out this place called Genesis. It’s a place where people who like healthfood, nutrition and wellness get together. And
what is your favourite holiday destination? I like Asia, in particular
Chiang Mai, where you have many rustic places to go. There’s a place in the hotel where you stay, there is no TV, no internet, and wow, you know, in nature. Alice do you have any unusual skills or hidden talents? It’s hidden so I don’t know but my
staff tell me that I can make a complex, difficult problem into something that
is bite size, something that is doable and something that is not so difficult at all. That’s great, thank you so much Alice, what a fabulous interview, thank you for your time and
for inviting us here to this wonderful campus We look forward to catching up with you
again very soon. Thanks a lot for this opportunity.

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