Secondment Story - Teng Siang

One of the benefits of being part of an international network is an opportunity for an international secondment. Teng Siang, a manager in our Audit & Assurance division shares with us his secondment experience in Perth, Australia.

What made you decide to take a secondment?

I’ve always wondered what if it feels like to live and work in Australia. So, when an opportunity for a secondment to Perth opened up, I took the leap immediately. This turned out to be one of my best decisions and most exciting experience in my career.

What type of work were you doing while on secondment?

In 2018, Baker Tilly International rolled out a new audit methodology. Malaysia one of the first country to adopt this new methodology for our December 2017 year-end clients. With the knowledge and experience gained from our early adoption of the new methodology, I was able to support the Audit Division in Pitcher Partners (Perth) (“PP”) who were just implementing the new methodology then.  I also had the opportunity to conduct a couple of training on the new audit methodology for PP. 
PP had a large number of listed clients with June-ends. This provided me with the opportunity to be involved in audit for listed entitles. Additionally, I was also involved in a special audit assignment involving the joint venture operation of two very large companies, which was very exciting for me. 

How has/will this secondment opportunity impact your career?

The secondment opened up my eyes to an entirely new world and environment and helped sharpen my soft skills in dealing with clients, colleagues and superiors from all walks of life.  Essentially it pushed me out of my comfort zone and tested my knowledge, skills, flexibility and adaptability as an employee. These are valuable take-homes that I can apply in Malaysia whenever possible.

What was the best thing you experienced during your trip, that you wouldn’t have been able to do without your host firm?

It was PP’s first day at their new office on my first day of work there, and it looked amazing. I bet they have the best view of Elizabeth Quay. The view from the balcony is absolutely breath-taking, and there is even a table tennis table in the pantry. I am so glad to have been part of this new-office experience.

How did you make friends during your secondment?

Making friends isn’t hard especially when you have friendly colleagues. They had several social events during my time there, such as football (or footy), rugby and family day during my secondment. My first ever footy match was The Dockers vs Hawthorns!  What a treat!
On occasions such as birthday celebrations, there is an opportunity for everyone is to socialise and get to know each other better over tea and pastries. 
PP’s family day was held at a school farm and we had a barbeque for lunch! It’s definitely the Aussie way - having great sausages and burgers while making new friends -and I am glad I had a taste of it.

What was the highlight of living in the city, as opposed to visiting as a tourist?

I lived within the city just behind Kings Park! I enjoyed walking to work every day and also grabbed the opportunity for an evening walk after work whenever I could at Kings Park. I also loved visiting Woolworths after working hours because the things sold in Australia are just so different! You can get different types of fruits and vegetables that you don’t usually see at home. My friend also took me out fishing at Woodmen Point. How often does a tourist get to do all these things? 

What was the best thing you ate during your secondment?

Its definitely unfair to pick just one food. My first meal in Perth was KFC and it was the best KFC I ever had. I also had one of the best fish and chips ever in Fremantle, chicken parmigiana in Captain Sterling Restaurant, pizza and tiramisu in Ciao Italia Restaurant and don’t even get me started on the, chocolates! I must also add that, the doughnut and popcorn chicken at Fremantle Market are pretty awesome too. 

What has been your most memorable or valuable experience at your secondment?

My whole secondment experience was memorable.  I now have a stronger network and more LinkedIn contacts than I can count! More importantly, we have strengthened our international connection between the two firms. 
On a more personal note, I also proposed to my girlfriend when she visited me during my secondment. It all took place in South Perth Foreshore, with the help from my new friends that I made.

I have cycled around Rottnest Island visited koalas, fed kangaroos, have pictures taken with Quokas and wombats and watched dolphins swimming around Elizabeth Quay. To sum it up, Perth is just beautiful and has so much to offer!

I would like to thank Baker Tilly Malaysia and PP for such valuable opportunity and rewarding experience.