No job exists in a vacuum, requiring only a single skill to complete employment requirements. Instead, most modern workplaces value a mix of many different skills that allow an employee to work as part of a team of professionals to achieve a common goal. Knowing the importance of cultivating this type of diversity in your own skill set will allow you to excel in whatever position you have, but for some, gaining that diversity is easier said than done. To learn more on the topic, we reached out to Dabie Tsai, a professional with over 23 years of experience performing a range of roles in the accounting and auditing industry. Her knowledge on the subject can be instrumental to anyone seeking expanded success in their own career.
The information from Tsai stems, in part, from her long career with KPMG, a leading international accounting firm. Her time with the firm spanned a number of different countries and positions, including the role of Global Lead Audit Engagement Partner for various large global accounts. Over the course of that ascent, she gained numerous skills derived from her international experience, workplace interactions, and changing responsibilities. These skills not only helped prepare her for each step along her professional journey but also taught her the value of a continuing commitment to learning and developing oneself.
As an expert in matters of international auditing and accounting, Tsai’s skill set includes a focus on credit risk, SEC filing matters, corporate governance, and financial reporting issues. She has led large teams of individuals, most recently a 250-person group charged with handling auditing operations for KPMG Spain’s largest audit client. She is also an expert in SOX 404/internal control over financial reporting.
Importance of International Experience
One of the clear patterns in Tsai’s career is her ability to work seamlessly at the international level. Her professional life, so far, has seen her working and living in a wide range of countries including the United States, Canada, Spain, and Chile. She is also fluent in English, Spanish, and Chinese. One of the clear lessons that one can learn from her ability to thrive in different cultures and locations when needed is that there is an added benefit provided to an employer by having such flexibility. When an organization is looking for someone to take on additional responsibility, it is always beneficial if your superiors can count on you to handle a wide range of different work environments.
Beyond the simple benefits of workplace flexibility that international experience brings, the diversity of thought that comes from living in a different country is also invaluable to most work environments. The way we work is heavily influenced by our cultural values, so it stands to reason that spending time working in another culture opens us up to new ways of doing business. This alternative viewpoint on how to conduct work is invaluable in situations that require innovative problem-solving. With one culture’s workplace methodology, a specific problem may be difficult to solve, but when you have a range of different methodologies to draw on, problems inevitably become much more manageable.
Credentials and Positional Experience
Another key to Tsai’s success is her willingness to develop skill sets beyond whatever workplace she finds herself in. Some people attain a position in their organization and are happy to fill that role throughout the entirety of their career. While this can be comfortable, as job requirements are likely to fall well within one’s past experience, this type of career path can leave some feeling stagnated. To continue past this paradigm, one must constantly be searching for methods to develop skills beyond the needs of one’s current role.
One way to accomplish this is through the attainment of credentials that show that one has gained the technical knowledge required to perform additional tasks beyond one’s job description. This can be seen in Tsai’s life through her willingness to become credentialed in a number of different localities such as being a US certified public accountant and a Canadian chartered accountant, and complete trainings outside of her career requirements. For those seeking to emulate her level of success, a focus on obtaining new credentials can be a key part of advancement into a variety of new career roles.
Participation in Professional Organizations
Another way to add to one’s skill set is to participate in an organization aimed at improving the professional abilities and opportunities of its members. These organizations exist in many different forms and are sometimes organized by a company to bring together a certain subset of its employees for training and exchange of ideas. Often, a particular profession will have an organization open to all within the field to come together and learn from one another. These types of activities not only help you learn new things but also increase your ability to reach out to others for advancement and advice.
Tsai has not only been a member of such organizations throughout her career but has also helped guide and lead these types of groups when the opportunity has presented itself. Examples include her time as the Partner Champion for KPMG’s Network of Women and its Asian Pacific Islanders Network. Organizing and managing groups such as these not only helps promote values of learning and career development but also provides individuals with a way to foster talent and give back to their professional communities.
As the modern workplace increasingly values a diverse skill set in employees, the ability to accrue new expertise over one’s career is becoming more and more important. The example set by Dabie Tsai throughout her career shows how skills can be accumulated and used to advance one’s goals, no matter what field they are in.