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salesman, Ting abruptly decided to
change career. Driven by the desire to experi-
ence a new industry and learn more, he went
on to study part-time for his postgraduate di-
ploma in professional accountancy at the Chi-
nese University of Hong Kong in 2005.
“ Working with clients closely helped
me gain insight into the operation of a com-
pany. I also realized that accounting is like
a business language and I wanted to under-
stand it more,” he says. “ The part-time pro-
gramme gave me the right amount of transi-
After a year of hard work and intense
studying he landed his first job as an audit
associate at Mazars, where he was almost im-
mediately exposed to the long hours that face
Despite the workload, Ting has always en-
joyed building and maintaining great busi-
ness relationships with clients – whether as
a salesperson or an auditor – but his current
role as a CPA, he notes, has its extra perks.
“ Building and managing a team of my
own gives me great satisfaction.”
Learning from experience
In the past, Hong Ng had his hands full writ-
ing on chalkboards and dealing with the
near-impossible task of getting the undivid-
ed attention of a room of teenagers.
Ng, assurance director at BDO, taught Eng-
lish, general science and mathematics to chil-
dren aged from 11 to 14. The students he was
assigned to teach, he says, were often those
who didn’t understand why they were in the
“It was difficult to engage the students and
motivate them to make them interested in the
subjects,” he admits.
Ng faced the challenge of teaching stu-
dents with a range of learning styles. He occa-
sionally, for instance, also taught a classroom
of hardworking high-achievers. “ They were
very quiet, very attentive and they would lis-
ten to you. There was quite a contrast,” Ng re-
With the insights he gained, Ng says that
just as his students learned from him, he
learned from a lot from his students and his
experience as a teacher.
“I found that students who are less success-
ful academically are no less intelligent com-
pared to other students. Sometimes they ben-
efit from their past experience,” he says.
With enough money gained from teaching
for more than a year, Ng was able to afford to
study abroad at Imperial College in London.
After studying for a degree in engineering,
he received a scholarship to undertake a doc-
torate, researching the effects modern tech-
nology has on developing countries.
Pursuing a research degree would later
become the unlikely move that pushed Ng
towards a career as a CPA and a happier life.
“I didn’t enjoy it and I felt demoralized. So I
needed something new to motivate myself
again,” he said.
Despite his non-accounting background,
Ng joined accounting firm BDO Stoy Hayward
and took part in their training programme,
qualifying as a member of the Institute of
Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.
He later became a member of the Institute in
His colleagues and the clients he works
with today are the main aspects of his cur-
rent job that make him appreciate his non-
linear career path. “Every bit of my past has
helped to build me up to be the person I am
Hong Ng as a CPA and (inset)
as a student in London, a trip
he paid for with the wages he
earned as a teacher
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