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Simon Hardman CA
Financial controller at Microsoft
Simon Hardman CA, works as the financial controller at Microsoft after completing the Chartered Accountants Program with Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand.
"My job is far from boring. I get to travel the world and talk to some very interesting people, customers and partners about what they're doing with technology."
What does your role at Microsoft involve?
As the financial controller at Microsoft, I am responsible for managing our P&L, looking at statutory and tax obligations, thinking about long-range forecasting, budgeting as well as reviewing strategic investments for the company and trying to anticipate how we should structure the company for the future, given the dynamic changes of the products and services that we offer in the marketplace.
Why did you choose the CA Program?
The best thing about being a Chartered Accountant for me is that it truly is an accreditation that has allowed me to travel the world. It's recognised everywhere across various disciplines. So, I know comfortably that if there's a country that I want to go to, having that on my resume allows me to get a foot in the door.
How has being a CA helped your career?
After university where I finished a Bachelor of Commerce degree, I knew that for a future in accounting it was great to have my CA designation. After working through four or five years with a small accounting firm to a larger accounting firm and getting qualified, I was able to use the CA designation to walk into the partner's office and defend a right for a promotion.
Then the second time that it really paid off for me was when I spent five years with KPMG and an opportunity came up to be part of a team to do a migration of product control functions in investment banking from London and New York to Singapore. That particular recruiting base that they sought was only going to be Chartered Accountants. I was able to participate in that and was successful enough to be based in Singapore and work in London for a few months as well.
The third area where, if I reflect on where the CA designation has helped me in my career and to get here today, was where my boss at the time in Singapore, who was the [APAC] financial director said to me, ‘We'd like you to consider a position in Vietnam in running the finance organisation there.’ The reality to him at that time was, ‘I need to make sure that you tick the right boxes from a profile perspective.’ He sought my resume out. When he read the CV he came across very quickly that I was a Chartered Accountant. That was enough for him to say, ‘You're going to be fine. You'll get the job done.’
So that was the three moments of truth for me where my CA qualification paid off in my journey to get here today.
Any advice for those considering following the CA path?
Learn how to prioritise. Determine what you have to do, when you need to do it by and structure your time to cater for that. Your time is precious. When you're working and studying you need to make sure that you've got a plan of what you need to do.