A day in my life with the Asia-Pacific Talent Hub

FSO Manager Ben Sclater was seconded from Sydney to the Manila-based Asia-Pacific Talent Hub (ATH) late last year, to oversee a cross-border teaming initiative on Office of the Chairman Account Macquarie’s audit – as well as to help set up the ATH team. He talks about a day in his life working with the Talent Hub.

I wake up in my Manila hotel room. After a quick breakfast, I head to work by car. Walking into the building, I do my best to say ‘Magandang Araw’ – G’day in Tagalog – to my mates in the office. They think my pronunciation is hilarious.

Before noon
This morning I’m running several meetings with the ATH professionals to discuss aspects of Macquarie’s audit. ATH is a new cross-border teaming initiative which provides client service teams across our Area with support and services from professionals based in our Talent Hub based in Manila. Working with the ATH enables us to provide exceptional client service to our accounts, while ensuring our engagements are competitive.
Running the Macquarie engagement, mostly based out of Sydney, with a team of 12 audit professionals in Manila has presented a new set of challenges. To successfully bring team members based in a different geography on board, it’s crucial for our engagement teams to invest their time at the outset. We’re all putting a lot of time and energy into getting Macquarie’s audit planning right and preparing our extended ATH team to be ready for the year-end audit work.
The shift to working with the Manila-based team is requiring wholesale changes. I am building up the team, setting-up and training them on the requirements of the engagement, shifting documentation from paper-based to electronic systems, identifying and building an appropriate method for data transmission and coordinating across borders with both Sydney-based and international contacts. In the coming audit season, we’ll be able to work together seamlessly because both the engagement team and the Talent Hub have put in the hard work in the beginning.

After our meetings, I head out to eat with friends from the office. They take me to one of their favorite local places and we chat and joke as we eat. In the Philippines, relationships are incredibly important – family and friends are held in high regard – and I’m getting to know a few people whom I know will be friends for life.

This afternoon I’m leading a training session for the Talent Hub. It’s one of the last days of my secondment. The Talent Hub team is totally committed. Working with them, I’m seeing first-hand what they can accomplish and I’m also witnessing some amazing speed of development. There’s still lots to be done, but I believe the future for the team is very bright.

So far the ATH team has invited me to everything from Friday night drinks to the 65th Anniversary party for the Philippines practice. Tonight I’m heading out with the team and we’re off to, wait for it… karaoke!

Ben’s post script
I had a blast in Manila and I was also introduced to a few new things, including barongs (a traditional Filipino garment for formal and special occasions) and Red Horse beer. And, after my initial time with the team came to an end, it wasn’t goodbye but Sa muling pagkikita (see you later).I headed back a month later to lead a training session on Australian Asset Management, it was great to catch up with everyone and see the good work they’re doing.

26 Jan 2012