Birthdays are special occasions. We reflect on the years gone by, how far we have come on our journey of life and the milestones we achieved along the way.
Every birthday is a cause for a celebration, whether it’s a sweet 16th, a 21st or a 70th.
As Singapore celebrates its 50th birthday this year, so too will many other Singaporeans who also turn 50.
One such person who shares his 50th birthday with the Lion City is our Immediate Past Chairman of the ACCA Singapore Network Panel, Wilson Woo.
We stole him from his busy schedule recently for a short interview where he revealed how he ushered in his 50th year and reminisced some of the milestones of his life.
You will celebrate your 50th birthday this year as will Singapore when it celebrates its 50th year of independence with a big bang. How did you celebrate/will you be celebrating your 50th birthday?
Being my 50th, the celebration is throughout the year.
Some memorable celebrations were: I went to France with some buddies and celebrated in Burgundy with excellent food and wine. On the actual day, I spent it with family in Madrid and bought myself a gift too.
I am sure that you would have achieved numerous personal milestones during the past 50 years. What are some of the personal ones that you hold dear and why?
Passing my ACCA and being awarded the gold medal from an academic perspective, being made partner in EY from a career perspective and having my first kid from a personal perspective.
You recently ended your term as the Chairman of the ACCA Singapore Network Panel. What are some of the most memorable ACCA moments/achievements that you experienced during your term and why? What did you enjoy the most during your term?
The most memorable would have to be the international assembly where we meet people from all over the world. I realised how global ACCA is, as a professional body. The passion that many of the representatives showed towards making ACCA a better organisation and respected across the world is amazing.
The other important point is that ACCA is well recognised in Singapore and we continue to play an important role in developing accountants the world and Singapore needs.
So I am very humbled to have been able to represent ACCA in many occasions and events and carry the name of ACCA.
You are currently a Partner in one of the Big 4 accounting firms. How has the ACCA qualification helped you in your climb up the corporate ladder? What 3 adjectives/words would you use to describe or associate with the ACCA qualification?
Opportunity, value and respect.
Opportunity: The ACCA qualification has given me the ability to pursue my career with EY.
Value: ACCA’s training and courses have equipped me well and built a strong foundation for me in my career and as a professional.
Respect: ACCA graduates are well respected. As many students are studying the ACCA qualification on a part-time basis, many have to juggle studies and work. Hence the perseverance and determination are seen as their key attributes.
Was becoming an accountant a childhood dream? And if so, who or what was your inspiration? If not, what did you want to be?
(Laughs) No, when I was young, I wanted to be a businessman. Many of the ‘businessmen’ featured in the TV shows seemed to do nothing but sign important documents.
If you could turn back time, what would you have done differently and why?
Unlikely, I think I am very fortunate to have chosen the ACCA route to become a qualified accountant that helped me become what I am now at EY.
What are the three things in life that you are most thankful for and why?
ACCA: For giving me the opportunity.
My ex-bosses at EY: For believing in me and giving me the opportunity to work and study for my ACCA qualification.
My job: For providing me with the opportunity to meet new people and make new friends along the way.
*** We appreciate Wilson taking the time off work to let us in on some of his personal and professional milestones that have made him the successful accountant that he is today.
We would also like to take this opportunity to wish the Lion City and Wilson, a happy 50th birthday and many more to come!