Mention the organisation name ‘Nike’ and all sorts of images of sports, famous athletes and dashing sport apparel come to mind. It is certainly one of the most desired employers to work for.
We recently met up with Leong Wee Pheng FCCA, Senior Finance Director at Nike Southeast Asia, to find out what it’s like to work in such an organisation.
As the Senior Finance Director, she also sees herself as a coach whose primary responsibility is to motivate her team to perform to the best of their ability for the benefit of the whole organisation.
Upon graduation from the National University of Singapore with a degree in business, she joined Motorola Electronics in Singapore as a Cost Accountant. There, she climbed the corporate ladder, taking on cost accounting, general accounting and eventually, she embraced a regional role where she was responsible for planning and analysis.
It was then that she realised the need for a professional accounting qualification that could provide her with a stronger background in accounting. She wanted to be well-grounded in the core knowledge and principles of accounting.
Armed with the ACCA Qualification and experience in Motorola Electronics, she assumed the role of Financial Planning Manager (Asia Pacific) with Seagram Asia for four years, before moving on to Pan United, a Singapore-listed company as its Corporate Financial Controller. This was where she learnt about how to deal with the board and how to generate shareholder value. She was also able to apply her accounting knowledge as she had to think and act like an entrepreneur during the corporate demerger of the company.
She joined Nike in 2003 where she has been ever since, having been promoted several times and given regional roles that add to her already illustrious resume.
Some of the regional roles she has under her belt include being the Financial Controller of Nike Taiwan before becoming controller of Nike China in 2008. As she was in China when the country was just opening up, she recalls, “They were very aggressive. They would tell you they want to learn more.”
After an exciting time in China, she returned to Singapore in 2009 where more promotions came her way. She has been in her current position since 2013. She sees herself as being a partner to business, supporting the growth of the company. She says, “As a finance professional, you have a choice to say, “I am just focusing on my finance function.” With an understanding of business and strategy, you can start thinking about how you merge business strategy with finance.”
Read more about Leong Wee Pheng’s journey over here.
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