Management should enhance communication, and digital processes to improve workflow, says SHINEWING (HK) CPA Limited partner

Samson Lee highlights how companies should optimise team performance to stay on track amidst crises.

Samson Lee is a Partner for Assurance and Business Advisory Services at SHINEWING (HK) CPA Limited, currently holding over two decades of experience in the said fields under his helm. He is responsible for various projects of auditing, corporate finance, and financial reporting at the company.

His expertise includes the audit and advisory services, listed company audit, IPO services, acquisition transaction audit, as well as due diligence work. He is also familiar with different industries, having worked in the service, light, heavy, construction, and mining industries.

Moreover, he currently holds a bachelor’s degree in Finance from Sun Yat-sen University and is a member of the Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

Lee noted that the importance of digital transformation for businesses across sectors cannot be denied as it is the key to improving the scientificity and efficacy of business decisions and achieving success. He further explained that company management should implement effective change programmes focusing on change in mentality and approach. 

Samson also mentioned that management should also enhance the communication and digital processes of employees to enhance their workflow and efficiency.

Speaking with Hong Kong Business as one of the judges for this year’s Management Excellence Awards, Lee highlighted the need for management to strengthen its digital collaboration and ESG capabilities across the workforce. He also emphasised the importance for companies to act quickly in response to shifting market circumstances.

As a leader in Hong Kong’s finance sector, how do you see digital transformation journeys changing the business landscape? How can the management further promote this

Businesses in Hong Kong continually face the pandemic turmoil, trade and geopolitical concerns and shifting work patterns. Secure financial operations and remote work have become critical with online platforms providing a lifeline for business. Companies in Hong Kong act quickly to embrace or accelerate digitisation projects, whatever the company size, reacting promptly to current demands in the changing business landscape. 

There is no denying the importance of digital transformation for businesses in all sectors, which is key to improving the scientificity and efficacy of business decisions and achieving long-term business success. Digital transformation requires effective change programmes implemented by the management, that focus on change in mentality and approach.  Management shall also enhance the communication and digital processes of employees to enhance their workflow and efficiency.

What do you think are some of the biggest challenges currently in Hong Kong management? How can these be addressed?

In the near future, Hong Kong will continue to see erratic financial ebbs and flows as opposing geopolitical considerations sway its open economy. Some multinational firms might have plans of moving operations out of Hong Kong due to the business downturn amidst the Covid-19 epidemic. Hong Kong is also one of the places that uphold severe Covid-19 regulations, with entering tourists being subject to a certain period of quarantine. The quarantine measures and travel arrangements have postponed the re-opening of Hong Kong, bringing uncertainty and risks and probably diluting its attractiveness as a business destination.

It is important for companies to identify and implement the right strategies to stay on track amidst a crisis.  There is an imperative need to evolve and migrate to the digital world and find new and forward-thinking solutions to reorganise business operations and grow the business. It is also a good opportunity for companies to optimise team performance with remote working mode, saving on overhead and getting access to larger pools of talent from worldwide. 

What do you think are the lessons that finance professionals can take from the impacts of the pandemic? How do you think they can incorporate these learnings to improve their work? How can management assist in this area?

Technology is driving a new economic revolution, and artificial intelligence will have far-reaching societal impacts. Professionals appear to have moved with the trend to smart automation, introducing more digital products or services. They learn to establish the innovations that support their survival or growth and explore new business models. Agility and speed now become a critical basis for differentiation, as a company demonstrating higher agility and rapid response is found to communicate better and more effectively with their stakeholders.

As the pandemic continues to disrupt, it is essential for management to support and enhance the workforce experience for digital collaboration and co-creation, secure a resilient IT architecture supporting the new work environment, and establish monitoring programmes for strategic response and guidelines for managing disruptions. More funding might be allocated to maintain the technology ecosystem so as to stabilise business operations for resilience.

For future finance professionals, what relevant skills should they learn to serve the industry and society better?

Future finance professionals should improve their skills and preparedness to adapt to change on a continuous basis. New skills such as artificial intelligence (AI) and data analytics will be required for people to prosper in the future of work along the digital transformation path, in whatever industry they are in. To meet future demands and remain relevant, we must all consider how we should upskill and reskill ourselves.

Furthermore, we need to be self-critical at all times. Self-reflection is vital for our survival. We should adopt a positive mentality, and be willing to change, learn, and develop. We must all become lifelong learners who seize every chance to master new skills.

Many countries and organisations are now pledging their commitment to ESG and sustainability programmes. How do you think management can promote this initiative for Hong Kong businesses?

There are continuous impacts brought by the unforeseen risks of a pandemic and the climate issue. More investors and policymakers now realise a great need to increase investments and accelerate progress on businesses which prioritise ESG. There are multi-faceted and long-lasting benefits associated with ESG and sustainability programmes, such as recruiting and retaining talents, targeting future customers and enhancing brand and innovation. 

The management plays a key role in strengthening ESG capabilities across the workforce, setting the tone from the top and leading by example to promote ESG-related policies and programmes. The management shall also provide more relevant support to individuals with abilities relevant to the ESG agenda and give them targeted upskilling and coaching, enabling them to fulfil ESG tasks. In addition, the management shall consider improving teamwork behaviours across functions and raising their overall employer branding.

Coming back from judging last year’s HKB Management Excellence Awards, what are you hoping to see from this year’s entries? What qualities stand out for you?

This award aims to honour the city's most outstanding leaders, innovators and teams whose initiatives have brought tangible business gains for the success of their companies. This year, it will also highlight Employee Engagements and COVID management initiatives that create a positive impact on the workforce or customers. 

Endurance, flexibility, and adaptability are vital and fundamental qualities of a strong company. A business must act swiftly in response to shifting market circumstances. The contributions the candidates provide to global and national business would be even better if they exhibit creativity and innovation.

Distinguished candidates shall exhibit the companies' high corporate social responsibility by including a wide range of innovative and useful elements in their activities. Some of the new products or services are thoughtfully created to address the concerns and challenges of the epidemic. These demonstrate how businesses may thrive and maintain resilience under adverse conditions. They also increase shared value and a positive brand image in order to improve people's lives.

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