CO-WRITTEN / PARTNER | editor, Hong Kong

Matthew Chui talks about the crucial role of businesses leaders during the pandemic

SHINEWING (HK) CPA Limited partner joins the HKB Management Excellence Awards’ panel of judges.

Matthew Chui, partner, assurance and business advisory services at SHINEWING (HK) CPA Limited, has 20 years of experience in assurance and business advisory services.

One of his specialisations is in the securities industry, in which he has accumulated considerable experience related to listed securities companies and investment banking, and has been responsible for internal control, regulation and financial reporting, etc.

Matthew’s expertise includes audit and advisory services, listed companies audit, etc. His strength is in the financial field.

As one of the esteemed judges in the HKB Management Excellence Awards 2020, Hong Kong Business chatted with Matthew as he shared what can leaders learn from the crisis and how company managements can support their employees especially during the crisis.

Which particular markets or sectors are your main focus? Can you share with us your work experience or any backstory that has contributed to your professional career?

Over my 20 years of work experience in professional services, I mainly focus on assurance and business advisory services across the financial services sector, and initial public offering audit services. One of my specialisations is in securities and banking industry, in which I have accumulated considerable experience related to local and international securities companies, investment banks and retail banks, and have been responsible for internal control, regulatory advisory, financial reporting, etc.

What can leaders learn from the crisis? For those whose companies and industries have been badly hit, what do owners need to consider on the road to recovery?

As the whole world takes unprecedented measures to combat the COVID-19 virus, businesses have to improve their crisis management and contingency plans. However, the crisis brings a degree of severity and uncertainty which goes beyond lots of the scenarios that were previously anticipated. For some industries, the challenges are literally about recovery and survival, for others, they are finding ways to maintain business continuity and address the sudden change of demand.

Businesses leaders have a crucial role to play in helping their organisation get through this crisis, and the decisions they are taking today would definitely have a major impact on the future. It’s important for leaders to stay connected, engaging with internal staff and external clients and stakeholders, in order to maintain consistent and timely interaction. Besides, it is imperative for businesses to move with the market and continue to invest in technology regardless of the transformation of the current business environment. Deploying resources into the investment in digital technology and skills will be the key. Hence, leaders should have the business acumen to maintain flexibility in their operation to upgrade their digital infrastructure and remote working tools so as to embrace new challenges and mitigate risks from continuous disruption to their businesses.

How can the management support their employees and stakeholders during these tough times?

Your staff and stakeholders are your greatest asset. In tough times like these, the management of businesses should have the responsibility to act in the best interests of their people, clients and other stakeholders. It’s important for businesses in times like these to acquire, manage and retain relevant talents and stakeholders.

Moreover, the management should develop a clear crisis communication strategy as a timely and structural response is crucial to show the employees and stakeholders the organisation’s crisis preparedness.

It is also encouraged that management should develop a plan to prioritise the employees and stakeholders by the degree of impact to them. We should tailor various strategies to address their needs.

For employees who are longing for trust and support from their leaders, they expect to maintain a two-way positive communication. As long as the crisis has been redefining the existing work habits and culture, employees are working from home more often. Leaders need to demonstrate a higher level of trust and empowerment in their employees.

In addition, it’s always the top priority for the management to understand their employees’ needs and concerns by encouraging them to share their thoughts. If the management would like to improve employees’ experience during these unexpected circumstances, they should first need to define what shapes their experience. It would be very supportive if the management has a better understanding of the challenges their employees may be facing in the ever-changing working environment amidst the spread of pandemic.

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