, Hong Kong

SW Hong Kong’s Gloria So stresses proactive technology in risk management crucial to addressing unforeseen challenges

Alongside technological integration, companies must prioritise data security and privacy by implementing robust cybersecurity measures and complying with data protection regulations.

In the fast-paced and ever-evolving landscape of business, achieving excellence is not just a goal; it's a continuous journey. As companies strive to achieve and sustain exceptional performance, they require guidance from experienced professionals who possess a deep understanding of the intricacies of effective business management.

With around two decades of experience, SW Hong Kong Partner Gloria So has established herself as a leading authority in enterprise risk management, internal controls, and ESG reporting. Her expertise spans a wide spectrum of services, including Sarbanes-Oxley Act compliance, internal audit reviews, enterprise risk management, and strategic review engagements. So has worked closely with around 60 listed companies and IPO engagements, showcasing her deep-rooted understanding of diverse industries.

In this interview, So shared her insights on various aspects of business excellence. One key takeaway is the significance of technology-driven proactive measures for managing unforeseen challenges. According to So, companies can harness technology to build robust risk management programmes, leveraging real-time data insights and analytics to identify potential risks. Collaboration with external partners and industry experts, along with active engagement with regulatory bodies, emerges as a crucial strategy to safeguard a company's reputation whilst staying ahead of emerging threats.

Another pivotal insight provided by So revolves around integrating technological advancements into financial reporting and risk management. She emphasised the importance of prioritising data security and compliance with data protection regulations. Her advice for businesses is to collaborate with technology vendors and invest in research and development, which reflects her forward-thinking approach and enables companies to adopt and adapt to cutting-edge tools and solutions.

Having worked extensively in the area of internal controls and enterprise risk management, what proactive measures can companies take to anticipate and navigate unforeseen challenges that could potentially impact their financial stability and reputation? Are there industry-wide best practices you recommend?

In order to anticipate and navigate unforeseen challenges, companies can take proactive measures such as leveraging technology to build a strong risk management programme and protect sensitive data. Implementing sophisticated reporting tools and analytics can help prevent financial losses or damage by providing real-time insights into operations and identifying potential risks. Additionally, collaborating with external partnerships and industry experts can protect the company's reputation and make it more difficult for potential threats to harm its image. By actively engaging with industry associations and regulatory bodies, companies can stay informed about emerging risks, industry trends, and best practices, thereby enhancing their risk management capabilities.

As technology rapidly reshapes the audit and assurance landscape, what steps do you recommend for businesses to stay ahead of the curve and effectively integrate these technological advancements into their financial reporting and risk management processes?

To further enhance the integration of technological advancements into financial reporting and risk management processes, businesses should also prioritise data security and privacy. As technology evolves, it becomes crucial to implement robust cybersecurity measures and ensure compliance with data protection regulations. Additionally, businesses should actively collaborate with technology vendors and stay updated on emerging tools and solutions in the audit and assurance field. This proactive approach will enable them to identify and implement relevant technologies that can streamline their processes and improve overall efficiency. Lastly, businesses should continuously invest in research and development to stay abreast of the latest trends and innovations in technology, allowing them to make informed decisions and remain ahead of the curve in the rapidly changing landscape of audit and assurance.

How can businesses effectively align Employee Engagement, Health and Wellness, Diversity and Inclusion, and CSR initiatives with their financial goals, creating a harmonious balance between employee well-being and company performance?

To effectively align these initiatives with financial goals, businesses can start by integrating them into their strategic planning process. By considering employee well-being, diversity, and inclusion as integral parts of their overall business strategy, companies can ensure that these initiatives receive the necessary resources and attention. This includes allocating budgets for employee engagement programmes, wellness initiatives, and diversity training. Furthermore, establishing clear metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) related to these initiatives can help measure their impact on both employee well-being and financial performance. Regularly tracking and analysing these metrics allows businesses to make data-driven decisions and adjust their strategies accordingly. In addition, fostering open communication channels and soliciting feedback from employees helps to ensure that these initiatives are aligned with their needs and aspirations, creating a supportive and inclusive work environment that contributes to improved company performance.

In your interactions with multinational corporations, you've likely encountered diverse leadership styles. What are some key leadership qualities that consistently contribute to effective cross-cultural management, fostering collaboration and shared purpose amongst teams from different backgrounds and locations?

In addition to open-mindedness and understanding, effective cross-cultural leaders also possess strong communication skills. Clear and transparent communication helps bridge cultural gaps, ensuring that team members from different backgrounds can understand and align with the overall vision and objectives. Moreover, cultural sensitivity is vital in cross-cultural management. Leaders who are aware of and sensitive to cultural nuances can adapt their leadership styles and approaches to accommodate different cultural norms and values, promoting inclusivity and respect within the team. Besides, flexibility and adaptability are crucial qualities. Leaders who can navigate through diverse cultural contexts and adjust their strategies accordingly are better equipped to address challenges and seize opportunities, ultimately fostering collaboration and shared purpose amongst teams from different backgrounds and locations.

Given your involvement in various professional institutions and your contributions to thought leadership, how do you envision the role of finance and accounting professionals evolving in the coming years? How can professionals actively contribute to the broader business landscape beyond their immediate roles?

The role of finance and accounting professionals is poised to undergo significant transformation in the coming years, driven by technological advancements and the development of the Greater Bay Area. Beyond traditional manual bookkeeping, these professionals are evolving into strategic advisors and data analysts, leveraging their expertise to provide valuable insights and contribute to broader business decisions. By actively engaging with industry trends, market dynamics, and emerging technologies, finance and accounting professionals can bring a deep understanding of their organisation's industry, enabling them to offer informed recommendations and shape strategic planning processes. Moreover, their ability to foster interdisciplinary collaboration with colleagues from various departments such as marketing, operations, and human resources can lead to enhanced efficiency, cost savings, and overall organisational performance. By staying abreast of regulatory changes and compliance requirements, and participating in professional networks and thought leadership initiatives, finance and accounting professionals can actively contribute to the broader business landscape, ensuring ethical practices and shaping the future trajectory of their profession.

In evaluating nominees for the Hong Kong Business Management Excellence Awards, what specific qualities or achievements do you consider indicative of exceptional management excellence beyond financial performance?

When evaluating nominees for the Hong Kong Business Management Excellence Awards, exceptional management excellence extends beyond financial performance and encompasses a diverse range of qualities and achievements. One key aspect is the presence of strong leadership skills, which enable [the creation of] high-performing teams and foster employee development and productivity. Additionally, perseverance is highly valued, as it reflects a nominee's unwavering determination and resilience in navigating the challenges and complexities of business, even when success may require significant time and effort. Nominees who exhibit these qualities, alongside a track record of innovation, adaptability, and a commitment to ethical practices and corporate social responsibility, stand out as worthy recipients of the HKB Management Excellence Awards.

Follow the link for more news on

Join Hong Kong Business community
Since you're here...

...there are many ways you can work with us to advertise your company and connect to your customers. Our team can help you dight and create an advertising campaign, in print and digital, on this website and in print magazine.

We can also organize a real life or digital event for you and find thought leader speakers as well as industry leaders, who could be your potential partners, to join the event. We also run some awards programmes which give you an opportunity to be recognized for your achievements during the year and you can join this as a participant or a sponsor.

Let us help you drive your business forward with a good partnership!