A Love for IA
Diane Oh, IA Manager, shares with us her passion for the job and how there are challenging days but never a dull moment as an Internal Auditor.
Finding Fulfilment at Work
Diane enjoys her job tremendously, and makes that clear from the start. In her 10-year career, she has immersed herself in Internal Audit, risk and controls at a range of global companies such as PwC, Genting Group, Telstra (Australia) and now Broadcom Corporation. Passion for her work also comes through where studying is concerned: In 2008, Diane emerged as top CIA scorer in the whole of Malaysia.
Diane started her career in 2003 as an Accounts Executive in the Genting Group, a Malaysian conglomerate comprising four listed entities. She then moved on to the Internal Audit department, doing financial and operational reviews of the hospitality, IT services, manufacturing, power, property management industries. Having such valuable exposure and learning at the early stages of her career was a turning point – she realised quickly that IA was a great career to be in and decided to specialise in it by doing the Certified Internal Auditor exams.
CIA – “A testament of IA knowledge”
“I was in PwC when I decided to do the CIA,” she recalls. “I enjoyed the work and I wanted to specialise in it. I knew that having a CIA would set me apart from other internal auditors and so I decided to embark on the exams.” At that time, Diane was with the PwC Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC) team in Malaysia. The firm was supportive and paid the exam fees and granted her time off to study.
She says, “Having the CIA credential behind my name helped to ‘open doors’ to the local IA industry when I moved countries from Malaysia to Australia, and from Australia to Singapore. As an IIA member, I could instantly connect to the local chapter and profession. I feel that I belong to a global network of like-minded people!”
She added, “In these countries, employers view my CIA as a testament that I have the required IA experience and technical knowledge.”
What impact has being a member of The IIA had on you personally and professionally?
Membership at IIA provided me an avenue to keep abreast with developments and challenges in the industry; and the opportunity to network with like-minded professionals.
When I moved to Melbourne, Australia, breakfast meetings organized by IIA Australia were a good setting to meet other internal auditors and this helped me gain an understanding of the Australian IA industry These IIA membership events were complimentary for members and covered key developments in the profession.
I would strongly recommend CIAs who relocate to a new country to check out the IIA local chapter. Likewise, it will be good for IIA Singapore to continue with events for both local and foreign CIAs based in Singapore.
What study material did you use to prepare for the CIA?
The CIA Examination pack and Gleim study guide. Most importantly practice questions. I ran through all the practice questions I could get my hands on.
How many hours did you spend preparing for the exam?
Due to job commitments, I studied only during my study leave, I was very fortunate to get 3 days per paper. Cumulatively 108 hours for 3 papers which I took in 1 seating. I found that this time was sufficient as after studying I was blessed to emerge as the top scorer in Malaysia for 2008.
What advice do you have for others who are seeking certification?
When in doubt while studying or during the examination, answer the questions as though we are performing an audit or addressing audit issues. The exam is closely related to our day-to day IA responsibilities.
Internal Audit – An Assurance and Advisory Role
In her current role as IA Manager, she leads the Singapore audit team to cover the Asia Pacific and Europe sites. The department takes a risk-based approach to internal audit, and Diane takes charge of the risk assessment process when developing the annual audit plan for financial and operational audits within Broadcom’s international operations. The team value-adds not just by assurance work but also providing advisory and consultation on risk, control and process design to business units. Her team has a growing number of CIAs and the company is very supportive of the other team members who are keen to pursue the certification.
Having been in the profession for 10 years and counting, Diane reflects that being in IA has always kept her excited and motivated. The profession is evolving, and Diane believes that Internal Auditors out there should embrace the change and “enjoy the learning process as we approach new frontiers in IA. There will always be something new to absorb and learn. There are challenging days but never a boring day as an Internal Auditor.”
Do you have a hobby?
Bargain hunting. I love looking for bargain buys, from the best value paid for a dress to best value stocks. The feeling of getting a good bargain is like winning a battle!
How many cups of coffee do you drink a day?
No fixed number. I am not an “addict” but sometimes the aroma of fresh coffee brewing in the pantry entices me to at least have a cup. My favorite is the cappuccino with chocolate powder sprinkles on top. I love the foam.
What was your most interesting travel experience?
When I was working in Melbourne, my husband and I took a trip to the Australian outback and the train ride down from Alice Spring to Adelaide, South Australia. In that trip I slept under the stars and woke up to find a spotlight shining. It was actually the moon! We also escaped being razed by bush fires and ate emu.
Diane Oh is a member of IIA Singapore. Her current Internal Audit job takes her globe-trotting to places like the UK, Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan and even to Israel. Diane hails from the quaint and colourful island of Penang, Malaysia, and currently calls Singapore home.