Sue Xue – Finance Analyst at The Wrigley Company
Posted October 25, 2017, by Jenny Sakr
Sue was born and raised in China, arriving in Australia when she was in Grade 11. But she didn’t settle for too long, during her university years Sue travelled to the US for exchange and toured around the States. She then started working at the Hilton, spent one year in Shanghai, one year in Perth, nine months in Japan and six months in Singapore building up her experience. “As a result, I have been celebrating birthdays in different countries, making friends in different time zones and most importantly, I have learnt to respect and blend in different cultures.”
Sue has settled back down in Sydney where she works for FMCG giant, The Wrigley Company (part of Mars Inc.) – ranked the #1 place to work in Australia in the 1,000+ employees category.
What did you study and what are the steps you took to be where you are today?
I studied Bachelor of Commerce at UNSW Australia, major in Accounting and Business Law. In my 2nd year of study, I transferred to the University of Texas, Austin, USA for an exchange program and spent six months at McCombs School of Business (one of the top business schools in USA). At the moment, I am studying towards my Chartered Institution of Management Accountants (CIMA)
What inspired this career path?
To be honest, I didn’t really know what I should expect from a B. Commerce Degree when I got the offer from UNSW after graduating from high school. I chose commerce partially because I got intrigued by the cases from my business studies textbook but I started to enjoy it after starting university and also during my exchange in the US.
What did you want to be when you were younger?
I wanted to become an archaeologist when I was younger as I spent lots of time reading stories about Tutankhamun!!
What was your first job?
I started as a tax accountant at a boutique accounting firm.
Tell us a little more about your role and explain a typical day at work
My current role is Finance Analyst at Wrigley which predominantly relates to Fixed Asset Management. I also coordinate period end process and reports submission. On a typical day, I would spend 40% of my time reviewing FA process and communicate with different project managers in the engineering team. 30% of my time is put toward interacting with other stakeholders and being their business partner. 10% of the time goes toward coming up with ideas to improve process efficiency and finally, 10% having fun and enjoying myself at work with my lovely fellow associates (very important).
What’s the most interesting thing that’s happened to you in your career?
One of the most interesting things during my Graduate Program with Hilton Hotels would be staying in the hotel for one year in Shanghai. It was my first time staying in the hotel that long and I must say it was awesome to have someone clean your room every second day and can roll down to the office every morning. The only downside of it was I never felt I was off from work!
Name the best and worst parts of your job
Best part: I love the team here. People are friendly and supportive and we enjoy jokes every now and then. And I also enjoy the fast-paced nature of FMCG as I am quite adaptive to changes and can get bored quite easily.
Worst part: The office is in a rather remote area and on top of the hill which means hiking every morning!! Good opportunity for daily exercise.
What’s the most important career tip someone has given you?
“When opportunities present, grab them!” It was a quote from one of the VPs at Hilton Worldwide who was also my mentor throughout my time at Hilton.
What do you wish someone had told you before starting in the finance field?
I would have someone had told me that I should have more fun at university and mingle with different people. It’s quite hard to make friends after starting working!
Where do people have to start to get into this field and what is the standard salary?
I don’t think there is a set entry point for the start to get into this field. I have met people working in finance industry starting from different sorts of jobs, ranging from the ‘big four’ to boutique accounting firms. One thing I learnt along the way would be to never underestimate yourself and always stay humble.
I think standard salary range from $80k to $140k depending on experience and qualification.
Name a career highlight
When I was in Singapore covering for a Management Accountant, it was my first time working with all the high-profile members in the corporate office. Being someone who just finished the graduate program and worked in the corporate office for the first time, it was somewhat intimidating. In addition, the volume of work that I was handed over to was quite high and I still remember staying back nearly every night trying to finish the reports. However, I was able to quickly adapt to the change in the office environment and also familiarise myself with the work and procedure. What’s more, during my time there, I identified the need for process improvement and with the help of the Senior Director of Finance in APAC, I took the initiative to roll out a standardised process in all 150+ hotels in APAC region which significantly reduced the time spent on tasks while maintaining the accuracy. It was a great accomplishment and since then, I have been constantly challenging status quo and thinking of better ways to do things.
What’s next for you?
So far I have been enjoying the challenge and fun brought to me by FMCG industry. I would love to explore the area and use my skill sets to make changes in the workplace.
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Jenny found her way with words while interning during uni, since, she's produced articles on it all – from hair and beauty to homewares, travel, career advice and study tips. On a weekend you're most likely to find her lining up for a table at the latest cafe or restaurant.