Jenny’s work journey
3 July, 2017, 12:00 am
JENNY Seeto, a territory senior partner at the international accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), is no stranger to the local accounting body and business fraternity.
Having an extensive experience in the accounting and auditing professing with a career spanning more than 30 years, Mrs Seeto has decided to finally call it a day.
Mrs Seeto is retiring from the PwC partnership at the end of this year after being with the firm since its early days.
She started off as an accountant and auditor with the legacy firm of Coopers & Lybrand in Fiji in January 1979.
With a determination and passion towards her work, Mrs Seeto rose up the ranks and was admitted to the partnership of Coopers & Lybrand on January 1, 1989 and later became joint senior partner of the newly-merged PwC firm on July 1, 1998.
She took over as the firm’s sole senior partner on July 1, 2002, a position she has held for the past 15 years with great poise and professionalism.
But for Mrs Seeto, her years in the profession had been a journey filled with challenges, learning experiences and more importantly areas of growth which had enabled her to be where she is today.
In a recent interview with this newspaper, Mrs Seeto reminisced on her early beginnings in her career and how she grew with the firm she worked for.
“Being with PwC has allowed me to do a whole lot of things apart from my normal everyday work,” she said.
“But I do very little in that space now. I do a lot more HR work and advisory work as well.
“PwC has enabled me to do a lot of things that I would not normally have done had I gone into commercial fields. I had a lot of opportunities to join various businesses as I grew up through PwC, but for me, being with PwC enabled me to broaden my skills.
“The experience has been excellent and it allowed me to deal with a lot of different range of companies, different types of people in particular it taught me how to handle people as well including clients.
“In the early days of my career, I was very lucky to be given the opportunities to do things for the economy. As I progressed through my career, having that network, knowledge and experience made me know how companies ticked, how governments are affected and how we as a nation can come together to help Fiji grow.”
Changes in the profession
Mrs Seeto said there also had been developments and changes in the accounting profession over the years.
“Now, there are a lot of changes in the profession such as the new international standards coming out and the new Companies Act has also placed a lot of emphasis on certain standards as well that needs to be implemented by the institute as well and in particular by its members,” she explained.
Challenges along the way
Success and growth never came easy as well as the profession posed inevitable challenges for Mrs Seeto.
“By growing up with PwC, we are taught a lot on life skills and we are taught how to handle challenges but more particularly we have the support,” she said.
“When you work for a big firm like ours, there is always a lot of support around and I have tremendous staff and they help me do a lot of work and we work well together.
“I think the challenges are more in the people and the profession as well. The profession has grown in standards and the laws and regulations that companies overseas have put in, Fiji is following in that trend as well.
“But because I come from a global firm, and we have global practices and standards, for us to operate as we do under the PwC banner, we are trained and taught very early and we have standards to follow.”
Mrs Seeto said the challenges were mainly regarding profession and the different types of people.
“Dealing with different types of people and the new generation that has come through now, we really had to accommodate and ensure that you can work well with some of the young generation,” she said.
“The work culture has changed and the challenge was really how we as employers deal with the young generation and their aspirations in order to retain them in the workforce.”
When asked on the fond memories in her career, Mrs Seeto said the network of people and the staff was what helped her grow professionally.
“Over the years, the staff I have worked with have been tremendous,” she said.
“And as I travelled globally to a lot of my global meetings to overseas clients, I have met so many people throughout the network where we as a small firm in Fiji have been able to draw on their talents and their skills to help us here in Fiji as well.”
Mrs Seeto, among many recognitions, was accorded the National Contributor Award during the annual Women in Business (WIB) awards night earlier in May.
This was for tremendous contribution to the firm, the profession and the community over the past 38 years, which many would attest to.
Speaking on her future plans, Mrs Seeto said after officially leaving office later in December, she intends to focus more on her mediation and community work.
“I would like to do more in the mediation space. I am chairing a steering committee that was set up by the Chief Justice to get the mediation work going,” she said.
“I would also like to work more with grassroots people and perhaps a bit more work with the Women’s Entrepreneurs Council at the Fiji Commerce and Employers Federation.”
Meanwhile, the partners at PwC have announced the appointment of Nitin Gandhi, replacing Mrs Seeto as territory senior partner of the firm effective January 1, 2018.
An experienced partner from the PwC network is also expected to join the Fiji firm later this year.