Career Paths, Advice

People are what matters most in an organisation - Augustine Chua

Published 07 Jan 2021 by Ramya Ramesh

‘’If you had $10,000 to spare for a cause, how would you spend it?’’

Augustine, a key member in Singtel Finance, will use the money for environmental causes. While most issues can be salvaged with money, the detrimental effect on our environment can’t. His motto of being plant-powered and caring for nature is a manifestation of his beliefs - being truly present in the now and resolving pressing issues that don’t spillover to the future.

His affinity towards the present has enabled him to overcome hardcore challenges and learn new things along the way.

Augustine leads the Financial Operations Team within Singtel Finance. His role encompasses financial accounting and also statutory reporting. They ensure that all financial transactions for the company have been carefully accounted for, so that business analysis can be performed, and decisions can be made based on the numbers.

Don’t mistake finance operations to just be all numbers and calculations! Apart from the Financial Operations Team, he has also been tasked to look into bringing transformation into the Finance department. Transformation is about innovation and exploring new ways to work, in order to achieve efficiency and effectiveness. The change could be as small as changing a policy, or as huge as revamping the entire process, and bringing in new tools or automation to achieve the same or better outcomes in a more efficient manner.

People are what matters most in an organisation

It’s the people that make the most impact on one’s experience in an organisation. Embracing and appreciating the people around you take you towards greater accomplishments, according to Augustine.

A person who has been indispensable in Augustine’s journey at Singtel is his Talent Acquisition colleague, Bee Ling, who helped him with his onboarding into the company. During Augustine’s early days at Singtel, she would always check in with him and provide careful guidance.

‘’She’s the one I think of when I have a problem. I contact her much lesser now, but I am really grateful for her guidance,’’ he shares.

His business partnering days with Dash were particularly memorable; he has always felt proud of the team, especially when they hit certain milestones or made remarkable achievements. When he took on the role of a Financial Operations Director, he set-up the finance team and worked through the initial period when there were several teething issues.

Bringing about constant positive change is Augustine’s specialty - he leads his team with curiosity and resourcefulness. To him, controlling the pace at which processes, and initiatives are rolled out is key to good management, instead of people adapting to changes rapidly and constantly.  

Adapting quickly is key

This year’s financial close was something different for Augustine’s team. Both Singapore and India were hit by a circuit breaker and lockdown due to COVID-19, rendering his offshore team handicap as they could not return to the office. Due to the confidential nature of the team’s work, working from home was not an option. This intensified the challenge for the team.

Despite the immense challenge his team was facing, Augustine did not give up. The entire finance team was pulled in to ease the situation. Teamwork tied everyone over this difficult period. Eventually, everyone managed to close the book and published the group’s financial results on time.

While Augustine’s way of work-life has changed drastically, he still muddled through challenges, emerging confident and successful. One valuable takeaway from this is that he learnt to be flexible at work.

‘’We may complain and grumble when met with challenges or obstacles. But once we overcome them, they end up being good learning opportunities!’’ he shares.

Empowering himself and others

Living in the now, Augustine recently got into new hobbies since he got to spend more time at home these days. Gardening was a natural activity to get into due to his love for nature and plants. His intrinsically driven nature encourages him to plant seeds and watch them germinate and bloom into an adult plant.

Even while planting, he overcomes challenges swiftly, and never gave up. A truly empowering leader, he parallels these values to the workplace, by demonstrating his capabilities and vulnerabilities like any great leader would.

His inspiration? His mum.

‘’She has always been the best example for me and my siblings. Her selflessness towards us and also people around her, has always inspired me.’’

As a firm believer of living a mindful, present life, Augustine encourages everyone to treasure every opportunity that comes along the way. Each one, regardless of the outcome, is a valuable learning opportunity.

Want to know more about working at Singtel? Find out why Singtel is the Employer of Choice* and explore our opportunities here.

*Awarded by HR Fest Awards 2020, which recognises and celebrates outstanding achievements of the region’s top leaders, teams and organisations.

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