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Real Business : Issue 3 2008
AHEAD OF THE CURVE Tokyo C DEPARTURE LOUNGE FINANCE PROFESSIONALS ARE IN DEMAND IN TOKYO, A DENSELY POPULATED CITY THAT OFFERS A FEAST FOR THE SENSES raig Edwards CPA moved to Tokyo to take up a position as CFO for freight management specialist DHL Exel Logistics in 1999. What he encountered was one of the most densely populated cities on Earth, with almost 6000 people packed into every square kilometre for a total of 12 million, or about 10 per cent of Japan’s population. “Tokyo is a great place to live and work,” Edwards says. “It is safe and clean. You need to be patient as things do take a little longer. But as a CPA, the hard decision you will need to make is when to come home.” Opening up Japan remained largely isolated from the rest of the world until the Treaty of Kanagawa in 1854, a pact that first served to protect the rights of American whalers. Since the end of World War II the remarkable economic transformation of Japan, with Tokyo at its epicentre, has really taken off. This was driven largely by the technology and manufacturing sectors. Remembering the past, forging the future Life in Tokyo is a quirky mix of traditional and modern experiences. You can attend a sumo tournament, that highly ritualised celebration of bigness, but get there using the most efficient and punctual transport system on the planet. 12 “You don’t need a car, as the train will get you anywhere,” Edwards says. “If you need a taxi than stand on the corner and within seconds you have one.” Follow the rules “Getting a visa before you leave and a driver’s licence once you arrive are time- consuming,” Edwards says. “Japan has a lot of red tape. You just need to follow the process, tick the boxes and you will be OK. If you don’t follow the rules things just stop until you fall back in line.” Opportunities for CPAs As Japan’s manufacturing has transferred to low-cost countries, the financial services sector has grown to prominence in the economy. Edwards says Tokyo offers many opportunities for finance professionals, and makes the point that there is a shortage of accountants. “The Japanese have not trained enough people tomeet the demand,” he says. “Japan has an ageing population, andmany of the experienced managers are now retiring. “The areas in demand are product control, derivatives within investment banks, auditors with the Big 4, management reporting and internal audit.” CPA Australia in Japan: www.cpaaustralia. com.au/links?1039_4240 NET GAINS Contact details for Australia Society: www.australiasocietytokyo.com * HELP– I’m inundated withemails! Dr RB h rece ve m ny many ema l frankly I’m not copining. receive many,, many emaiils, an, and frank y I Recent Q. Recentlymy boss, who was tr travellelliing inters ate at asked m mportant task, an received he instruc askedme to per orm an iim boss, who was nterstate at the t erforman tant task, and I never ver received the instruction!Or perhaps I deleted it. I just get somuch email: e-bulletins, notes from friends, evenmessages from co-workers. There must be a better way to sort out my email issues. Or Donald, Kuala Lumpur A. e time, your work lace your workplace issues Dear D RB helps cure re ear Dr RB every day I B,, every day I HiDonald, MysystemistoonlycheckmyInboxthree times a day,and thento place eachemail into a separate folder, sothatmy Inbox’s default setting iszero. It’samazing the feeling of liberationthisgives.Butthat’sjustwhatworks for DrRB. Ifyou’refeelinglikeyouaren’tcopingwiththe volumeofemail,herearesomesimpletips: 1.Beproactiveratherthanreactive Ishitting the reply buttonthe bestway to deal withanissue?Everheardofthephone,or actuallygetting out ofyourchair every now and then? “Achain ofemail messagesbackand forth can betime-consuming, unproductive and could bemisinterpreted,”says Donna Hanson ofPrime Solutions consulting. 2.Take a stand Let staff and clients know the tasks for which you willand won’t use email.“Be a leaderand letpeopleknowyouaren’tbuyingintoemail overload,”Hansonsays. 3.CCwithcaution Let’s faceit: we often endupnot responding tocc’demailuntilthesendersendsthem directlyto you.Don’t bea workplace serial cc’er. 4.Timeflies Onlysuckersattempttoanswereveryemail assoonasitarrives.Everytimeyoucheck youremail,ittakestimetoregainyour concentration.Try setting aside specific time periods for email correspondence. Finda routine thatworks for you and stick to it. “You shouldcontrol yourday and time,”Hanson says. “Don’tlet youremail control you.” REAL BUSINESS ISSUE 3, 2008 ISTOCK
Issue 1 2009