Meet The CEO

Soo Hoo Khoon Yean, Managing Partner, PricewaterhouseCoopers

Formed in 1998 through a merger between Price Waterhouse and Coopers & Lybrand, PwC has a history in client services that dates back to the nineteenth century. Both accounting firms originated in London during the mid-1800s.

Today, PwC has offices in 156 countries and more than 295,000 people helping organisations and individuals create the value that they are looking for, by delivering quality in Assurance, Tax, and Advisory services.

In Malaysia, PwC is made up of more than 3,000 people in seven locations (i.e. Kuala Lumpur, Pulau Pinang, Ipoh, Melaka, Johor Bahru, Labuan and Kuching) who are dedicated to solving complex problems businesses are facing in today’s changing marketplace.

What are some of your organisation’s proudest moments/milestones in Malaysia?

We’ve had a long history here in Malaysia and that journey has seen many proud moments for the firm. Perhaps to summarise, the moments that are proudest to us would be when clients that we have worked with, grow into iconic national and even regional businesses – to be on that journey with them and seeing first-hand how far they have grown is always something to be proud of.

Another area is our people, past and present. We are extremely proud to see our alumni spread their wings and find success, taking their PwC experience with them and building successful careers. It also brings pride to us when issues that have been important to the firm are also echoed by our employees. For example, in corporate responsibility – which has been core to our beliefs, and how our people have committed to shape sustainable and impactful societal values as well.

Lastly, taking on the previous point, in our drive to bring value to our stakeholders and the community at large, we also take pride in seeing ideas that we advocate, especially those that impact societal values, are adopted by organisations and even help shape public policies.

Based on your experience in operating in Malaysia, what are the 3 most important criteria for achieving business success in Malaysia?

The key criterion for achieving business success is to focus on the talent agenda. Malaysian talents are adaptable, educated and highly sought after, hence it is crucial to identify the sweet spot in bringing out the best of our people and ensuring that they are engaged with our purpose.

Second, maintaining a strong and genuine relationship with key stakeholders is important as well. It is important to understand our clients’ needs and vision while aligning them to our policies.

Lastly, with the rapid change happening around us, it is paramount that businesses stay resilient while adapting and thinking ahead. Understanding the key drivers for future growth will help businesses stay ahead.

How has your business evolved during this pandemic, especially in terms of optimisation of human and technology resources?

For us at PwC, we were fortunate to have invested heavily in technology prior to the pandemic, allowing us to be able to function rather seamlessly while providing the necessary support to our clients.

After 20 months of pandemic-related upheaval, most industries are facing unprecedented disruptions and challenges. It is undeniable that COVID-19 has accelerated our transformation in many aspects. We continue to invest in our people and in the business as part of this transformation. We believe in bringing the best talent, capabilities and technology together to make an impact for our clients and deliver their urgent needs. While we prioritise our people’s growth and development, the prolonged lockdown has also taught us the importance of placing emphasis on employees’ morale and wellbeing as a top priority.

Throughout the pandemic, we have been engaging our clients through virtual audits, not something one would have thought possible in the past. Our Assurance professionals are now reimagining audit as they adopt the enhanced guidance and innovative tools and technology in place. This combination of people and technology power is so essential for us to continue delivering real impact to clients and society at large.

How do you see your business growth and prospects in Malaysia now?

As we navigate these challenging times, we are hopeful and optimistic about the future. We look forward to supporting the country and its road to recovery from COVID-19. But at the same time, we know the road to recovery will take time; hence, we acknowledge the need to focus on sustainable measures such as cash flow optimisation and collaboration with others. We are currently in the midst of putting together a collaboration within the PwC network which will enable us to create more than 1,000 jobs here in Malaysia over a period of time.

We have also identified key areas where we will build our capabilities to deliver business outcomes for our stakeholders. Our plans include a few exciting alliances with third parties to further accelerate our business growth. We understand organisations need to embrace digital transformation; as such, we have recently launched PwC’s Marketplace, an online platform with an array of technology and academic solutions to key business issues. Do stay tuned for more news in this space!

What recommendation or advice would you give to other companies looking to invest or do in business in Malaysia?

There are many reasons to invest or start a business here in Malaysia. Aside from our strategic location, Malaysia’s business-ready environment and forward-looking focus makes it appealing. We have a business-friendly environment and a highly trained workforce that is multilingual. We have infrastructure that supports businesses and the cost of operating a business is relatively lower than most regional neighbours. On top of these, the Malaysian government supports the business community by providing a competitive tax system that promotes business and also provides tax incentives in specific promoted sectors.

My advice is for companies to get connected with the relevant bodies like the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA) to explore the right opportunities and relevant network for them. MIDA would be able to provide access to the information required when setting up a business. Depending on the nature of your business, there are also many financial incentives that companies may be eligible for.

What are the top 3 reasons for your organisation joining the BMCC?

PwC’s relationship with the BMCC is long-standing and goes back many years. Throughout our partnership, we have benefited from the business network as a firm and enjoyed the networking opportunity with those with interest in international trade.

PwC has provided services and support to many British companies in Malaysia as well as Malaysian companies that venture into the UK to invest or set up operations. Many of our partners were “UK trained” and we have supported many students in their continuing education under ACCA and ICAEW, both reputable accounting professional qualifications.

We look forward to more opportunities to share and learn from each other in the areas with mutual interest.

What is the top value you see for yourself or your organisation in being a member of the BMCC?

The BMCC has its members’ interests in mind in every initiative organised, and we have always looked forward to being a part of these networking events and opportunities. I am personally excited to foster strong relationships with the BMCC and other BMCC members.

PwC is keen to foster stronger business relationships between Malaysia and the UK, and we believe that we can play a role in increasing the business flows between both countries together with our counterparts at PwC UK.

In one sentence, how would you describe your own experience or your organisation’s experience as a member of the BMCC.

One word – Interactive. Being part of the BMCC means having the ability to give and also receive in various forms of contribution and participation that we value, and in return, to provide value.