Your “Family” Accountant Knows Best

Angela Chai is a Practising Chartered Secretary with the Singapore Association of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries & Administrators (SAICSA).

She is the founder of M/s Highlight Business Services (HBS), a Business Consultant and a Mentor, who specialises in the incorporation of local start-ups and offshore companies. The married mother of one analyses the financial health of her clients’ companies to assist them in management decisions that will help to grow their businesses.

She has served as a Company Secretary and has advised many companies including those in the advertising, engineering, healthcare, hospitality, retail and technology industries. With her experience, enthusiasm and dynamism, entrepreneurs and investors in Singapore and abroad highly recommend her. (Our Clients)

1. Why did you specialise in Accountancy and Secretarial Services?

Personally, I find accounting and secretarial duties are fascinating because they form the heart of a business – controlling it and providing its lifeblood.

2. How can you help people through these services?

I hope to make a difference in people’s lives to help them achieve financial literacy, learn to find financial solutions in their personal and corporate lives, and invest and grow their businesses. I can help to mend financial problems, and restore and preserve the functions to facilitate the overall growth of the company.

3. How do you view your relationship with your clients?

I am a counsellor, mentor and motivator to them. I see them as part of my family, and that I am the accountant in the family who understands them and wants to help them. I believe in taking the time to listen, encourage and inspire and learn from my clients especially during challenging times in their business.

4. How do you ensure your people are empowered to help your clients?

As an employer, I identify the strengths of my staff, provide an innovative environment for them to focus on the client, and create a win-win solution for both my clients and my people.

5. What are the problems you have helped to solve?

Case A: A client was struggling with tight cash flow for his growing business. We explored various business grants, tax incentives and business lending facilities together. Ultimately we assisted them to implement a Goods and Services Tax (GST) accounting system for their company’s operations, raised capital investments, and improved the cash management. As a result, the business started to expand steadily.

Case B: A foreign client’s business was deteriorating. After studying the market trends, we evaluated its existing financial resources, and discovered that a change of business activity was required. I was happy to be able to support and help him regain his confidence, while he had the courage to change his business plan to re-position the organisation strategically.

Case C: A client, who was resistant to keeping up with Information Technology advancements, was encouraged to computerise his accounting department to generate invoices and payment vouchers. He was then able to redeploy his staff to work more efficiently, which provided job satisfaction, reduced operational costs, and improved overall profitability.

6. What’s your best tip to growing a business?

Growing a business successfully requires a whole range of elements. One needs to:

  • have a vision,
  • invest in technology and a good accounting system,
  • do real-time accounting beyond compliant accounting,
  • keep abreast of all changes including laws and regulations,
  • listen to your customers,
  • understand your suppliers,
  • involve a formidable team who believes in the organisation, and
  • contribute to society.

7. What is your key to happiness?

To be happy, I believe one needs have a positive mindset, be religious, exercise, enjoy the arts, help fellow beings and make learning a lifelong pursuit. I think my grandmother had the right prescription to a happy life: “Laugh eight times a day and drink enough water.”

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