Who? Angie Lim, CFO
Where? JLL Group
How long? Since 2007
Fun fact: “I am not a very detailed person for someone in finance. I have discovered that one of the key successes for a CFO is to hire and manage meticulous people with good controller skills to keep the books straight.”
Tackling the challenges: “At my level, I manage issues which my team members cannot resolve. I listen to their concerns because they need a sounding board to hear them out. For example, it could be a finance issue regarding how we tackle certain contracts and where my staff need my view on the price and structure.”
Quality over quantity: “I oversee the finance function across the region which consists of about 200 people. When I first started at JLL, I managed about 12 people and it was tough. You either end up burning yourself out or doing injustice to the people you supervise because you hardly have time for them. My team was streamlined to about 8 a year ago and now it is down to 6, which I think is a perfect size to manage senior people.”
It is all part of learning because I feel if you do not know what you are missing, you will never feel the pinch. I am less concerned about money these days - there are many other things in life that one needs to worry about.
Learning to let go: “You do not learn how to supervise people overnight. When I was first put in charge of a payroll department, I was only 30 years old and had to manage a team of 10 people more senior than me. I ended up struggling with late nights in the office everyday because I was always left alone trying to go through every single document myself.
The one management lesson I always share is to delegate tasks to capable individuals so there are a couple of brains to share the workload. The trick is to then gather the team where all of them can come back with a much better decision rather than having a whole department wait on a decision from you.”
Taking the deep dive: “I am a keen scuba diver - I started this hobby many years ago when I was on a business trip to Adelaide back in 2000. Since then, I have become an advanced diver. My husband became a scuba instructor and my sons, cousins, brother and sister-in law are all divers so this is a family pastime. When you are on a scuba diving trip, you meet people from all ages and nationalities. It is a great way to interact because you are all stuck on one boat, and hence you have no choice but to start conversations.”
Shortchanging a CFO: “I arrived in California very jet lagged and it was already late at night when I finally reached my hotel. Instead of giving the cab driver a 10 dollar bill, I passed him a 100. He probably thought it was a tip. Only when I counted my money later did I realise a significant amount was missing! It is all part of learning because I feel if you do not know what you are missing, you will never feel the pinch. I am less concerned about money these days - there are many other things in life that one needs to worry about.”
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