Hi, my name is Merry Ngo and I currently work as a cost accounting expert at the Global Office in Leverkusen. I joined Bayer as an international financial management trainee (Accounting track) right after finishing my master’s degree in 2014 and hold my current accounting position since 2015. Ever since my first visit to the Bayer lab in Krefeld-Uerdingen at the age of 8 during an elementary school excursion, I have always been drawn to Bayer as my first choice of employer to pursue my career. In light of Bayer’s global orientation and my international background – I was born and raised in Germany and have Chinese roots – I sensed the company would be a great fit.
International and diverse environment
Eventually, I was not disappointed. During my 18-month trainee program, I had the opportunity to spend my assignments in the Shared Service Centers in Gdansk and Shanghai respectively, gaining valuable insights into accounting and different cultures.
At Bayer, we follow an end-to-end process, where certain process steps, such as the posting of invoices, are done in the Service Centers, while group consolidation takes place at the headquarters in Leverkusen. The whole process, during which different parties are involved, requires an interconnected and well-prepared process design with smooth interfaces between stages, where communication between the parties is key. Thanks to the trainee program, I had already met my contacts in the local accounting hubs and acquired experience of working in a culturally diverse environment – which proved of great value in my first job after the program. Besides gaining an insight into the global process, I saw how different local hubs approached accounting topics.
During my studies, I always imagined accounting to be working with numbers the whole day. After I started as a trainee, I realized it’s much more than that. Accounting at Bayer is a truly global organization, with lots of highly interdependent parties working together. You need to possess certain skills – such as communication, project management, cultural awareness, etc. – to master the job. Besides being responsible for monthly validation and reporting, the Global Office is also home to a department that gives accounting guidance to local accounting platforms and service centers, and provides relevant information to functional departments such as Controlling. This means, we work with colleagues on a daily basis from all over the world, both in virtual teams and face-to-face.
Continuous improvement and innovation
Due to ever changing environments, accounting needs to adapt to the latest trends and be constantly up-to-date to stay competitive. On a regular basis, we develop and implement new tools to facilitate, improve and speed up accounting processes. Big data, robotics and other innovative solutions are at the heart of our organization. In my day-to-day work, I repeatedly get the chance to experiment with new digitalization tools. Accounting is more than just crunching numbers; I realized that it takes continuous state-of-the-art improvement and innovation to adapt to changing environments.
Given Bayer’s global accounting setup, accounting at Bayer offers global opportunities. Short-term and long-term assignments as well as rotations in and outside of accounting offer the chance to tackle new challenges – also abroad. Being part of the FACT (Finance, Accounting, Audit, Controlling and Tax) community, accounting presents employees with the option to venture into other areas. Since Bayer offers these opportunities and has such a global presence, I could imagine working abroad in three years from now.
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