Money Matters for Expats
Name: Asha Dixit
Job title: Managing director
Sector/business area: Public practice
Size in country: One practice, 20 employees
Organisation details: Money Matters for Expats is a one-stop accounting boutique for expatriate clients, which also provides company secretarial, HR and other administrative support. It has more than 400 clients, ranging from one-man operations to companies with more than 100 staff. About a quarter of the firm’s clients are sole proprietorships.
Asha Dixit, managing director of Money Matters for Expats, didn’t expect to employ only women, it just worked out that way – but the result has been inspirational. ‘Most of my employees are expatriates because we primarily cater for expatriate clients and they find it easier to relate to other expatriates. The fact that we are all women was really an accident,’ she explains.
Her own climb to success was not plain sailing. Travelling the world with her husband as a ‘trailing spouse’ meant that that it wasn’t until she arrived in Singapore in 1997 that Dixit decided she wanted to get the formal accounting qualification she never had time to complete. ‘I guess the time was right. So I became qualified accountant at the ripe old age of 47,’ she recalls.
Yet even with her newly minted ACCA Qualification, she found it hard to find a position because of her ‘age and expatriate status’, so Dixit decided to buy a small practice in early 2001 – with only four clients – and build her own business from the ground up. Within six months, she had more work than she could cope with and hired a friend. Nowadays she takes a more proactive approach, hiring new staff ahead of getting new clients. ‘When we know new business is coming our way we hire someone, maybe three months ahead, in order to train them up. We’re less reactive and more proactive,’ she notes.
Because of her own professional trajectory, Dixit encourages her employees to seek additional professional qualifications. So far, three of the firm’s employees have sought to gain the ACCA Qualification and the company has been awarded Gold Level status as an ACCA Approved Employer.
Money Matters for Expats usually helps finance the cost of the training by organising subsidies from the Workforce Development Agency, a Singapore government initiative to encourage companies to train their workforce.
‘I chose ACCA training because it’s international. Most women we hire will be moving on after a few years, so it is much better for them to have a portable degree,’ Dixit explains.