Richard Tan


  • Completed ACCA while at KPMG
  • Joined a US bank in regional internal audit which was where he first learned about the CIA qualification
  • Spent 20 years in internal audit, during which he served on the Board of Governors of IIA Singapore
  • Obtained his CIA through the ACCA-CIA Challenge exam
  • Moved into Operational Risk Management.
  • Returned to KPMG as an advisory partner in 2008

Richard's career advice

Get the right skill set - the CIA qualification will help you be recognised as someone who has received the relevant internal audit training.

The combination of professional and internal audit experience from the industry, as well as achieving the ACCA and CIA qualification are strong credentials. It shows I’ve “been there done that” coupled with the right qualifications. The CIA qualification also gives me an advantage when providing external quality assurance review services to in-house internal audit departments.

In terms of personal attributes, confidence and tactfulness are key factors. You have to be comfortable in interacting with colleagues at all levels from junior to management.

Richard's thoughts on the ACCA-CIA challenge exam

"Having spent 20 years in the banking industry, I lost touch with areas such as sales, purchases and inventory which are more relevant to non-bank organisations. My tip is that you cannot solely rely on practical experience to answer all the questions, you need to devote some of your time to prepare."

Helen Li


  • Graduated from The Chinese University of Hong Kong with a degree in business administration and a masters in science in finance
  • Fellow Member of ACCA and the Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants
  • Worked as an advisory partner at KPMG and a senior audit executive at the Bank of China (Hong Kong) Ltd
  • Currently Group Chief Auditor of The Bank of East Asia, Limited and a governor of the Institute of Internal Auditors in Hong Kong 

Career advice

Internal audit is a profession that has been undergoing dynamic change in recent years.  With increasing expectations from key stakeholders, internal auditors need to be much more proactive and forward-looking.  In particular, internal auditors should:

  • Critically challenge control design appropriateness in addition to checking adherence to the existing procedures, focusing on identifying systemic issues with wider implications to the organisation;
  • Harness technology to enhance audit efficiency and effectiveness
  • Increase collaboration with other monitoring/assurance functions for greater synergy and to avoid duplication of work. 

How being a qualified CIA has helped Helen’s career

"The IIA is a globally recognised authority of the internal audit profession, and has developed Professional Standards and Practice Guides for the professional practice of internal auditing. The most recognisable certification developed by the IIA is the Certified Internal Auditor ("CIA") certification.

I believe the IIA's International Professional Practice Framework provides the ideal professional framework to help internal auditors meet challenges ahead. I encourage internal audit professionals to obtain CIA certification and also become members of the IIA."

Find out more

Read more about Certified Internal Auditor® (CIA®) certification and how to apply