Belinda Young, FCCA
Helping clients across a wide range of business sectors, Belinda Young is focussed on enabling businesses to come to Singapore to set up new commercial ventures.
She says: "Because of BRI we have seen a greater influx of investors coming to Singapore, expanding their enterprises with the help of initiatives from the Singapore Government." She runs an independent accountancy firm and she says: "Being from the small sector we look at things a little bit differently".
Belinda runs Centrecourt Group which has businesses across 18 countries, working with clients in more than 20 industries from sectors such as health, bio engineering, green energy, oil, construction, logistics, communications and the internet of things.
For instance Belinda has secured the necessary work permits for a lighting consultant from Italy to further develop their business in Singapore. The company which offers advanced lighting solutions has worked with Belinda on a business plan not just for Singapore but to expand across the whole of ASEAN (The Association of Southeast Asian Nations) and South Asia. She says: "Across this region business is great."
The Singaporean government has declared itself 'an early and strong' supporter of BRI. The country is well placed to further BRI because of its position as a global financial centre and free port.
"When ACCA members meet, it is like we are old friends. We are willing to share our knowledge and experience with one another."
Singapore has said that with ASEAN, there can be work on: infrastructure connectivity; financial collaboration; jointly helping other BRI countries; and offering to resolve cross-border commercial disputes.
Language is part of the reason for the strength of Singapore’s BRI role: Belinda points out that the country's business community is comfortable speaking English, Mandarin and Malay Bahasa Melayu and Tamil, the four official languages of the country.
She says: "This means we can do business in China, Hong Kong, Indonesia and Malaysia. Individuals may not be experts in all the language but many have the basics. If you add all that together is a lot of linguistic ability."
And as BRI extends to India, Singapore will look to one key advantage it has – 12% of its population are Indian.
Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia, observes Belinda, are set to become part of a new BRI maritime route. Singapore is already one of the world's busiest ports behind Shanghai and Hong Kong and that gives them a natural advantage. She says: "As a country we have the knowledge of running a successful port, we know all the best practises and we have experienced people with good knowledge. The Maritime and Port of Singapore Authority (MPA) is one of our success stories."
Companies looking to set up in Singapore can also expect to count on government support in the form of tax breaks. Belinda says: "Initiatives are there and investors are coming."
As well as government backing, Belinda is equally convinced of the role that ACCA members should be playing in the roll out of BRI. For her the numbers of members and students across the globe – 200,000 and 486,000 respectively– means that as BRI develops there is a readymade professional network who can help one another.
She says: "When ACCA members meet, it is like we are old friends. We are willing to share our knowledge and experience with one another."
To ensure financial professionals fully play their part in BRI Belinda says she is hoping for more discussion and more networking opportunities.
She says: "BRI is in its initial stages: in say five years' time many of the current ACCA students in the region will be members. That means we have home grown a whole bunch of talent. For BRI we are already helping to pave the road and will continue to do so."
"As a country we have the knowledge of running a successful port, we know all the best practises and we have experienced people with good knowledge. The Maritime and Port of Singapore Authority (MPA) is one of our success stories."Belinda Young
Belinda Young is an ACCA council member and was elected to the council in 2009.
Belinda is into her third term on Council and she is still the only female Council member to have served from Singapore. She runs Centrecourt Group which has businesses across 18 countries and in more than 20 industries. She previously worked in a Big Four accounting firm and at the largest property developer in Singapore, responsible for building the tallest building in the country.
In addition to her ACCA service, Belinda sits on the finance committees of a number of large and medium-sized charities. She also sits on ACCA's Global Forum on Taxation and Global Forum for Business Law.