Daniel Woo is a taxation expert in Malaysia who successfully completed his MBA at WIC in 2013. He is Executive Director and Head of Tax Advisory and International Tax in Grant Thornton, Malaysia. Here, Daniel looks back on his time at WIC and shares his professional journey.
LSC Connect: What did you enjoy most during your time at WIC?
Daniel: I thoroughly enjoyed my time at WIC as I got the opportunity to meet students from different fields and professions. Some of them were doctors, trainers, engineers, financial controllers, business owners and full-time international students. They added spice to everything we did, ranging from group assignments and presentations and group discussions and the exchange of ideas and knowledge about different subjects. The lecturers and tutors also contributed to our learning and provided insights into the latest thinking in business and were always prepared to answer some of students who seem to have endless questions to ask.
LSC Connect: Can you tell us how you got into the tax profession?
Daniel: I started my tax career with Ernst & Young (EY) in Penang as a junior tax assistant and then moved to EY in Kuala Lumpur as a tax senior. Within two years, I was promoted to tax manager and held a wide portfolio of clients which included public listed companies, government-linked companies, and multinational companies covering a wide spectrum of industries. Subsequently, I was promoted to senior manager and was generating the highest revenue among my peers. At that time, I became a specialist in tax matters involving toll concessionaires and was handling almost 80% of toll concessionaires companies in Malaysia. From senior manager, I was promoted to Director and took on more complex tax assignments and responsibilities. I represented EY for 5 years as a member of the Joint-Tax Editorial Board of the Chartered Tax Institute of Malaysia/Malaysia Institute of Accountants on the Annual Malaysian Budget Commentary and Tax Information. As part of the Editorial Board, I was the Head of the Tax Review Panel overseeing the annual Malaysian budget proposals and tax information affecting companies and changes on petroleum tax.
I joined Grant Thornton in 2014 as an Executive Director and Head of Tax Advisory and International Tax for Malaysia. In my current role, I am involved with cross-border assignments on international tax and oversee the technical tax matters within the Malaysian Tax Practice.
LSC Connect: What advice do you have for current students looking to start a career in the accounting, auditing, tax and advisory sector? What could they be doing now?
Daniel: Taxation is a rewarding and lucrative field for aspiring tax specialists. You are highly regarded by the business and corporate world and if you stamp your mark, you will receive accolade similar to professions like medical practitioners, lawyers and bankers. However, it is hard work all the way, be prepared to learn by working hard, have an enquiring mind, challenge yourself and your superiors to understand the issues and come up with innovative but feasible solutions for your clients.
LSC Connect: That is very sound advice, Daniel. What are your future ambitions?
Daniel: I would like to continue to contribute to my area of specialty in international tax and be recognised as one of key tax practitioners in the Asia- Pacific Region, if not internationally within my global organisation. I also hope to pursue the DBA offered by LSC which I believe will develop me academically and professionally and support me in my future career developments.
LSC Connect: Thank you Daniel. We wish you every success in your career and hope we can welcome you back to WIC when you embark on the LSC DBA.