August Duong: Defying the Stereotypes – An Accountant with Style
Shoulder length haircut, tanned skin, leather motorcycle jacket and confident stance, August looks more like a soloist stepping out from a rock concert rather than a junior accountant for Australia’s largest general insurance broker network. Yet, the 27-year-old talent holds an interesting story on how he defies stereotypes and brings a touch of creativity to accounting.
Hello August! You look full of zest for life today!
Haha yeah, that’s why you cannot miss me in the office, especially with all these long hair and my unique gait. Like Bucky Barnes in ponytail, if you happen to be a Marvel fan (laugh out loud).
Yet contrary to the confident “you” today, you had a rough teenage right?
I was born in an affluent family in Ho Chi Minh city, but honestly speaking, school years weren’t easy for me at all. The class used to have 50-55 students and I would be the 52nd or 53rd. The drag-the-whole-class-down guy, you know.
I had to face quite a lot of prejudices, social biases and I started to enclose myself to my own comfort zone and was shy to connect with the world out there.
So who had the most influence on your outlook on life and accompanied you through those hardship?
I would say my father is forever my role model. He always puts complete faith in me and is an encouragement for me to never give up and keep getting better. My father never made it past the fifth grade, but he worked hard and got himself respected as a successful businessman. He always stressed the importance of education and inspired me to overcome all hardship. His words were pushing me forward during my time studying in the U.S.
Oh could you tell us more about your time in the U.S.?
That was a life-changing experience for me. It was back in 2011. I decided not to take much financial support from my family, so I had to work part-time on-campus to make ends meet. That was when I experienced the American lifestyle, how they accepted risks as well as opportunities and enjoyed their time to the fullest. That changed me to be more outspoken, self-confident and extroverted. Leave me in the room full of strangers and I would make friends with them within 30 minutes.
University was also where I realised my love for Accounting. Initially I chose Accounting and Finance because it would be good for my family’s business later on. Then I somehow became quite good in Accounting classes, like being the first in class, you know (laugh out loud). It was dawned on me that Accounting was not just about thick glasses, logical stuff or leather briefcases. You actually need creativity, problem-solving skills and, well, a taste of style.
Wow well done! So after coming back to Vietnam, what brought you to your current career at ASW Global?
Upon coming back to Vietnam, I found my first job but actually quitted after several months. My manager and I had conflicting outlooks and it came to a point where we couldn’t get along well with each other. It was a wake-up call for me about carefully considering my career path, finding a suitable environment, balancing my strong attitude with others and being a positive element in the team. Then I found my second chance at ASW Global. That was more than one year ago and I am now a Junior Accountant for Steadfast’s accounting team offshored at Vietnam office.
How do you think about your team and your job at ASW Global?
My team is currently working on the innovative AP Central Project, which (we hope) helps streamline accounting processes and meet the company’s monumental business growth. We have been working closely for more than a year. The project is new and challenging with all the brainstorming sessions, discussions, trials and reports. Yet it makes me feel fulfiling supporting the team to have more confidence and knowing that our job brings efficiency and changes to the whole business practices.
Where do you see your role in such an impressive team performance and ambitious projects?
I try to bring positive energy to the team. I let everyone know that it is okay to speak up your mind and have different ideas. Every idea should be heard and respected.
One last question, do you have any plans for the forseeable future?
Yes, I will try my best to reach a senior position where I could prove my talent more and get bigger window for self-development. Besides, I am going to be an AirBnB host (smile). As a wanderlust chaser, I understand how living among the locals will enlighten your trip much more than wearing the tourist tag. I love to welcome friends from all over the world, listen to their stories and share all the memorable journeys I got following the wheels.
Good luck with all your ventures, August!