I Aspire to Use My Accounting and Auditing Knowledge and Skills to Help Achieve the World’s Most Advanced Sustainable Transformation
Global Accounting Governance Group, Accounting Management Department /
Sustainability Transformation Department
Azusa Shirai

Accurately conveying what Recruit is doing now with my knowledge of accounting and communication skills.

I belong to the Global Accounting Governance Group. The role of this group is to serve as the liaison to our business units, to understand what is happening locally in real time, and to develop financial statements with an understanding of their future business plans. We are also responsible for strengthening accounting governance to ensure that financial results are disclosed approiately and in a timely manner. In this group, I am mainly in charge of communicating with the reporting team of our HR Technology SBU in the US and Recruit Global Treasury Services, a financial management headquarters in London, to collect and review data packages required for the preparation of our consolidated financial statements. We have regular meetings with the business units to share information on new transactions, or new policies to deal with changes in accounting standards and discuss their treatment in advance so that there are no surprises during the period end closing process.

In terms of governance, I am also responsible for coordinating and negotiating with the accounting auditors. I receive the audit plan for Recruit Group, check for changes from past audits or issues with the plan, and negotiate the audit fees. After the disclosure of financial results, I also compile audit review information from all group companies around the world and report it to the Audit Board, as well as provide feedback to the audit firm. Negotiation is a very difficult job. I have to say what I need to say to the other party, even on sensitive issues such as compensation, and if I don't have confidence in myself, I can be easily overwhelmed by their argument. Every day I’m learning negotiation skills such as the manners to convey our requests and to respond to the other party’s demands, by watching the conduct of more experienced senior staff in my group.

In addition to these accounting tasks, I also work in the Sustainability Transformation Department (SXD), where I work on improving various disclosure materials and communicating with rating agencies to ensure that our sustainability commitments and activities are properly reflected in our ESG ratings. I spent my elementary school years in Canada and previously worked for an accounting and auditing firm in Vancouver. Having lived in a highly environmentally conscious city, I was always interested in the field of sustainability. About six months after joining Recruit, I was having lunch with a senior colleague to discuss future career plans, and they told me, “By the way, it looks like we are going to focus on sustainability,” and my heart was ignited. Whenever there was an opportunity, I appealed to my supervisor and the head of the SXD and made sure that they knew I was interested and wanted to give it a try. At that time, I had been with the Company for only six months and not produced any significant results, so I did not expect to be involved in the project soon. Nevertheless, I kept appealing to them because I was told to be aggressive in emphasizing what I wanted to do. Then the head of the Accounting Management Department, my supervisor, and the head of the SXD discussed the matter, and it was soon decided that I would concurrently serve as a member of both departments. That would never happen in an ordinary company. I was very happy, and I am grateful to them for accepting my wish and giving me the opportunity.

Combining my three unique strength: English, accounting and sustainability;

When you hear the words “accounting” and “sustainability,” you may not think they have much to do with each other. However, they do in fact have a lot to do with each other. For example, for environmental issues, we have set a goal of achieving carbon neutrality in terms of greenhouse gas emissions from our business activities and the entire value chain by FY2030. The entire value chain means not only our own emissions but also those of our suppliers, which are calculated by multiplying our accounting figures by an emission factor. In addition, the International Accounting Standards (IFRS) Foundation has established the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) under its umbrella, and is accelerating its efforts to establish new international disclosure standards for ESG information. In the near future, sustainability-related activities are likely to have a significant impact on financial disclosure. Therefore, we are gathering information to find out what kind of disclosure standards the ISSB is considering and how they will affect our disclosures.

Whenever I think of my career, I have always wanted to have unique personal strengths. To do so, I believe it is necessary to have multiple skills. I lived in Canada for a long time so I am fluent in English, but English is only a communication tool. I thought to myself "How can I leverage this English skill?" and went to a business school to acquire professional knowledge, then eventually entered the world of accounting which caught my interest. However, I couldn’t find many Japanese companies where I could utilize my “English and accounting” skill set. When I was struggling to find the right direction, the field of "sustainability" gave me a significant opportunity to acquire a major advantage. This field is still in a pioneering stage, and is only beginning to attract global attention, and is sure to become more important in the future. It is a truly great opportunity to be directly involved in SX at Recruit Group, a company that is taking on the world's most significant initiative. I hope I can contribute to the growth of the company and to the making of a sustainable society in my own way using my unique strengths, the combination of English, accounting, and SX.

We accept individual differences and appreciate everyone’s unique strengths. This is a place where you can be who you want to be.

Before I joined, several friends told me, "Recruit Group is full of talented people with shining personalities and excellent communication skills," and I wondered what kind of company it would be. I was a little worried that I would not be able to keep up with the energy, but in the case of Recruit Holdings, it turned out to be a little different from what I had imagined. My impression of the Company was that it is a team of mature professionals from different fields. They welcomed me warmly and I was able to blend in smoothly. They told me that before I joined the Company, the Accounting Management Department went through a difficult time due to rapid globalization and dramatic changes in the business environment such as the introduction of IFRS. However, during that period, the department succeeded in inviting highly specialized professionals with diverse backgrounds from different fields. We are now a very strong team where the members leverage their personal strengths that complement our colleagues' weaker points.

When coming back to Japan from Canada and working for a Japanese company, I was prepared to face certain cultural barriers in terms of my personal behavior and working style, but I was surprised that the work environment here allows for a high degree of freedom. Taking time off is easy and remote work has taken root. It’s really great that I can choose a work environment where I can perform at my best. You are never forced to change your working style or lifestyle to conform to the company's ways or customs. Individuality is embraced and you are always evaluated based on your strengths. I really love the culture of Recruit. Here, you can be who you want to be and work comfortably. If you are the type of person who has something you want to do and you insist on doing it, there is no other company where there is more opportunity than here.

Azusa Shirai
Azusa Shirai
Global Accounting Governance Group, Accounting Management Department /
Sustainability Transformation Department
Spent her elementary school years in Canada. After graduating from a music school in Japan, she worked as a translator and interpreter before coming back to Canada to study. After studying accounting in a business school, she worked at a local accounting and auditing firm for three years. She returned to Japan and joined the Company in April 2021. She serves as a point of contact in charge of communication with the HR Technology SBU. She volunteered to take on double duty with the Sustainability Transformation Department where she handles ESG rating-related operations, as she wished.
Spent her elementary school years in Canada. After graduating from a music school in Japan, she worked as a translator and interpreter before coming back to Canada to study. After studying accounting in a business school, she worked at a local accounting and auditing firm for three years. She returned to Japan and joined the Company in April 2021. She serves as a point of contact in charge of communication with the HR Technology SBU. She volunteered to take on double duty with the Sustainability Transformation Department where she handles ESG rating-related operations, as she wished.
Sep 15, 2022
This article is based on information available at the time of publication.
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