The Accounting Management Department, which I head, oversees the non-consolidated financial statements of Recruit Holdings Co., Ltd. and the consolidated financial statements of the Group.
Our mission, in a nutshell, is "to continuously produce appropriate and timely financial disclosures for the Group.” All members are responsible for monthly, quarterly, and annual closing processes. The department consists of two groups: the Financial Accounting Group, which pursues operational excellence by making fundamental improvements to processes and systems; the Global Accounting Governance Group, which is responsible for communicating with the business side (SBUs and operating subsidiaries) and understanding the real-time status and future plans of the business and incorporating them into financial statements while strengthening accounting governance. These 2 groups are taking on challenges and evolving every day.
I joined the Company in 2018. The vision of the top management at that time was to create a global top-level finance organization, a goal which really resonated with me, and inspired me to work with them. At the time though, the priority was to respond to dramatic changes, such as rapid business expansion and globalization, and I don't think we could say that the competence of the back-office department was sufficient for a listed, global company. However, four years have since passed, and the frequency and quality of communication with SBUs and operating companies based overseas have improved dramatically. In terms of governance, we have established a base structure, including the unification in principle of auditing firms in the group. That being said, the challenge to become a top-level global organization is just beginning.
Many people may have the impression that accounting involves a lot of routine work. Certainly, accounting standards and various rules are established for processing financial statements and preparing disclosure materials, and there are many tasks that must be handled within a set framework. There are several hundred accounting staff members in the group companies and the daily efforts of every one of the tens of thousands of people engaged in the business will eventually be integrated into the financial statements. The preparation of financial statements, which may sound simple, actually involves an enormous amount of processing. Currently, the Accounting Management Department is working on a project to fundamentally improve operations for consolidated financial statements so that all employees can leave the office without having to do significant overtime, even during extremely busy periods, such as the closing of accounts. And, we would like to further demonstrate our value by allocating more time spent on operations that add value. In addition, in terms of governance, we would like to evolve to the next level while further strengthening our global adaptability. Never standing still, always changing and improving, and never standing still, is the greatest quality of the Recruit Holdings accounting team.
Before joining the Company, I had a wide range of financial experience at various companies, includings an auditing firm, a general electronics manufacturer, a food manufacturer, and a foreign-affiliated pharmaceutical company. Each had its own unique characteristics. What I keenly realized after joining Recruit was the importance of a sense of purpose. When tackling something new, we first have a thorough discussion about the purpose and significance of the project, and only after those are clear does the project begin. My previous job was at a company headquartered in the U.S., and the environment was one where if the head office told us to do something, we would just start. The difference surprised me. Now, when entrusted with a task, I always think about what the meaning and value of the task is and have come to the realization that if I don't think I can work on it as I see fit, I should not accept the job. Otherwise, we will not be able to share the purpose and significance with others, and won’t be able to work as a team in the true sense of the word. In addition, clearly defining our objectives helps us assess the situation in the event of internal or external changes to the environment or other unforeseen circumstances; we can look at these issues with fresh eyes, and can confidently change our plans as necessary. When one of the projects we were implementing became protracted, we were concerned we might not be able to adequately adapt to changes in the existing internal and external environment. We then considered our stance by revisiting our original purpose. As a result, without hesitation we decided to cancel the implementation of the project. Though this was a very bitter experience, I believe we were able to make the decision to cancel the project because we were more concerned with the purpose and significance of the project than simply carrying out the plan that was originally approved.
Working with a clear purpose is also important for each person involved in the project. It naturally increases the sense of ownership and brings out leadership. I believe a characteristic of Recruit that symbolizes this is the culture of encouraging people to speak out on matters outside their area of responsibility. If you feel something is not right you should speak up without hesitation, even when the matter is outside your area of expertise. Doing so stimulates discussion and helps improve matters over a short period and produce a better outcome. Accounting is closely connected to the work of all departments, so there are many situations in which the boundaries of your area of responsibility are unclear. It is precisely at times like these that courage is needed to take the first step forward on your own. By doing so, you will be surprised how smoothly your work progresses and your network expands. In order to obtain growth opportunities and achieve career advancement, it is necessary to hone one's expertise, but I think it is even more important to have a high awareness of the issues and be willing to take on challenges outside of one's area of expertise.
This in turn means that when we ask someone to do a job, we need to think clearly on the purpose and the significance of that person's efforts, and communicate in a way that makes sense to them. As the head of the organization, I realize every day that respecting a person's WILL and delegating work to people who are both willing to take on challenges and who know what they want to do, will lead to greater results. “A difference in ability can lead to an outcome that is 5 times greater, but a difference in awareness can lead to an outcome that is 100 times greater", which is a quote by a certain famous top management leader in Japan. And if you experience the “BET ON PASSION” culture, a value that Recruit Corporation cherishes, you will truly feel the meaning of his words.
I think many people who are considering changing jobs to a business company, want to work closer to the business and have a more tactile experience, or work closer to management and have a greater influence. The Recruit Group operates various businesses around the world, and members of the Accounting Management Department share the latest information through daily conversations with people in the field. You will be able to experience the real thrill of supporting management as a true member of the business while interacting with people from a wide range of layers;, from those at the CFO level in SBUs or operating companies that oversee business segments, to those in charge of practical operations.
Even though now one of the top listed companies in Japan, we are extremely close to the management team, and decision-making is very speedy. Conversing directly with executives helps us correctly understand management's intentions and to sense their thoughts. There is no wasted time spent in the field debating for hours on end about the intent of what the executives have said. I think Recruit's unique corporate culture is truly appealing, where people make bottom-up suggestions on what needs to be improved or what new challenges they want to take on, and the people around them are sure to support those challenges.
There is still more that can be done in accounting at Recruit Holdings. In order to build a top-level global finance team in the future, we need people who are willing to take on challenges together with us. If you have the mindset of facing challenges with leadership and ownership, are self-starting and proactively make proposals while involving others, I am confident that you will be successful here regardless of your age or gender. So, please consider applying. We look forward to meeting an individual who is full of challenging spirit.