Honjok: The Allinial Global Asia Pacific Roadshow

Mabuhay – Welcome onboard!

As you know, we have been having a roadshow in the Asia Pacific region with our President and CEO Mark Koziel and APAC Regional Director Abby Chee. Between 13 and 27 August, we covered five countries (namely, South Korea, the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore) and attended the Allinial Global APAC Regional Conference in Penang, Malaysia. It was a great honor for us visiting our member firms.

The APAC region—what a colorful geography consisting of deep cultures, long histories, amazing harmony, tasty foods, and beautiful people! A region with its own soul!

A Tribe of One

We had a fantastic roadshow, proving to us the strength of collaboration among our members. Each firm has its own strength, but together they are becoming a unified power of knowledge and friendship. In other words, a center of excellence or a “tribe of one.”

“Honjok” is a Korean word that I learnt which means the “tribe of one.” It is more than a lifestyle; it is a way of existing in the world. “Hon” means to be alone and “jok” is a tribe, so honjok means “tribes of one.”

It is a beautiful concept because it translates into a conscious decision to explore your own preferences and interests in depth, to cultivate your true inner world. Through this way of life, we find our own true values, what our authentic self is, and what really motivates us. This allows us to ask the right questions and discover our unique talents and how we want to use them in the world and in our community. It can lead us to look for ways to be more assertive, creative, and aware. It is about cultivating a state of mind that arises from the curiosity to discover ourselves, in which we become leaders of our own lives and regain control.

That is why honjok is, after all, a quest to return to our own essence.

It reminds me of the famous French Provençal dish ratatouille of stewed vegetables. The point that shows that this style of ratatouille contains more mastery than other dishes is this: “Each vegetable preserves its own flavor in the whole meal.”

Each preserving its own flavor in the whole—that is exactly what we have seen in our APAC Roadshow. Each Allinial Global member firm is a strong stand-alone firm within its jurisdiction, and when these firms join their forces it is a masterpiece of collaboration! That is what we have witnessed in our APAC Regional Conference, where attendance improved by nearly 40% compared to the previous in-person conference in 2019. Wow!

Total Transformation

Since 2019 the Allinial Global Asia Pacific region has grown by 56% in terms of revenue, by 19% for total staff, by 20% for partners, and finally by 21% in terms of member numbers. Allinial Global has a solid 4th ranking in the APAC region per the International Accounting Bulletin’s rankings.

We are seeing growth in the commerce figures as well, with the region’s receiving referrals increasing from 12% in 2021 to 15% in 2022.

The Asia Pacific region has been transformed since 2019. Let me touch on a few of the milestones.

  • 2019 was a year of “Engaging and Collaborating” with the implementation of APAC Connect, four technical communities, the first regional conference, knowledge sharing, collaboration projects, and wish lists.
  • 2020 was the year of “Innovate, Integrate, and Motivate” with the implementation of APAC Calendar at a Glance, the regional handbook, the inaugural newsletter, Connect Transformation, Global Working Group facilitation, a webinar series, a referral-reporting form, video testimonials, four new technical communities, a townhall session, a 2020 Reflection and 2021 Wishlist, and a year-end newsletter.
  • 2021 was the year of “Re-Imagine, Re-Position, and Re-Create for Transformation” with the implementation of an APAC regional page for LinkedIn, training workshops added to the APAC-specific webinar series, a virtual conference, standardized APAC firm profiles, a BD capabilities matrix, the DBI APAC Roadshow, APAC Connect add-ons, member-to-member missions, APAC showcases, and goal-driven communities.
  • 2022 is a year of “Activating Commerce” with the implementation of value-added APAC Connect for Quick Bites, purpose-built community projects, inter-regional community meetings, global commerce project collaboration, technical L&D expansion, and the APAC GST-VAT Guide 2022.

Asia Pacific Regional Conference 2022 Highlights

In the year of “Activating Commerce,” we organized a very active APAC Regional Conference at the Shangri-La Hotel in Penang. We had a good turnout with 105 colleagues from 20 countries, including:

  • The Right Honorable Mr. Chow Kon Yeow, Chief Minister of Penang, Malaysia, who delivered an informative speech about State of Penang and the Malaysian economy
  • Allinial Global President & CEO Mark Koziel, who gave a great conference opening presentation covering updates in our industry and organization
  • Keynote speaker Novie Tajuddin, CEO of MICPA, who shared valuable thoughts about our profession in the post-pandemic era
  • Joe Chong, CEO of ASQ Consulting Group (the lead firm of AG Malaysia), who offered great hospitality, as well as an informative speech about AG Malaysia’s growth strategies and an outstanding and transparent case study about the Amoeba Management System he implemented in his firm for a rapid market response
  • APAC Regional Chair Tony Sacre, who shared great ideas in our Driving Global Commerce and Connectivity session, and whose leadership has been vital for the APAC region
  • Allinial Global Regional Director Abby Chee, who put together a strong program
  • Motivational keynote speaker Tom Abbott, who made an inspirational speech about next-level leadership and provided five keys to it: inspiring others, fostering a team environment, leading by example, listening to your team, and recognizing achievements
  • Tony Sacre, Sean McFerson, Nick den Heijer, Tony Seah, and Mark Koziel, who covered “How to be the Association of the Future” in their interactive panel
  • Bernard Lee and Nimesh Shah, who shared best practices gleaned from their M&A deals to help our colleagues to build their businesses in the right way
  • Hauman Yeung and Tony Sacre, who discussed what ESG means to accounting firms

Fantastic people, leading firms, a strong turnout, top notch keynote speakers, a loaded agenda, trendy topics, highly interactive sessions, longstanding friendships, well-selected venues, delicious food, mild weather, fantastic networking, and, of course, a lot of fun! It was a great conference.

At Allinial Global we are repeatedly asking ourselves, “What do members want from the association?”  We keep reinventing member values, discovering growth opportunities, integrating new business models, building a digital-first transformation culture, and creating a modern operating system. That is our difference and why we stand apart from the others in the market. Today is one of those great days showing the reflection of our DNA and our path.

As a final touch, I would like to thank all member and prospect firms who hosted us in their offices during the APAC Roadshow, as well as all contributors and participants who attended the 2022 APAC Regional Conference.

Terima Kasih!