Our Finance Wizard in the Burgeoning Shanghai Market

International Business
Li Gong
Shanghai Sumitomo
Mitsui General Finance
and Leasing Co., Ltd.

Describe your role and job responsibilities.

Mainly I oversee financing operations for the Shanghai area, but also help our sales department with tax and accounting matters.

I run our financing services for the Shanghai branch and our locally incorporated affiliate in the Shanghai Pilot Free-Trade Zone. My ten-member team mostly handles accounting and capital management, however we also advise the sales department on tax and accounting issues. When local tax regulations recently changed, we consulted tax authorities and specialists to confirm our understanding of the new regulations. We then revised our leasing procedures, proposed new methods for calculating lease payments, and finally briefed the sales department on how to explain the new leasing arrangements to clients.

What are the most enjoyable and challenging aspects of your work?

The way my team and I quickly adapt to change in this fluid market is crucial, so seeing how we respond and grow through our experience is always great!

In China tax regulations are constantly in flux, and enforcement of regulations varies depending on location. This keeps me on my toes as I have to be aware of any changes and adjust my approach accordingly.

My workload really increased in December 2014 when we established our affiliate in the Shanghai Pilot Free-Trade Zone. To make things run more smoothly, we reorganized the finance department into four teams: bookkeeping, taxes, management accounting and capital. Since I’m in charge of them all, I have to spend lots of time familiarizing myself with specialized knowledge and improving operations while also managing human resources. Regarding the latter, I like to provide advancement opportunities based on each person’s wants and qualifications as well as their own career goals. Seeing team members grow as they overcome new challenges is personally very rewarding.

Describe a particularly challenging episode at work.

Putting together a detailed plan for the recent corporate restructuring of our Shanghai office has probably been my most difficult assignment.

In 2013 tax rules for lease transactions in China suddenly changed, resulting in our decision to locally incorporate the Shanghai office, which had been SMFL’s China branch until then. This turned out to be a comprehensive revamp of our organizational structure and entailed obtaining information from many sources, including the Ministry of Commerce and other tax authorities, other companies in the industry, accounting firms, financial institutions and more. It also required meticulous planning to avoid negatively impacting current operations. Restructuring took nearly a year and was filled with twists and turns, but in the end we pulled it off without a major hitch. I feel proud of this achievement and look at it as one of the high points of my career.

Someone I Respect

Michiko Sekiguchi
International Planning

What an inspirational person! Ms. Sekiguchi took great care of me during my business trip to Japanese headquarters in 2012. She impressed me from the start, helping me understand Japanese business customs, rules at headquarters and other important things. I’ve really benefited from her professionalism, and we’re still in touch. On a personal note, she introduced me to a Japanese flower arrangement (ikebana) instructor in Shanghai, and I have been practicing this art ever since.

Private Shot

Ikebana, tea and traveling with my family

On days off I take ikebana and Japanese tea ceremony lessons. I’m also into nail art. Of course, spending time with my family is at the top of the list. Children grow up before you know it, so I like to take family trips to give my child some special memories. We recently had a great time at Tokyo Disneyland, and also visited Taiwan and Chengdu.

Note:Department names and assigned positions are subject to change.