Sarjit Singh, a chartered accountant and a former CFO of two large Singapore-based insurers, has a special routine that keeps him charged up the whole day.
“I start each day by taking five minutes to visualise what I am grateful for – like the laughs, high fives and hugs from my wife Kiran and my 1-year old twins Ashlyn and Jaslyn. By the time I am done, I am smiling from ear to ear. Positive thoughts at the start of a day set the tone for the rest of my day,’ he said in an interview with told industry magazine Chartered Accountants ANZ.
Sarjit believes that ‘a smile has the power to improve the day of those around us’.
“I have learned to go forward in life with a sparkle in my eyes and a smile on my face, but with strong purpose in my heart. Let your smile change the world, but don’t let the world change your smile,” he told the magazine.
That is one pointer coming from Sarjit who has built an extensive career in assurance and advisory, including 16 years with PricewaterhouseCoopers. As CFO of AIA Singapore and Aviva Asia, he was responsible for formulating and implementing the financial, investment and commercial strategies during the 2008 global financial crisis.
Now, he is a partner at Chartered Accounting firm Ardent Associates LLP where he leads the risk and governance practice. The company provides a range of services from risk assurance to internal audit to financial institutions, multinationals, government statutory boards and listed companies.
When asked what would be his top three pieces of advice on “getting the job done”, Sarjit outlined three points.
1. Find your purpose, set your goals and strive to achieve them. Goal-setting has played a huge part in ensuring that I get things done effectively in my life. I have big-picture goals that give me a clear line of sight and keep me motivated, while everyday goals help me learn something new each day.
2. Find your passion, develop your talent and make possibilities happen. Working on our individual talents can provide far greater freedom to follow our passion than we believe. The mistake is to expect instant gratification or miscalculate the perseverance required to make big things happen. Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in 10 years.
3. Share and give back. I always reflect and remind myself of the privileges that I have. The motivation in giving and contributing to the greater good has become integral to my actions, and I continuously work towards making decisions that can empower people around me.
On his free time, he said he occupies it by engaging in outside professional work and family time.
“My spare time is fully consumed by community work. I have humble beginnings. My father passed away when I was about 10 years of age, and my family survived largely on savings. Nonetheless, my father was a role model for me, igniting my passion for community work,” he said.
Over the past 17 years, he said he had served as District Councillor and Chairman of the Finance Committee at Central Singapore Community Development Council. The council works in close partnership with government and commercial agencies, and serves over one million residents by assisting the needy and connecting the community.
“I also have a strong desire to give back to the education system and to the youth of our community. My wife and I recently created an endowment fund at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) to inspire outstanding final year students, as we wish to leave a legacy to benefit future generations,” he said.
First Sikh accountant in Singapore (Asia Samachar, 9 April 2018)