Mr. Ngo Duc Doan, General Director of AASC: Integration without assimilation

(VIR) When facing with complicated terminology, figures on the financial statements of a business, I often ask for help from experts of AASC Auditing Firm. But the conversation with the CEO of the "made in 100% Vietnam" audit firm recently has brought interesting stories beyond the business issues.


1. 13rd, May 1991 is a memorable day with Mr. Doan and his comrades when they were assigned by Ministry of Finance to work at AASC, one of the first two auditing firms in Vietnam. Looking back at the journey of 25 years of development of AASC, including several years as the leader of AASC, he said: "I have something, my it be destined to work with my comrades here when experiencing many obstacles, they always have faith in me."

He recalled, the time AASC transformed its model from state-owned companies (under the Ministry of Finance) to limited liability Company with two or more members (in 2007) was a difficult period of the company when number of auditors reduced from 118 auditors to only 36.

He said during that period, the stock market and banking sector boomed, attracting many auditors to quit their job or establish new auditing firm. Whereas old members were aware of that the company was facing with lot of challenges and tried to acquire the company.

In order to deal with this matter, he and other leaders aimed to quickly stabilize the company’s operations. In the first two years, AASC generated low revenue, but retained customers, strengthen the confidence of the personnel of the company. In 2009, AASC fell to No. 6 on the audit market, but in 2010, the Company has reached the 5th place after Big4 and maintained its position until now.

In celebration of 20 anniversary of AASC’s establishment from 5 years ago, former Auditor General, Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue stressed that: "AASC maintained the leading position among Vietnamese auditing firms". Indeed, AASC always proud to be the No. 1 audit company in Vietnamese auditing companies, pure Vietnamese auditing company, Integration without assimilation.

Mr. Doan shared his thoughts of what made him most proud of 25 years of driving AASC, which was not the revenue or market share but the cohesion between members, people was together in difficult time and “That was a huge success ".

The consistency and cohesion are expressed among members of the Board of Members and within the company. They, together, made the right decisions to lead the company and auditors when they perform the tasks throughout the country to overcome temptation.

Members of the Board of Members of AASC currently have 31 members including 16 female members. Audit is a difficult job when it requires auditors to check the figures on financial statements and ensure the compliance with standards and regulations. Besides, not only the long business trip throughout the country, especially in peak season, they must release audit reports to meet the deadline of clients. For women, the challenges seem to be more, because they not only accomplish the assigned task for the company but also they have to take care of their families.

2. Vietnam audit sector was opened freely for foreign audit companies, 5 big audit companies entered the market since 1990. Mr. Doan said, AASC has been integrated since its transformation and learned from Big 6, Big 5 and Big 4 audit companies. Auditors of AASC not only have deep knowledge of regulations, standards in Vietnam as well as the way Vietnamese enterprises doing business in Vietnam, but also they catch up with international standards.

Leader of Hoang Huy Group, an enterprise has business with America groups with high demand of financial statements’ quality, said that, they have satisfied with the quality of their financial statements in 2014, 2015, 2016 which were audited by AASC.

From January 2011, AASC joined HLB International - A world-wide network of independent accounting firms and business advisers in over 130 countries with more than 1.900 partners, 14.000 staffs and 500 offices, AASC could offer their clients the international service standards that match with AASC’s global strategy.

AASC currently has its presence in Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, and Indonesia such as audit of the highway project in Thailand funded by WB's capital; participate in the audit report of the ASEAN secretariat, audit of the offshore investment projects of Vietnam Rubber Group, Vietnam National Chemical Group, Party Central Office, etc.

But, he had aware that AASC’s development has been through a lot of obstacles. Vietnam market are competing fiercely, including some tricks such as lower price, "having relationship" with the intermediate, getting customers from other firms, etc.

Even Ministry of Finance issued requirements on price frame for audit of project settlement report but there are proposals offer lower price compare to the hurdle requirements. Big companies accept losses in order to gain customers in other fields; other small and medium companies have to lower the price to gain the market share.

The competition has gone too far along with consequences. Mr. Doan recommended with Big 4 companies, cooperated and helped small and medium companies in order to strengthen the Vietnam audit sector.

3. Business is the life of every entrepreneur. Mr. Doan has experienced a lot of challenges by participating in the assessment of many major economic cases, which the boundary between the compliance with the law and actual situation is extremely fragile. He had involved in legal affairs in 1988, persistent struggled, defended the right, held the prestige of the company and he was appointed by the Ministry of finance to higher position in the following year. It’s clearly to see that, the field of auditing, evaluation may contain potential risk as other jobs.

This year, AASC has entered the age of 25 and the old captain said that in the next 10 years, AASC’s objectives are maintaining the pure Vietnamese auditing firm brand name, where domestic and foreign customers, management agencies, public investment do believe in.

The most desire of an experienced auditor, sticking with the market from its early days, is the Vietnamese auditing company will firmly stand and grow in integration as well as establish long-lasting brand name. But he wonders whether Vietnamese auditing companies have enough resources and faith to build such long-lasting brand name. The old captain has been prepared and trained for the next generation. The 10th meetings of the Board of Members in November will deal with this issue and development of AASC in the future.

Source: Anh Viet -