Everyday Natarad is on a quest: improving work processes, optimising time spent and reducing costs are what drives her as Head of Innovation and Transformation at Mazars in Thailand. She’s all about finding technological solutions for the outsourcing team that help provide clients with better and faster services. Read Natarad’s full story to see what her job entails and how she got there.
Natarad Sornsaksit Head of Innovation and Transformation Mazars in Thailand
First things first, how did you get involved in innovation?
In 2018, my friends and I had an idea about how to improve planning for leisure travel to help the tourist industry in Thailand. We used machine learning technology to automate leisure travel planning to automatically generate a plan based on user preference data. We decided to participate in the GCON Start-up Thailand 2018 competition, and we ended up winning it. I have been interested in innovation ever since.
What a fantastic experience! Shortly after, you joined Mazars to develop innovation in Thailand. Can you tell us more about taking on this challenge?
It was a huge challenge for me to start the innovation team at Mazars from scratch when I joined the firm in 2019. I tried to identify significant problems and came up with an innovation project call XTax to help accountants save time by not having to enter data manually. So, we looked for people who are interested in both accounting and technology to join the team. We started by hiring 1 developer to help with prototyping and testing the usability and feasibility to ensure a great return on investment for the idea before we decided to implement it. After that, we saw that some accountants were interested in technology, so we recruited them, they worked 50% of the time for the innovation team, and 50% of the time for the accounting team. Moreover, we tried to build an innovation mindset for accountants to be able to initiate innovation themselves in the future. The culture in Mazars is wonderful, as people always have a good mindset, as well as being supportive and generous. Working in this role with other Mazars colleagues has continued to fuel my passion for innovation.
Starting from scratch, how did you choose your team? What were you looking for?
The criteria depended on the role. For senior positions, I look for people with both technical skills and interpersonal skills, especially leadership and management skills, which are crucial for leading a team and making sure everyone is happy doing their work. For junior positions, I look for people with technical skills and open-mindedness. They need to be flexible and eager to learn new skills to perform their tasks well.
For anyone building teams out there, I would definitely advise to not do this alone. Find the right person to support you in implementing the best structure for the team; somebody with strong interpersonal skills. Generally speaking, I believe that with the right leader and vision, the team will succeed.
You are currently studying an MSc in Strategy & Innovation at Maynooth University in Ireland. Can you tell us more?
I’ve been interested in innovation since I got my bachelor’s degree in computer science. So, I always wanted to learn the right approach to managing innovation projects. Apart from that, Ireland is the technology hub of Europe and a leader in innovation. Therefore, receiving a full scholarship from the government of Ireland to study for a master’s degree in strategy and innovation convinced me to take the opportunity.
My degree will help us to implement best practice with regards to strategy planning, financial management, and project management for innovation projects in Mazars. My ambition is to lead innovation projects at Mazars with the right approach and create a sustainable culture of innovation in the company for the long term.
How do you balance studying your master’s degree and your work in outsourcing at Mazars?
At first, I worked for Mazars in Thailand from Ireland. However, from now for the period from June to August 2022, I am doing an work at Mazars in Ireland.
The flexible working policy at Mazars has enabled me to study and work at the same time. Having flexible working hours and being able to work remotely allows me to work for Mazars from Monday to Wednesday, and study on Thursday and Friday.
What are your plans after you graduate and go back to Thailand?
I plan to share the knowledge that I have gained from my courses with my colleagues in Thailand. I will build the right innovation structure for Mazars to grow further and be a leader in the industry.
It’s always possible to challenge yourself to aim higher. Sarinee is the prime example: today she is a Senior Tax Advisor at Mazars in Thailand after starting her career with the firm as a receptionist. We interviewed Sarinee to share her inspirational story.