WeRobotics is a diverse, global team. To spotlight their unique talents and contributions to WeRobotics and to Flying Labs, we asked them to share a bit about their backgrounds, their roles, and their interests.
Q: Please introduce yourself: who are you, where do you live, and what’s your role at WeRobotics?
A: My name is Wee Kheng Yuen and I was born and raised in Singapore, a multicultural and multiracial society. Growing up amongst Chinese, Malays, Indians, and Eurasians, being exposed to different cultures, religious practices, languages, foods have given me a melting pot of varied experiences. Events such as celebrating a newborn, birthdays, weddings, funerals, and religious festivals are very different for each race and, in some ways, very educational. All these have ingrained in me an attitude of curiosity, acceptance, and tolerance for almost everything.
I lived in the US for 2.5 years and moved to Switzerland in 2008. I started as a finance consultant at WeRobotics in July 2018 and joined as an employee in November 2018, assuming the role of Head of Finance. My focus areas are overseeing, managing, and evolving WeRobotics’ operational and analytical financial management of both the US and Swiss entities.
How did you get started in your field? What were your academic background and critical work experiences?
When I was young, my mother told me I had three career choices: a doctor, a lawyer, or an accountant. Knowing I didn’t have the stomach for needles or blood and always losing out on arguments (I was the youngest in a family of 10 children), my remaining option was to be an accountant! I studied at Ngee Ann Polytechnic to get my Diploma in Business Studies. I went on to do part-time studies for my ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) while working.
I worked in various industries ranging from public accounting, shipping, charitable organization, telecommunication, and information technology. I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to work on financial and management accounting, deliver on compliance and governance projects, and provide financial oversight to more than 300 international entities in Accounting Close, Long-range Expense Planning and management, Sarbanes-Oxley compliance, internal audits, and remediation.
WeRobotics stood out in its mission statement and how the Founders plan to achieve growth without ‘growing themselves.’ It was a real eye-opener for me coming from a profit-making environment!
How did you get here? Why did you decide to join WeRobotics? What projects have you been working on?
My last job allowed me to work and live in the USA and Switzerland. Most of my career has been in the highly competitive and intense profit-making world of telecommunication and information technology. I was ready for a break and was in the midst of a career change when I heard about WeRobotics and met Sonja Betschart. Even as a nonprofit organization, WeRobotics stood out in its mission statement and how the Founders plan to achieve growth without ‘growing themselves.’ It was a real eye-opener for me coming from a profit-making environment!
In the last two years, the focus was building a strong finance back office with an accounting system and policies and procedures. I was extremely pleased to have successfully set up the financial reporting for WeRobotics, completed an external 2018 Financial Review, and a clean Audit Report for 2019 in partnership with the core team.
What are you most looking forward to this year in your work?
In 2020, I’m looking forward to solidifying recommended best practices within WeRobotics back office and working on more operational initiatives supporting Flying Labs.
What are your go-to tools and resources for doing your job?
An accountant cannot work without Microsoft tools and access to legal and accounting websites. We need to keep up with and review the latest accounting standards updates and pronouncements to ensure compliance.
What do you like to do in your off time? How do you relax and unwind?
I love growing my own food and was very active in seeding and planting until we had a new addition to the family (pictured above). He arrived in May 2018, made a mess of everything in the ground and in the pots, dug holes in the garden, but still manages to melt our hearts! I like to unwind by training Oscar (that’s his name BTW), taking him on walks by the lake where he can meet other dogs, long hikes in the vineyards, and to the Sunday markets. The best way for me to relax is to be at a spa (at any time of the year)!