Profile from The Oregon Certified Public Accountant Magazine
Mei Lee Consulting Services, LLC
M.E.I (Motivation. Excellence. Integrity.)
Education: BA-Accounting, Portland State University
Year Certified: 1998
Area of Practice/Business: Mei Lee Consulting Services, LLC provides Interim Controller/ CFP consulting services, HR management and IT leadership to a variety of medium size companies; assist companies in setting up , streamlining, and restructuring operational, IT, HR, and accounting processes; and assists in business development internationally. We asked Mei to share her background and experiences in setting up a firm focused on global business development.
Q: How did you get started assisting companies in international business development?
A: When I was in high school, I started to work at an international division of a national bank. During my six years’ with the bank, I had the opportunity to work with investors and banks all over the world. When I worked for a Big Six firm, I also had clients with worldwide operations. Once I moved to private industry, I was very fortunate to take on the role of Worldwide Assistant Controller for a billion-dollar division of a Fortune 500 company. The learning curve was very steep.
Over the last 10 years, I had opportunities to participate in numerous global projects including managing worldwide treasury function, developing new foreign currency risk management models, consolidating banking relationships for 30 countries, renegotiating procurement contracts with local and foreign vendors, completing Oracle and SAP worldwide fully-integrated system implementations for over 40 countries, and working with local and foreign counsels on international tax, payroll and HR management issues.
Once I started my consulting practice, I was able to utilize my prior experience to help foreign companies start doing business in the U.S. or assist local companies to develop internationally.
Q: Tell us about your background.
A: I grew up in a very large family in Hong Kong. I have seven siblings and 10 nephews and nieces. I am fluent in Chinese. I immigrated to Portland when I was 16 years old.
Q: What do you do for fun and relaxation in your free time?
A: I love to travel. I have worked with people from over 40 countries, and I’d like to visit each of them. So far, I have visited 15 countries, and I have 25 more to go.
Q: Why did you become a CPA?
A: My brother-in-law was a very successful controller for an international corporation in China. He introduced me to accounting. I became very interested in accounting and decided to become a CPA while I was in high school. I think I am one of the very few lucky ones; I was able to find out what I like to do early in life.
Q: What is the highlight of your career so far?
A: I have been very blessed to be able to work with many dedicated professionals. Many of them became my friends and advisors. Their support, along with the experience I gained working on various worldwide projects, helped me launch my own consulting practice.
Q: What advice have you received that you would like to pass along to new and aspiring CPAs?
A: The best advice I ever received was to work hard, but also make time for yourself. Early on in my career, I spent too much of my time at work. Unfortunately, I did not spend enough time taking care of myself. We need work-life balance.
Q: Is there something people would be surprised to know about you?
A: I am very addicted to crime and action entertainment, for example, The Closer, Burn Notice, Dateline, 48 Hours, Salt, Captain America, Thor, etc.