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Take a Long View and Be a Qualified Watchdog—Liu Junru, Financial Manager of Atlantis Project Company

Date:2012-11-01 Source:Sinochem E&P

When Liu Junru, a PHD graduate from the Management and Accounting Department of Xiamen University, first came to Sinochem Petroleum Exploration and Production Co., Ltd. in July 2006, her storage of knowledge on petroleum exploration and production was empty. Now six years has passed, and she can talk about finance of the company with great familiarity and tell key time schedules without hesitation as financial manager of the Atlantis project company. The previous blank sheet has now been full of growth and gains over the past six years. 

New PHD Recruit in Petroleum Industry

In her initial days with Sinochem Petroleum Exploration and Production, she was often deeply troubled in front of complex statements, when her financial expertise appeared to be somewhat shallow. “For many overseas assets in the petroleum industry, general accounting principles are not applicable.” Every time she submitted statement analyses, she felt as if treading on eggs. “At the very beginning, when I could answer all questions raised by leaders based on the statement analyses, I felt that I had made great progress.” At that time, Liu Junru was keenly aware that the academic degree was only a stepping stone, and to do the work well, she must pocket her pride and learn modestly.

She obtained some visual and perceptual knowledge of the industry through her visit to the Jidong Oilfield. After she came back, she read the thick due diligence reports, monthly production reports of the project company and all materials in relation to expenditures at the earliest opportunity, from which she gradually understood the parts related to operation and expenditures. Then step by step, when she submitted statement analyses again, Liu Junru became more confident, as she could actively discover problems in the statements. 

In March 2010, Liu Junru went to Dubai thousands of miles away and started her working and living overseas. “After the UAQ gas field was constructed and put into formal operation on May 2nd, 2008, the personnel who participated in prophase construction and preparations returned home successively, and the remaining five members were permanent personnel with one assuming multiple jobs at several posts.” At that time, all financial work had to be dealt with by her and George. In the year of 2010, they completed a dozen of audit projects of all scales, the contents of which could be traced as far as to the whole story of Sinopec’s withdraw at the beginning of the project negotiation and as near as to the annual audit of Sinochem Group’s petroleum company in Denmark at the moment and range from details of negotiations to cash delivery. In looking up and understanding historical data, Liu Junru also obtained a better understanding of the causes and effects of decisions made by the company. For her, to cope with audit work provided her with a great opportunity to overlook the overall situation from a higher position. “In about one to one and half a year, I worked for a dozen of hours every day without weekends.” She also gradually came to understand that financial personnel shall not only pay attention to minor details but also aim to maximize economic benefits of the project and even the whole company. “In that year, it seemed that I had done two years’ work in one year.” Those days were hard and tough, but her growth in the period was like crops in June, for which it seemed that we could hear the crisp jointing sound. 

Hard Struggle Overseas

In an unfamiliar environment with different habits and customs and new laws and regulations, an overseas financial worker need have international visions and risk management and control awareness and master finance and taxation policies of registration countries and resource holding countries, international and domestic accounting standards and international capital operation modes. Liu Junru got familiarized with laws fast on petroleum and taxation and had a thorough grasp of the parts related to the company’s projects so as to ensure compliance of all financial incomes and expenses of the project company to laws and regulations. “A financial worker acts as a watchdog,” Liu Junru always bore these words in mind.

To ensure maximization of the company’s benefits had become Liu Junru’s work guideline, which necessitated full utilization of relevant preferential policies of the host countries of resources. Tunisian government issued new policies after the Jasmine Revolution, when the turmoil also brewed opportunities. Liu Junru waited for the chance and cooperated with the financial department and the project management department in preparing the application materials, which finally saved 2.46 million USD for the company.

From years’ diligent work and exploration and frequent contact with negotiation opponents and energy and mining ministries, tax ministries and finance ministries of host countries of resources, Liu Junru has awaken to the golden rule of mutual benefits. “As the purpose of every party is to earn or protect its own benefits, we thus think about issues from the perspective of the other side and propose conditions both conducive to us and acceptable to them.” 

Both Pains and Joys Being Gains

Although it was 6 o’clock in the early morning in Dubai, Liu Junru was woken up by a call from the human resources department of the headquarters, as it was work time in China. She was answering a question about insurance patiently and meticulously. “No matter whether it is email or telephone call and when it is, Ms. Liu will try her best to deal with it at soonest.” Zhang Xi with the human resources department said. Through several contact, Zhang Xi is impressed with her prudent attitude toward each detail. Her colleague Xie Linfeng in Dubai still remembers her earnestness in collating previous materials. “However complicated it is, she can treat it with great calmness, as she loves her job from the bottom of her heart.” Xie Linfeng said.

The Atlantis project company has only five Chinese employees in Dubai. As the only female worker in this team, Liu Junru warms the team with her conscientiousness and carefulness. “We are working partners and more importantly, spiritual supporters to each other. In a foreign country without company of our family members, we are family members to each other.”

A team can create invaluable power, and Liu Junru also deeply knows the meaning of building a good team. The financial department has followed the master-apprentice mode for a long time, which together with regular job rotation enables employees to cope with all kinds of situations. In Dubai, eight financial workers have been involved in rotation.

There is a song with lines going that “With initial dreams still in hand, how can we return halfway on the road to the place we would like to go best.” To make the company larger and stronger is their shared aspiration. “The road ahead may not be smooth, but we are lucky that we have a group of common people who love their work and this team as well and make contributions silently always in our company. They come together to form an active and cohesive force to bring us to go further.” From the words of Liu Junru, we can feel her expectations for and faith in the future.