Faces of Gengo: Iver
As Gengo’s Finance Controller, Iver is responsible for overseeing the company’s monthly closing process, forecasting and reviewing our budget, checking translator payments, as well as managing our financial activities.
Languages: Mandarin, Taiwanese, English and Japanese
Education: Certified Public Accountant (CPA) , National Taipei University
Where have you lived before, and what were your previous roles?
I lived in Tokyo for a few years when I was in elementary school and spent two years in the U.S. during high school. Before joining Gengo I worked in Taiwan for KPMG as an auditing manager. I then moved to Japan and worked for Groupon Japan (finance manager), Rakuten (senior internal auditor), and finally Cat Financial (senior accountant).
How would you describe living and working in Tokyo?
Japan feels like a second home to me, so I feel very comfortable living here. I have lots of opportunities to travel within Japan and explore Japanese culture. It’s also very easy for me to go back to Taiwan for a visit.
Working in Tokyo is very similar to working in Taiwan. However, Gengo is very different from the companies I have previously worked for and has much more of a Western style of doing business.
How long have you worked at Gengo?
I joined in April 2015.
What drew you to the company?
The business model itself really appealed to me. Gengo’s idea of using a specially built platform for translation using crowdsourced translators is really unique. Translation is an interesting product to sell, and I really understand the need for human translation as machine translation doesn’t provide the desired quality level for many users.
What do you most enjoy about your role?
Before I joined Gengo, I hadn’t had an opportunity to oversee a company’s budget. My current role provides a very rare chance for me to manage an entire budget and learn something new in the process. Part of my role is also overseeing HR and legal departments, which would normally be handled by other divisions. So this is also a good opportunity for me to learn new skills.
The most important thing for me is because we are a startup, we are still trying to figure out the best processes and are always trying to improve. Once we identify where we can make improvements, we can do it right away. This is unlike bigger companies, which take much longer to implement changes.
What have been some of your challenges, and how have you overcome them?
It used to take us three weeks to finish our monthly closing process. We have now shortened it to less than two weeks by making the process more efficient. We are still trying to make it even shorter by eliminating manual tasks. This is something I always wanted to do in my previous roles, but bigger companies have a much more concrete process meaning it is difficult to change.
How has Gengo changed since you started working here?
All departments are now much more willing to try improve processes with the accounting department. They are open to suggestions and often give me ideas as to how we can make it more efficient. We are now also working very closely with the engineering team to streamline our processes.
What are you most excited about for the future at Gengo?
The translation industry is growing quickly and increasingly more people need translation services, especially in Japan with the approaching 2020 Olympics. I’m looking forward to Gengo becoming a bigger and more international company, which is well-known worldwide.
What do you think makes Gengo a great place to work?
The management philosophy within the company is great. They think and act very openly, which has a positive effect on the rest of the company. It’s easy to speak and suggest ideas to management, and they are responsive to our suggestions.
What do you do in your spare time?
In winter, I go snowboarding. I also enjoy photography, and especially like taking pictures of trains and architecture. My favorite building in Tokyo is the De Beers Ginza Building, designed by well-known Japanese architect Jun Mitsui.
I also love traveling around Japan. A while ago I saw a program on TV about the most beautiful train stations in Japan. Shimonada Station in Shikoku was voted number two so I decided to go there to take photographs.