Overcoming Adversity: 16 Years at the Workplace and Still Going Strong


Yen Chin has been an employee at Brunel’s Singapore office for 16 years. During our conversation, we talked about her various roles in accounting and payroll over the years. We also discussed how Brunel’s support, coupled with the encouragement of her family, helped her overcome cancer and emerge stronger.

Yen Chin

Yen Chin

Brunel Singapore

Hi, Yen Chin! I understand that you are originally from Malaysia. When did you move to Singapore?


In 1994, after obtaining my accounting diploma, I moved to Singapore and began working for a local company. Later on, I met my husband, and together we started a family. 


As you've been with Brunel for 16 years, could you walk us through the different roles you've held during your time there?


I joined Brunel in 2007 as an Account Assistant at what used to be the Brunel Technical Services Pte Ltd. I was approached for the position by a head-hunter. Brunel was special to me as it was the first multinational company I had worked for. Later, I moved to the Account Executive position and then switched to payrolling. I also did a brief stint as a System Accountant, where I helped the team migrate from the old system to the new Navision system. As the China business expanded, I was promoted to Payroll and Billing Manager, overseeing north Asia payrolling for China, Japan and South Korea. Unfortunately, in 2021, I was diagnosed with breast cancer and had to take a break from work.


I’m sorry to hear that. This must have been a difficult time for you. 


My diagnosis was tough, but I had tremendous support from both my family and Brunel. Brunel helped me keep my job and continued paying my salary while I underwent treatment. I'm delighted to report that I'm now cancer-free, fully recovered and back to doing what I love at work.


Speaking about doing what you love, how did you get into accounting? 


I know it sounds like a cliché, but I've always had a natural affinity for numbers and problem-solving, which made maths one of my favourite subjects in school. When I started work, I found myself drawn to analysing financial data and ensuring that people get paid accurately and on time.

Yen Chin in office
Yen Chin at her desk in the Brunel Singapore office, where approximately 75 people work.

Can you explain to us the difference between accounting and payrolling? 

Accounting involves recording, classifying and summarising financial transactions to create financial statements. It also involves analysing and interpreting financial information to provide insights into a company's financial health and performance, managing accounts payable and receivable, reconciling accounts and preparing tax returns. Payrolling, on the other hand, focuses on managing employee compensation. It includes calculating and distributing paychecks, taxes and deductions, tracking employee time off and benefits, and ensuring compliance with labour laws and regulations.

What do you like most about Brunel as an employer? 

During my sixteen years at Brunel, I've had the opportunity to learn and grow. Starting from a junior position, I acquired new skills and advanced to a managerial role, where I now manage the Payroll & Billing team for China, Singapore, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. Moreover, I enjoy the lifestyle benefits and international atmosphere of the Singapore office. Our team includes members from different countries – China, Europe, Indonesia, Hong Kong, India, South Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines and the United States.

What has been your favourite memory with Brunel so far?

I've accumulated countless memories during my time at Brunel, but the most unforgettable one was when our contractor headcount in Singapore soared from 70 to 500 due to the boom in the oil and gas industry. This occurred soon after I joined when our team was still small and responsible for payroll processing, so that is a remarkable achievement. 

What do you like to do in your free time? 

In my free time, I enjoy reading Chinese novels and spending time with my family. However, after recovering from cancer, I've started dedicating a lot of time to exercise to improve my stamina, which is a new habit for me. Previously, I used to go home after work, have dinner and watch TV. But I have now realised the importance of a healthy lifestyle in aiding my recovery.

Is there anything else you’d like to add? 

I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to those who have made my life at Brunel so interesting and enjoyable. As the great Chinese thinker and philosopher Confucius once said: “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”

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