Shining our spotlight on our Pacific people that work for our Pacific environment in this Q and A series from your Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP).
This week we introduce you to Ms Emmaflora Ah Tong, a Finance Officer for Projects, with SPREP’s Finance and Administration Department. In her role, Ms Ah Tong is responsible for financial accounting for projects and programmes to ensure timely, relevant and reliable financial information is provided to SPREP projects for decision making.
Ms Ah Tong joined SPREP in 2019 and her vision for her current role is furthering her capacity in financial management through the Finance and Administration Department and contribute to the wider functions of SPREP, in serving SPREP member countries and the Pacific region.
Q: What is it that you do at SPREP?
I’m a Finance Officer for Projects. I am part of a core team that makes sure SPREP delivers its service to the region through maintaining internal control in processing payments, affiliating with the banks, reconciling, and preparing financial reports and assist in other general financial services.
Q: How does your role serve SPREP member countries in enhancing resilience?
My role with finance revolves preparing payments, accounts receipting, project accounting and reporting and finally - assist in other general financial services. This contributes to the overall goal of the Finance and Administration Department in ensuring SPREP has a reliable and sustainable funding base to achieve environmental outcomes for the benefit of the Pacific islands region and thus enhancing the resilience of our member countries.
Q: What has been your greatest achievement in this role?
My greatest achievement would be mastering the skill of multi-tasking and learning quickly. My role is not limited to one side of Finance which is why it’s very interesting. I have recently moved to projects, where we focus on project accounting and reporting. I’ve enjoyed learning new things on the go and I am grateful to be working with an awesome team of experts who have shared their knowledge and skills that has helped me develop my career experience to this level.
Q: What is a lesson you have learned in your role?
Remember to look at the bigger picture. Every day isn’t going to be the best day and some days can be challenging. However, if you can remember to look on the bright side, that makes it worth it. This role also gave me an insight into issues concerning climate change, waste management, biodiversity, islands ocean and ecosystems as faced by the region. Through this, I have learned the value of being thorough in my work. We are accountable and serve our member countries and therefore we must follow through and complete our processes from procurement to delivery of service with a high standard.
Q: What is the best piece of advice you have been given?
Never give up, just do it.
Q: What tip do you think we should all know to help protect the environment?
Protecting our environment starts with you, me, us. Let’s do our part, others will follow.