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Someone who supports the company’s mission with integrity from the financial side.

Kohei Abe

Finance & Accounting Dept.
Since 2010

A company with a culture of “integrity”.

For Kohei Abe, who wanted a job where he could use his accounting knowledge, Chugai Pharmaceutical looked appealing. ‘That was because Chugai had entered into an alliance with Roche, the world's leading pharmaceutical company, and was taking the lead in the field of biotechnology, deploying never-before-seen business models.’ However, the decisive factor for him was when he asked the General Manager of the Finance & Accounting Department at the final interview, "What part of Chugai Pharmaceutical’s culture do you like?’

‘The answer that came back was “Integrity.’’ Without a moment’s hesitation. Being a foreign capital company, I thought Chugai’s corporate culture would have a more European style, but when I heard the word “Integrity,” it reminded me of Bushido, the samurai code of chivalry. An image of a samurai warrior boldly challenging the world popped into my head and I felt that Chugai Pharmaceutical was an appealing company.’ Abe learnt martial arts at university and had a sense of the importance of this spirit of integrity. ‘I decided that I really wanted to work for this company.’

Finding solutions by fitting single transactions into three worlds.

After joining the company, Abe was assigned to the Finance & Accounting Department, where he engaged mainly in account settlement work. ‘I had studied accounting in accordance with JGAAP, which is the Japanese standard, while at university, but in addition, I also had to report the accounts to Roche in accordance with IFRS (International Financial Reporting Standards). Moreover, I also had to deal with accounting that complied with Japanese tax law. I found it fresh and interesting to find solutions for a single business transaction by fitting it into three worlds, which is something you do not see in academia.’ At times, he had to discuss accounting treatments when Roche’s interpretation differed from his own. He was also surprised at Chugai Pharmaceutical’s corporate culture of entrusting young employees. ‘In my fourth year at the company, I was assigned the job of handling the increase in the consumption tax to 8%.’ Any omission or error with this handling would result in severe action under the law, such as the company's name being published. ‘The consumption tax is relevant to all departments, but I did not understand the business of each division in the first place. After investigating what kind of transactions were being made with whom and how the consumption tax should be reflected, I checked the legal interpretations regarding the information I had gathered with tax accountants and lawyers over and over. I then put that information into a manual that I distributed throughout the entire company.’

I also implemented some ideas to avoid confusion, such as explaining to the controller of each division and collecting questions. ‘In order to pass on the consumption tax correctly, we had to change our business practices and sometimes had to ask other departments to do some complicated things, but I decided with my boss that the company needed to act thoroughly and with integrity. I would have felt bad for the Chugai Pharmaceutical employees, who were working so hard to deliver our drugs to the patients, if the company's reputation had been damaged because this matter had not been handled correctly. At a later date, we were subjected to an on-site investigation by a government agency, and after they reviewed the response manual and calculation files that we had prepared, they commended our response highly, saying that they had never seen a company take their response so seriously.’

Understanding the company’s finances with broader perspectives from overseas.

Abe is currently on a posting in Switzerland, where he has the job of checking and adjusting budget and actual figures that have been prepared in Japan and reporting them to Roche. ‘I work with my main counterparts in Japan, the Finance & Accounting Department and the Corporate Planning Department, to firm up figures by telephone and video-conference, and then report and explain them to Roche.’ When he was doing account settlement work in Japan, a great deal of the work involved summarizing finer discussion points on topics that were focused on cost calculation and post-employment benefit accounting. He has now adopted a mindset of considering issues from a broader perspective. ‘For example, I am considering questions such as what our company should do in response to the strict drug pricing system revisions and what the intentions of short-term investments we are making are. Within those questions, a perspective of what Chugai Pharmaceutical is seeking to do in the long term is always needed, and I strive to explain that in my own words.’ Amid his busy daily schedule in a foreign land, Abe is also striving to obtain accounting-related qualifications.

‘My goal is to be an accounting professional on whom others can rely. Although the Finance & Accounting Department is an important department involved in the preparation of financial reports and company-wide business strategies, it cannot directly contribute to patients. This is precisely why I will strive so hard to contribute to our company’s mission to “dedicate ourselves to adding value by creating and delivering innovative products and services for the medical community and human health around the world” through the provision of services for the individual divisions’ accounting issues.’

*The contents of this article, and the divisions that the people featured in this article belonged to and the names of those divisions are current as of the time of the interview.

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