Managing Director, Tokyo, Japan
Client Service Award
Yasumi Taniguchi’s path to Protiviti and a Women Leaders in Consulting award is a unique one, for sure. After she graduated from a U.S. college as a Japanese student, she started her career as a U.S. CPA in a large accounting firm. Her role was to support Japanese clients coming to the U.S.
Through helping many Japanese companies to expand their business in the U.S. during the mid-to-late 1980s, she was lucky enough to gain experience in a wide range of projects, such as acting as a translator for the negotiations, providing due diligence support, setting up accounting systems, setting up policy and procedures.
Taniguchi transferred back to Japan in 1990 and continued to work on various projects, but was not a qualified Japanese CPA, and so she was given special projects within the Japanese accounting firm. From 1992 to 2002, Taniguchi led the development of internal auditing and risk consulting practices within the Risk Consulting Group of Arthur Andersen Japan.
“This breadth of business experience made a natural transition for me to the consulting practice within the accounting firm, Taniguchi says. “In 2003, I joined consulting firm Protiviti in order to start up its Japanese operation.”
Today, Taniguchi is a founding managing director of Protiviti Japan and leads its Internal Audit and Financial Advisory practice. Her current clients include global and domestic manufacturing, investment and insurance companies and Japanese Shosha. Taniguchi has led overseas U.S. and J-SOX engagements with Protiviti international offices.
“I enjoy working with the people around me, both on the client side and on my team, especially when I see them enhance their technical and leadership skills, and I enjoy their achievements in various projects,” she says. “I enjoy especially working on international projects with people from different countries and cultures.”
Taniguchi is well aware that consulting, and Japan are still dominated by men. She says her greatest personal achievement is that she was able to stay this long in the consulting field. “Thanks to my clients and team who are open-minded and willing to work with me,” she says. “My greatest professional achievement has been building a new firm in Japan as a founding member of Protiviti Japan.”
The Japanese business community is not necessarily open to newcomers, but Protiviti was lucky enough to hit the market at the right time, with the right knowledge and skills, she says.
“We built a firm with a great Japanese client profile. The experience I had in building Protiviti Japan was priceless. I would never have got it by staying in a large firm,” Taniguchi says. And her advice for women just beginning her consulting career? “I would tell her what I heard in the U.S. in the early years of my career, ‘Act like a woman, think like a man and work like a dog!’
What does winning the Women Leaders in Consulting Award mean to you?
Yasumi Taniguchi says: “I am surprised, honored and humbled. While Protiviti has so many qualified woman leaders in the U.S., the recognition this year was given to a woman in Japan. Japanese women seldom receive an award like this, so I hope that this will encourage more Japanese woman to work and stay in the consulting field. Whereas women occupy 14 percent of executive posts in the United States, they hold only 1 percent of comparable positions in Japan. So I hope this award will encourage all Japanese women who are working toward leadership positions.”