MARYCRIS Oplas, Alas Oplas & Co., CPAs (AOC) chief executive officer and founding partner, realized her strong desire to work in an auditing firm after successfully passing the board exams.As a certified public accountant (CPA), Oplas has enjoyed the versatility of engaging in a wide range of service lines across different industries and the opportunity to interact with individuals from various backgrounds.Embracing life as it cameDrawn to the white uniform, Oplas' original dream was to be a nurse. Accounting was not in her plans. Oplas ended up choosing accounting, fulfilling her father's ambition to be an accountant.In terms of choosing a career path, going with the flow of life has worked to Oplas' advantage. But in addition to having an open mind, it was her hard work, true grit and trust in God's plans that shaped her successes.Serving as worldwide chairwoman of BKR InternationalOplas is the first woman from the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region to be the chairwoman of BKR International Worldwide. She has been in her first year of service and would be completing her term next year.BKR International is a top 10 global accounting association with over 145 member firms in 585 cities across 81 countries. Through the three pillars of doing Business, sharing Knowledge and creating Relationships, BKR offered a holistic framework for members that promoted sustainable growth, innovation and prosperity in today's complex business environment.BKR International is composed of three regions: Asia-Pacific; Americas; and Europe, Middle East and Africa or EMEA. On top of these BKR International regions is Worldwide, which carried the responsibilities of giving directions to some works of each region, and confirming the programs and initiatives of all regions.AOC is an independent member of BKR International.Recently, five partners of AOC — including Oplas — attended the annual BKR International Worldwide meeting, which had just come to a close in Washington, D.C. Some 72 firms from 38 countries were in attendance to see the unveiling of a new strategy and a new corporate identity for the association.The new website and branding, launched in Washington, D.C., has prepared BKR International for the future. Doing Business, Sharing Knowledge, Creating Relationships were the three pillars of the brand, and the refreshed identity positioned BKR to achieve its core goals and cement a powerful legacy for the firms it represented. The new brand conveyed stability, affluence and renewal. It gave BKR a renewed relevance in the financial world. The green logo was the color of new beginnings, stability and growth, and was associated with finance and professionalism. The new logo was based on three curved ascenders that united the organization's core values.Oplas, being the worldwide chairwoman of BKR International, commented: 'Our members approved our strategy and moving to a future-ready BKR. We're excited to onboard the changes that will drive the organization forward and set our members up for great future success.'Offshore collaborationWith the shortage of talent in the field of accounting, AOC collaborated with other BKR International member firms — such as those in the United States, Singapore and Australia — to help fill this growing talent demand. AOC extended its services by providing offshore outsourcing to fellow BKR International member firms and by sending staff to other countries for training and fieldwork.It engaged in offshore collaborations with other members, encompassing services such as audits, tax and accounting services.Developing talentWith more than 350 employees onboard, AOC was expanding opportunities for its workforce and reaffirming its commitment to excellence by supporting the growth and development of its employees.Annually, AOC participated and invested in 4-day leadership training sessions for its future leaders abroad. This initiative was part of BKR APAC's project and was also a legacy of Oplas during her term as BKR APAC chairwoman in 2018. Additionally, AOC offered annual secondment opportunities to employees, lasting approximately 6 months, providing them with a valuable chance to gain international work exposure and insights.Thriving amid the pandemicEven at the peak of the pandemic, the AOC did not cut down on employees' salaries. Rather, the firm embraced the hybrid work and remote setup to reduce costs on space and other office-related expenses.Savings from downsizing were redirected to support employees with internet allowances and utilities subsidies. This allowed AOC employees to save on transportation, food and time, allowing more opportunities to be with their family.The firm has also provided shuttle services to employees, who needed to do fieldwork at the time when the protocols were only starting to ease up, businesses were slowly opening and vaccination was only starting to roll out. A staff house was also provided near the offices.In building dreams and the company, Oplas has done this together with her life partner and AOC founding partner and Chairman Donnies Alas. Working hand in hand with them are the partners, managing directors and directors.The AOC has a network of 11 offices, distributed across different locations: Alabang, Bacolod, Bohol, Bulacan, Cavite, Iloilo, Isabela, Makati, Nueva Ecija, Ortigas and Parañaque.As it continued to celebrate 33 years of service this year, Alas Oplas & Co., CPAs continued to soar to even greater heights through its partnerships with BKR International member firms, carrying with it the journey it has been on since 1990.