Ninety has become a special number for Utomo Josodirdjo, the living accounting legend in Indonesia. At the age of 90, Utomo, who is also one of the founders of President University launched a book entitled “A Journey Through Time: The Memoir of Utomo Josodirdjo”. This book launch and sharing session were held at President Lounge, Batavia Tower, Jakarta on Wednesday (22/1) and attended by students and lecturers of President University.
S. D. Darmono, the founder of President University who also acted as the moderator during this event said, “This book is one of the best biographies that I have ever read. I think Utomo’s life experience in advancing the accounting sector and producing high-quality human resources in Indonesia can inspire students and lecturers who have gathered here today.”
Starting the sharing session, Utomo told his experience in establishing one of the first accounting firms in Indonesia. This firm was built to create equal rights for accountants, to increase Indonesian accountants’ competence against foreign accountants’, and to allow anyone to access this accounting firm service. The development of his accounting firm skyrocketed and reached a worldwide level after securing a partnership with SyCip Gorres Velayo & Company (SGV) from Manila. Other than that, he also initiated the partnerships between SGV and Arthur Andersen from the US. SGV then became a member of Ernst & Young Global Limited, a world-renowned accounting firm.
His decision to develop human resources is believed to be one of his keys to success.
In the academic world, Utomo did not only serve as one of the founders of President University. He was also the pioneer of the founding of an accounting study program at Universitas Airlangga, Surabaya. He is also an important figure that contributed towards the changing of the Dutch accounting system into the American accounting system in Indonesia. “What differentiates the two systems is future prediction. In the American accounting model, by reading the fiscal report, we can predict what’s going to happen in the future towards a company,” Utomo said.
Aside from discussing accounting, Utomo also highlighted the importance of work practices within the accounting education sector and networking. “ After returning from Harvard, I established Sabang College. The theories taught there are short, to the point, and can be practiced directly. Most of the graduates succeedED in position and finance, some become ministers, some become secretaries-general, “he recalled.
An interesting story was also revealed by Darmono and Utomo who knew each other through golf. According to the two of them, playing golf is not only a hobby but also as a networking event. Utomo revealed, “From playing golf, I build relationships with many people and important figures in the world of business and government.”
The story of Utomo as told in this 259-page book is an inspiration not only for President University students, but also for all young people in Indonesia about how his perseverance and leadership affect the world of education, business, and social life.