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ISFFA: Helping Filipino Finance and Accounting Professionals

(In our Episode12 of Power ngPinoy Show, we had a chance to interview the founders and officers of ISFFA. At the launch of its San Francisco Chapter, we sat down with the ISFFA officers to learn more about their organization and how they give back to the community.)

With the increase of Filipino professionals in the accounting and finance field, many have started to notice the contribution and the role of the Filipinos in Corporate America. Our younger generation Filipinos have been quickly becoming a global model for education, creativity, and excellence. A lot of organizations ranging from small to top Fortune500 companies in the US and across the globe employ Filipinos who excel in the field of finance and accounting.  In order to ensure that these Filipino professionals in this field continue to get the necessary skills and assistance to cope up with the ever-changing transformation of global economies and market, a new dynamic organization called the “International Society of Filipinos in Finance and Accounting” (“ISFFA”) was formed.

The International Society of Filipinos in Finance and Accounting (ISFFA) is a public benefit corporation whose primary goal is to assist, educate, train, and mentor emerging professionals in the field of Accounting and Finance is expanding into the bay area!  The organization commenced formal operations in 2007 in Los Angeles, then in New York City in 2009 and recently launched the San Francisco Chapter  in 2012.


“The purpose of ISFFA”, says Rey Puentenegra, current President of ISFFA LA Chapter, “is really to help Filipinos who had migrated to the United States, to get acclimated to the culture.” ISFFA provides language translation in getting social security cards, leasing apartments, medical and dental assistance requirements, drivers licenses as well as other state required documentation, suggestions for good schools, other basic social and cultural needs.

“I became a member of ISFFA in 2009”, says Puentenegram, “and that’s where I really started to build up my network. I have some friends and relatives in LA. But it was a really different experience when I got involved with ISFFA because I came to know a lot of Filipinos in the same field.”

ISFFAprovides assistance and support to Fil-Am professionals through the following activities whichinclude an interactive Adviser/Mentor Program, continuing professional education(CPE), and periodic newsletters.  “Our vision is to empower the Filipino-American in Finance and Accounting in the USA and hopefully, globally.”, says Benel Se-Liban, ISFFA’s  Founding President.

One of the main programs of ISFFA is its mentoring program where younger Filipinos who are “newbies” in Finance and Accounting are being helped and mentored by seasoned Filipinos in the US. In order to ensure success of the mentoring and leadership program, ISFFA’s strategy is to get some of the best and respected Filipinos in Finance and Accounting to be the group’s advisor and mentor.  “We recruited the best of the best in the finance and accounting field such as the icon, Mr. Washington SyCip  who is the founder of SGV group, Mr. Punongbayan, chairman of Punongbayan&Araullo, and Tammy Lipana  of Isla Lipana& Co”, commented Se-Liban.

Other key programs of ISFFA include providing scholarship to deserving students, financial support to victims of calamities, resources for out-of-job professionals, and organizing various social and business networking events.

“We want people in accounting and finance to be leaders at the same time they have to volunteer as a non-profit board, community board or school board so then we will be empowering our community. And also, teaching our next generation to be leaders.”, Se-Liban added.

Strengthening the Organization

In order to further strengthen the organization, the next step is to continue creation of chapters in various parts of the United States, and then globally. “We need to build so many chapters so that we can have a voice which will help us elevate our stature in the US.”, says Se-Liban.

In July 21, 2012, the ISFFA San Francisco Chapter made a debut at the Wedgewood Banquet Center in Burlingame. “Filipinos from many walks of the accounting and finance industry made the launch possible. It was a powerhouse event that showcased the abundance of talents in accounting and finance in the Bay Area.”,  commented Emily Enriquez-Patton, ISFFA San Francisco Chapter President.

(For question about this article, please email to For more information about ISFFA, please visit their website at

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