Bridging Cultural Gaps

As the number of Asian policy holders increases, it is important to understand the cultural differences when handling claims involving Asian policy holders. These differences should be taken into account during conference calls and when conversing by email. Lack of cultural sensitivity can lead to misunderstandings and less efficient business dealings.

Tips to Remember

  • English is not the native language of Asian policy holders and their staff.
  • An English speaking person must speak slowly, use simple words and avoid slang when speaking to Asian policy holders and their staff.
  • Patience is necessary when expecting a reply.
  • Asian policy holders want to keep information internal in order to “save face”.
  • When Asian policy holders do not understand you, they will change the conversation.
  • Always ask who you should speak to about the loss.
  • Asian policy holders would rather have the loss of money than disrespect.
  • Jokes are never told in conversation.

[easy-tweet tweet=”SDC CPAs illustrates differences in dialog when speaking to American and Asian policy holders.” via=”no” usehashtags=”no”]


These examples illustrate the significant differences in dialog when speaking to American policy holders and Asian policy holders and their staff.

1. English: Ask multiple questions to English speaking staff. (You may have the option to call them by their first names)

1. Japanese or Chinese: “Who is the person I should speak to about this loss?” (Always address by Mr./Ms. never by first name)

2. English: “May I have copies of bank statements?”

2. Japanese or Chinese: “Do you think you can provide us with copies of bank statements?”

3. English: “Do you have any affidavits from other employees about the loss?”

3. Japanese or Chinese: “Does the company have surveillance tapes?”

4. English: “Based on our conference last week you were going to send copies of bank statements.”

4. Japanese or Chinese: “We are just following up with you on copies of bank statements.”

5. English: “How are you going to handle future misappropriations?”

5. Japanese or Chinese: “Are there any internal control changes?”



About the Author

DM Studler

DM Studler, M.Acc., CPA, CFF is the founder of SDC CPAs, LLC. and has worked employee dishonesty claims in excess of $82,000,000, both domestic and internationally. She speaks across the country on a regular basis and is highly esteemed among her colleagues.