What did you study?
Bachelor of Commerce, major in accounting with a minor in economics.
Why did you choose this course?
Accounting was always something I was interested in during High School – I was always excited about learning how businesses operated and discovered that the numbers can tell you a lot about a business.
What did you enjoy about the course?
Other than the social life, I really enjoyed learning about something new and how this applied to real life situations. I also enjoyed working on group projects and assignments– this really does help prepare you for what the real world is like.
What helped you to successfully complete your course?
My friends! We were all so competitive which really did encourage me to get the work done (I do have to say that my friends were also very supportive as well – not just competitive). I did have some great lecturers who were also very supportive.
What advice do you have for future students?
I think deciding what to study is the most important decision. So many people come to university not really knowing what they would like to do. Don’t be afraid to take a year off if you are not sure what you would like to do – it may save you both time and money in the long run. Other than that, take the time to enjoy university life – you really do make some great friends and meet some interesting people during this phase of your life.
Describe your job
I’m an Associate at Grant Thornton New Zealand Limited in our Privately Held Business team (PHB).
PHB is more commonly known as Business Advisory Services. Previously, our core work been account compilations and tax returns, however as technology improves, we are finding that more and more of our time is being spent working alongside business owners, providing support and guidance to help them with growing their business and achieving their goals. I guess the role of an accountant is evolving and we are becoming more of what you would call a business mentor/advisor than simply a bean counter - just the other day, I was assisting a customer with a member of their team – who would have thought that would happened in an accountants role.
What do you do on an average day?
The most exciting thing about my job is that there just doesn’t seem to be an average day. From one day to the next, you can guarantee that I will be doing something completely different. Just the other day I was helping one of our clients with a proposal they were presenting to the Government, the day after, I was spending time with a client discussing their forecasts/budgets with their banking manager and yesterday, I was determining the appropriate level of remuneration to pay a company CFO. Today – who knows what will happen. Exciting projects come up all the time.
What is the most exciting aspect of your job?
I think the most exciting part of my job is not knowing what is going to happen next, what project I might be doing today or tomorrow. It is also extremely rewarding when you are working with clients and helping them to achieve their goals.
What opportunities does your job offer?
The Chartered Accountants qualification is known for both its quality and professionalism in most parts of the world – this in itself can create opportunities to both work and travel in countries around the globe.
What skills, training, education or past experiences helped you secure your job?
Getting an accounting degree was obviously one of the most important factors in getting my initial job as an accountant. Also, having worked in an accounting firm, even if it was just part time, before graduating, gave me a huge advantage over my peers when it was time to look for a graduate role. Having great communication skills is also a big plus in the accounting industry.
What advice do you have for anyone wanting to work in the accounting sector/industry?
Focus on getting some good grades at university, but do remember that grades are not everything. When we look for accounting graduates, we also want to make sure that you have great communications skills. In our industry, we are working with business owners/people all the time, so it is important that you are able to communicate effectively.