What's your job about?
Downer’s Utilities business has three operational lines of business: Power, Gas & Communications, Renewables & Power Systems and Water Services. Throughout my graduate program I will get the opportunity to work in all three of these lines of business. In my current rotation I report to the Senior Finance Manager of Renewables and Power Systems. I conduct a lot of cash flow analysis, cost analysis, EBIT analysis and I spend a lot of time supporting the project teams in reviewing their project management reports and their EBIT and cash forecasts. I engage with the functional streams of the business daily, e.g. I work with Commercial to manage our bank guarantees, HR to manage the allocation of employee costs and the Expense Management team to manage employees credit card expenses.
What's your background?
I was born in Wollongong, studied in Wollongong and am now a Wollongong commuter with a North Ryde based office. I maintained a casual job whilst completing my studies, working in both retail and hospitality from the age of 15 up until the day that I was offered a full-time position at Downer. In my second last year of university I studied abroad for 6 months at the University of Colorado, Boulder in the United States. I flew to Colorado, knowing no one when I arrived and during those 6 months I developed a number of relationships with people from all over the world. Relationships that I have continued to maintain to this day, and I have been lucky enough to have had four friends from Colorado visit me in Australia since. When I saw Downer’s advertisement for a Finance Graduate I was intrigued. I hadn’t considered applying for an engineering and construction company, but once I researched and found that Downer’s vision was ‘Relationships creating success’ I was sold. The assessment centre that I attended at Downer was by far the most challenging but easily the most enjoyable. The employees who participated were so inspiring and passionate about their company that by the end of the day I could not wait to work for Downer.
Could someone with a different background do your job?
No, I think anyone who would want to do my job would still need to have completed introductory accounting courses to gain a basic understanding of what the balance sheet and the P&L is, how debits and credits work, how a budget is structured, etc. From this I think a background in either accounting, finance or economics is suitable. Although, at Downer we are finance business partners who live by relationships creating success and I think that in order to build such successful relationships you need to be personable.
What's the coolest thing about your job?
Downer really emphasises the fact that Finance isn’t just about numbers. I love sitting in on the monthly project management report reviews and learning about the events that have occurred on a project, learning what a ‘substation’ and a ‘transformer’ is. I love having the opportunity to go out on site and see for myself what it is that we do and understand how it all comes together. After 8 months of working at Downer I was also asked to organise the Utilities Business Conference and was given the opportunity to network with the top 100 employees in our 3,800-employee large business.
What are the limitations of your job?
Downer is a very flexible workplace and I am given a lot of flexibility, however in the finance team we go through a month end process of finalising actuals and future month forecasts, which can require long and demanding hours in order to meet corporate deadlines. Having said this, I have never worked late in the office without members of my team, it is always a team effort to meet our deadlines.
3 pieces of advice for yourself when you were a student...