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University of Wollongong
Accounts Receivable Administration Support
Mia studied Bachelor of Commerce major in Finance and Accounting at University of Wollongong
What's your job about?
Ecolab is a chemical manufacturer who offers cleaning and sanitising solutions with a focus on safety and reducing, not only the company’s environmental impact but also the environmental impact of its customers.
My responsibility as Accounts Receivable (AR) Administration Support is to look after customer accounts, ensure their questions are answered in a timely manner and they are paying within the agreed timeframe.
In AR, my day usually consists of looking through my emails and replying to customer queries, and then checking the ATB. The ATB is a list of customers who haven’t paid in the agreed timeframe. I will call the overdue customers and enquire about the issues they may be having in paying us in a timely manner. My job requires me to think quickly, to use the ERP programs efficiently and to be prepared to answer questions in real time over the phone.
When I was an intern, my jobs were less specific. We had projects given to us from a range of divisions, to give us a taste of each department.
What's your background?
I grew up in Sydney’s Northern Beaches in the suburb of Mona Vale and lived there until I was 15 years old. My parents then bought an 85-acre farm on the South Coast at Jervis Bay. I transferred to Nowra High School to complete my HSC and spent most of my time in the holiday town of Huskisson.
Attending Pittwater High School was one of the most important stages in my life. It was here I gained the core of my education and made a group of lifelong friends. I moved to England for a few months after that as we had inherited a house from a second aunt and used the house as a base to travel Europe. It was during this stage I learnt the most about culture, history and adventure. The move to Nowra High School was also a big stage for me. I had to quickly learn to make new friends and adapt to new situations.
My university experience allowed me to gain a wealth of new knowledge with a completely different focus than in high school. I made many friends and engaged in a whole range of group activities. The University of Wollongong was the stage in my life when I truly developed into a proper adult. I moved out of home and learnt very quickly to cook, clean, pay rent and do all the other responsible ‘adult’ things.
I got my current job in AR through Ecolab’s internship role. I applied to a range of companies for internships and when I got the invitation from Ecolab, I couldn’t say no. The company had an interesting appeal and met my values of being environmentally conscious.
Could someone with a different background do your job?
Yes. I think it would be reasonable to say that with enough training, anybody could take on the role I am in. This isn’t to say the job is a walk in the park, but the skills lend itself to anyone who is willing to put in their full effort and have the patience to deal with the problems at hand.
The most important thing about my job is to have a good relationship with the customer. This means patience, a clear but polite phone presence and being able to problem solve. I get different queries every day at work and I not only have to be good at figuring out the appropriate solution but also at asking questions myself.
What's the coolest thing about your job?
The most enjoyable thing about my job is solving a big question. Occasionally I will come across a customer who has a particularly tricky situation or who has not paid for a long time for some reason. To be able to figure this out, get on top of the issue and receive the payment is a very satisfying feeling. I enjoy helping people the most and to get a situation where everyone is happy feels like a real win.
What are the limitations of your job?
The biggest limitation of my job is the lack of knowledge in the field. Because I am fairly new in the AR division, I sometimes feel like I am asking too many questions or feel defeated if a customer becomes impatient with me. Even though every job takes time to learn, the fast learning curve can often feel like a limitation.
3 pieces of advice for yourself when you were a student…
If I had to go back in time and meet myself as a student, I would probably tell me not to be so hard on myself, don’t stress about the marks as much and instead focus on the opportunities life presents. You will only regret the things you don’t do. I’d tell my younger self to work as hard as they can towards their passions, as the more work you put in, the more opportunity you will have.