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University of Adelaide
Undergraduate Accountant, Hood Sweeney
Scott is studying Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting & Finance) at the University of Adelaide, 2019 graduate
What's your job about?
Hood Sweeney offers a wide range of professional services to both individuals and businesses, including accounting services which is my main responsibility. More specifically, I reconcile the bank transactions for businesses and assist managers in the advisory side through management reporting. Basically, I do the background work that produces the income and expense figures, which are later displayed in financial statements. I also complete other tasks like payroll and setting up the back-end of Point of Sale systems.
Since starting at Hood Sweeney, I have seen my responsibilities expand. I now provide further analysis into management reports by analysing the key growth areas and suggesting possible improvements. Entering budgets and comparing these against monthly figures has helped me develop my analytical skills and my confidence. My role has developed past simply reporting and reconciling, to one where I am able to advise and offer my own insights.
What's your background?
I spent the first 10 years of my life living in South Africa where I was lucky to experience an exciting and diverse childhood. My initial interest in accounting and business was formed in year 11, where we were able to create our own businesses and operate for a week. My group sold freshly made smoothies and it was interesting to calculate break-even points, select a target market and work towards achieving a profit.
One of the things I love most about Adelaide is all the small cafes and restaurants you can find. The diversity of small businesses and the way they are able to differentiate themselves from the competition has always interested me. This is one of the main reasons I got excited when I saw an undergraduate accounting role being advertised in the Food, Wine and Hospitality Team at Hood Sweeney. Since joining the team, it has been a privilege to see the inner workings of the business and see how managers provide new insights that help owners grow their business.
Could someone with a different background do your job?
No. Accounting requires a knowledge that cannot be displayed through pattern recognition or basic analytical skills. Although accountants must be problem solvers, they must use this in combination with applied theory. Having knowledge of current market and economic conditions is also important as these help with the advisory side of the services offered. In order to be successful in this position, you must be able to recognise areas for improvement, be thorough in analysis with a high attention to detail and also be a proficient problem-solver.
What's the coolest thing about your job?
One of the best aspects of the professional services industry is getting to see a more in-depth view of business operations and help clients grow. Many people think accounting is simply preparing a tax return and moving on, but we actually maintain communication with clients and develop relationships that last for years. Using the knowledge you have to help provide support and guidance to clients is very rewarding.
I am also very lucky to work in an office where collaboration is encouraged. The team culture at Hood Sweeney is what truly makes it unique, and it is evident in the way people conduct their work and interact at the multitude of social events. Whether you are completing small jobs or helping a manager, there is always a high level of support and commitment to helping you grow.
What are the limitations of your job?
The main concern someone should contemplate before going into this line of work is how much effort they are willing to put in. We provide services to clients, so it is important that we meet deadlines and high standards. There are times in the year where deadline pressure can be high, meaning you will sometimes need to work longer hours. The ability to stay organised is also extremely important, otherwise you will fall behind and the stress will continue to build. This isn’t the type of job where you can coast through to the end of the day. The work completed requires problem solving and you will need to think and contemplate different ideas every day.
3 pieces of advice for yourself when you were a student...
- The most important thing to remember when you’re a student is that you have a life outside of lectures and tutorials. It is extremely important to keep socialising and developing relationships. Not only will this reduce your stress levels and provide a break from your busy schedule, but it will also help in your career. Networking and developing strong communications skills is extremely important in this line of work, so strengthen these whenever you can.
- In order to develop your career it is extremely important to get real life experience. Take any opportunity you can to work over summer or in an internship program. This will make you more appealing to future employers and will also help you know if this is the career you want to pursue.
- The final bit of advice is to do what you enjoy. It is extremely important to pursue a career that will give you satisfaction and growth. There will always be slow days, but if you aren’t satisfied then you’ll burn out. Gain experience, go to functions and ask questions to experienced individuals. This will give you an idea of whether it’s what you really want to do.