Updating Results

Hydro Tasmania

  • 1,000 - 50,000 employees

Joshua Cunningham

Set yourself up as early as possible for your future. Take opportunities as they present themselves, make connections with people in your field, apply early and often for career starting positions.

What's your job about?

Hydro Tasmania is Australia’s largest renewable energy producer, supplying/trading to wholesale consumers in the National Electricity Market, retail selling of electricity through our subsidiary Momentum Energy in Melbourne, and providing worldwide leading expertise on renewable energy systems through our consulting branch Entura.

My areas of responsibility are a mix of financial and management accounting duties, along with various statutory requirements. Some key areas I have been exposed to include journal processing, financial statement preparation, ratio analysis/certification, settlements and accounts receivable functions, and various account reconciliation procedures.

A typical day will start with business-as-usual tasks up until mid-morning, which may continue well into the afternoon if this day was during a month end (lots of tasks to achieve on those days). Mid-morning to afternoon will typically be progressive team-based tasks that contribute to a larger goal (e.g. EOFY reporting, audit queries, quarterly surveys or analysis, etc.) and contributing to any meetings you may have pencilled in for certain days. Most days will have at least one ad-hoc request, extension of current work, and/or learning opportunity which gives you a little or a lot of variety on different days depending on who throws what at you!

What's your background?

I grew up initially in the north of Tassie then moved to Hobart when I was 8 and have been here ever since.

My most important life stages would be the change into high school, my introduction to accounting in grade 12 (the plan was to study engineering at uni until then - big change!), getting into basketball only 4 years ago which has led me to play against the best teams around the state in recent years, graduating from university was definitely a big one as none of my immediate family have university qualifications, and of course getting into Hydro’s grad program was pretty significant!

I was initially having a gap year after graduating in 2018 and had the aim of setting myself up early for the next year by applying for graduate positions in my field as they became advertised. I applied for Hydro’s graduate program (which only takes on accounting grads every second year) and was fortunate enough to get through each stage until being offered a position, which had the option to come on board early in June 2019 compared to the majority of grads who get to start in February each year. I said yes to start early as I was already working 4 days a week casually elsewhere and kind of got bored, so I was keen for a change and to start my professional career. I’ve been in my current position for just over a year and a half so far.

Could someone with a different background do your job?

No. Accounting has a bunch of specific rules/treatments for the business-as-usual tasks and end of year financial reports we work on that comes from years of studying this field. Someone with a finance background would likely be ok, but an engineer or a lawyer wouldn’t for example. However, if you were proficient in excel, a logical thinker, had a reasonable level of financial background and had a serious ambition to learn then it wouldn’t necessarily stop you from doing this kind of job.

What's the coolest thing about your job?

The thing I love most about my job is the autonomy and trust from those around me. Once you learn the processes of the business, as a grad you’re encouraged to speak up and say ‘hey, why don’t we try doing this’ to create efficiencies and make working better for everyone. In my time so far I’ve made several changes to the way things are done for the better, something my manager says often is it’s important to have fresh eyes on things we do – it’s really empowering to know that your ideas have meaning as a graduate.

What are the limitations of your job?

Fortunately, my area of work at Hydro typically doesn’t require overtime or physical demand as some field-based roles like engineering might.

You do gain a significant amount of responsibility fairly quickly in finance, from managing month-end processes to being required to produce accurate financial statements for stakeholders come the EOFY – all this while learning new things on the go.

The biggest limitation is that you are mostly bound to the finance team (although you are exposed to different areas within finance) and you don’t get the broader exposure of vastly different business unit rotations like that of an analyst or engineering grad.

3 pieces of advice for yourself when you were a student...

  • Make the most of what you do with your free time, the better you can manage this the easier the transition to a working life becomes;
  • Set yourself up as early as possible for your future. Take opportunities as they present themselves, make connections with people in your field, apply early and often for career starting positions;
  • Immerse yourself in the world around you. The more experiences you have in life will open so many more doors to where you might end up!