Charlotte Woodhams McGrathNicol
A day in the life of…

Senior Accountant at McGrathNicol

Charlotte Woodhams graduated with a Bachelor of Laws with Honours and Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting) from University of Queensland in 2016, and is now an Accountant at McGrathNicol’s Brisbane office.

While no two days are the same at McGrathNicol, the below is an example of a typical day based in the office.

6.30 AM

I wake up and start my day by jumping in the shower and getting ready for the day ahead.  I grab some breakfast while watching Sunrise to catch up with what’s going on in the world.

7.45 AM

I catch the bus to work so I walk a short way to the bus stop and spend my trip catching up on social media while listening to music.  

8.15–8.30 AM

This is the time I usually get into the office.  I start my day by reviewing my emails for any high priority issues that may have arisen overnight.  I then begin to map out my day by rolling over any unfinished tasks on my to-do list and amend their priority.  I had to get used to the fact my to-do list never ends when I started working here. The urgency and priority of tasks constantly changes in Insolvency, which is a unique aspect of what we do and I wouldn’t have it any other way – it keeps things exciting!  I also organise for my flights and accommodation to be booked for my upcoming trip to Sydney for training.

9.00 AM

This morning I have a team meeting to discuss the progress of a large engagement.  This will include colleagues from all different levels, ranging from the partner on the engagement through to my peers at accountant level.

We provide updates on tasks in progress and discuss ways to tackle any issues going forward.  We also allocate new tasks that require completion throughout the team. While a specific task may have been allocated to me, anyone in the team (or outside the team) are happy to assist with any issues that may arise.

9.30 AM

I take five minutes to reshuffle my to-do list to include some new tasks I’ve been allocated and plan out my day.

9.35 AM

The projects I have worked on since starting at McGrathNicol have mainly been trading engagements – this means we’re actively running the entities we have been appointed over, often alongside the existing senior management teams and boards.  Today I will be processing payments to suppliers, reconciling the bank accounts and receipting any debtor payments received. I will also draft emails to be sent to the receivers, who have been appointed over the entity, in order to reconcile debtor payments and to discuss the calculations of the division of payroll tax and insurance premiums.

10.45 AM

After a busy morning, I take a short break and fix myself a coffee with a snack from the kitchen.  I usually bump into some fellow colleagues for a quick chat or have a look at the front page articles of the newspaper.

11.00 AM

I now get stuck into updating the Statement of Position, which will forecast the trading position of the engagement.  This will be completed in a detailed excel spreadsheet, with a tab that applies to each line of the Statement of Position.  The statement will include all future payments that will need to be made, such as supplier payments, the estimation of GST payments/refunds, employee entitlements, insurance costs and legal fees to name a few.

This statement will incorporate various assumptions for future income received by way of estimating, conservatively, the percentage of bad debts that are uncollectible and will also incorporate provisions for any hidden costs that may arise.  It’s an important piece of work that will go straight to the partner on the job so I’m glad I made myself a coffee earlier to help me stay focused.

12.00 PM

We regularly have internal ‘lunch and learn’ sessions to ensure we are up to date on the latest law reform changes and also to improve our technical and soft skills in various areas. However, there is no session running today so instead I’m catching up for lunch with a friend I studied with at uni.  We work in the same industry, however she works from the legal perspective and her firm and McGrathNicol have worked together on some engagements in the past. It is important to find the time to maintain and build your network of contacts, which is strongly encouraged by McGrathNicol, and often this involves having lunch or a coffee with my contacts.  

1.00 PM

At 2.00 pm today, we are holding our second creditors meeting for an engagement I have been working on solidly for the past few months, after obtaining an extension to the convening period, which determines when the meeting has to be held by.  I’m now busy finalising the preparation for the meeting. This includes entering any last minute proof of debts received, which state amounts owed by the company we are appointed over to creditors, ensuring our attendance registers are printed and any documents and resources required at the meeting are filed and easily accessible.

1.45 PM

The meeting is going to be held at the Christie Conference Centre in Brisbane, which is just around the corner from our offices in the CBD.  There are four of us attending, including a partner, so we all walk down together. On the way we ask each other a couple of questions to clarify some last minute information but we have to be very careful what we say in public due to the sensitive nature of our work.

2.00 PM

This engagement is a crane and haulage business and included a period where McGrathNicol was in control of the ongoing trading of the company, which meant I was working out on the client site at Rocklea (just south of Brisbane CBD) for a few weeks.  This required me to liaise with employees of the company, suppliers and creditors to ensure the business could continue smoothly so I’m fairly well across the operations of the business at this point, as well as all the stakeholders involved.

Part of my role out on site was to review and have purchase orders authorised and negotiate ongoing supplier terms, which can be a challenge if the supplier is owed pre-appointment amounts and their services are crucial to the ongoing trading of the company.  My role at this meeting is to ensure all attendees have signed the attendance register and understand how they are able to vote on resolutions put to the meeting, which determine the future of the company.

3.30 PM

The creditors meeting went to plan and I’m now back at the office.   Before getting stuck into the next task of the day, I make myself another caffeine hit to increase the afternoon’s productivity!

3.42 PM

There are various statutory lodgements required after a second creditors meeting has been held and I spend the afternoon preparing these.  This includes drafting the minutes of the meeting for review by a manager and a partner prior to lodgement and various notifications via statutory forms to ASIC and the ATO.

6.00 PM

After ensuring all of my high priority tasks have been completed, I leave the office for the day.  Back on the bus.

7.00 PM

While there are often networking events on after work with various law firms, Chartered Accountants ANZ or ARITA (the Insolvency professional body), to name a few; tonight, I am hitting the tennis courts to play weekly fixtures at the University of Queensland (my alma mater).  This clears my head from the day and is a good way to get some exercise and socialise. On a standard weeknight I would try to squeeze an hour or two of CA study, but luckily for me, I’ve finished my last module and am waiting for the next one to start so I’m taking advantage of the free time while it lasts.  

8.15 PM

Time to grab a light dinner and catch up on some TV.  I do a quick review of my emails to know what to expect the next day.

10.30 PM

I have a quick shower and watch a bit more TV in bed before going to sleep.