Stuart Ball McGrathNicol graduate
A day in the life of…

Senior Accountant at McGrathNicol

Stuart Ball graduated with a Bachelor of Finance (International) and Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting) from the University of Adelaide in 2016 and is now a Senior Accountant at McGrathNicol’s Melbourne office.

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

6:00 am – 8.30 am

When my alarm goes off, I get up, make a coffee, eat breakfast, go to the gym and make my way in to the office.

8:35 am

The first thing I do when I get into the office is go to the kitchen to put my lunch in the fridge, fill up a jug of water to keep at my desk throughout the day and perhaps make another coffee with the pod machine.  There are usually a few people in the kitchen so we usually end up having a chat about what we did last night or work that’s coming up.

8:45 am

After I sit down at my desk I’ll turn my laptop on and check my emails.  I won’t read or even open most of my emails at this time, I am simply scanning for anything that requires urgent attention.  Once I’ve seen what’s important I’ll write a list of what tasks I need to get done that day.  I’ll split these tasks into large and small jobs and draft out an order of priority.

9:10 am

I recently finished a four month secondment at a large corporate where I was building models to value projects.  My manager while I was there has asked me to send them the spreadsheet I made that tracks all the projects I was working on.  I go back into my client files, find the tracker and email it to them.

9:30 am

I find I have the most energy around mid-morning so I try to do the majority of my most intensive work in this period.  Today my biggest task is calculating entitlements for the employees of a company we have recently been appointed over.  This is an important task that requires me to read the Fair Work Act and then build a model in Excel that will accurately calculate entitlements for each of the employees in order to ensure they are getting exactly what they are entitled to.  Before I start I will have a quick think of the most efficient way to handle the task and how long I expect it to take.  Noting that I expect it to take three to four hours, I’ll turn off my email notifications and switch my online status to “Busy” to avoid any distractions. I’ll make sure I keep my phone handy so I’m still contactable if something else that is urgent comes up.

11:30 am

Usually after a couple hours of work I find myself starting to feel that I need a break.  Most people in the office will be in the same position at around this time so we’ll go to the kitchen for a quick chat and grab something to eat – there is always a full biscuit tin and often we get the left over catering from morning client functions.  If none of that appeals, there is always the vending machine!

11:40 am

I quickly check my emails to make sure nothing urgent has come up since I last checked them at 9 o’clock.  There is another email from the manager I reported into on secondment so I attend to that, then go back to the task I was working on earlier and send it to my manager for review.

1:30 pm

I have plans to meet up with a client for coffee later in the afternoon so I have a quick lunch in the office kitchen.  Most people who aren’t out to lunch will plan to eat around this time too so we have a quiz competition from the newspaper’s quiz page and then turn on Foxtel as we eat.

2:00 pm

After getting back to my desk I work through my emails.  I’ll respond to event invitations first, then reply to other emails and finally, file away all the emails that I’ve successfully dealt with that day.

2:30 pm

Now that I’ve finished up the major task from this morning I’ll go through and start working through the smaller tasks on my list.  Today I have a few emails to draft up for clients as well as some calls I need to make to creditors.  After this I raise a payment to the valuers for the valuation we received for the company’s assets.  Finally, I book flights for our interstate training coming up next week.

3:30 pm

I’ve organised to catch up with some of the people I was working with while I was out on secondment.  We grab a coffee and have a chat about what projects we’re now all working on.  It sounds like there could be some more work for the client coming up so I make a mental note to mention it to a Partner when I return to the office to ensure it’s followed up on.

4:00 pm

I have been reviewing insurance policies for a new project that we are working on.  My manager and I have a few questions that we need to ask our insurance broker before we purchase the policies so I have set up a call for us in a meeting room.  My manager starts the discussion and then I take over to go through the details of each policy.  After we finish the call, we compare notes and make a decision on which policies we will purchase.

4.55 pm

As I’m walking back to my desk, I catch one of the Partners I worked with on secondment.  He’s headed out to a client function but we agree to catch up in the morning to go over what may come out of my earlier coffee catch up.  I send a calendar invite when I get back to my desk to block out some time first thing in the morning. 

5:00 pm

Following the final decision on the insurance cover, I send an email to the Partner in charge of the project outlining which policies we have chosen and why.  This email is important as they will be the one to give final approval to any decisions made on the project.

5:20 pm

I have completed everything that I needed to do for my projects today so I continue on with a research task that I have been working on for one of the Partners.  We do a lot of work with large corporates so they have asked me to prepare a review of the market which one of our clients operates in.  I have already drafted up a layout for the presentation in PowerPoint with all the information that I will need including who the main competitors are, whether there has been any recent M&A activity, as well as what new products they have recently announced.  I start answering these questions using data from the internet, news articles as well as S&P Capital IQ (a global financial intelligence provider).  I then create a summary of my research by preparing a SWOT analysis, outlining the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats relevant to our client.  I will review my work tomorrow before handing it to the Partner.

6:30 pm

My work for the day is done so I leave for the evening.  Some nights we have office drinks or a client event to attend so I would make my way there but tonight I’ll be going straight home.

7:00 pm

Once I’m home I’ll switch on the TV, relax and have dinner.  Having this time to sit down after work is a good way to unwind after a long day.

8:00 pm

If I haven’t got any plans for the night I’ll fit some Chartered Accountants study in after dinner.  I try to do around an hour each night so that I have some more free time to relax on the weekends.

9:15 pm

My girlfriend has just started a new job so we go out for ice-cream to celebrate.  It’s a warm night so we go for a walk afterwards before returning home.

10:30 pm

Go to bed