Can you tell us about your education and any experience abroad?
I grew up in Cronulla, NSW and attended Our Lady of Mercy College, Burraneer and De La Salle Catholic College, Cronulla. After finishing my final semester of university I travelled around Europe for two months before returning to start my graduate position at McGrathNicol.
How did you get to your current job position?
I received an offer for my graduate position at McGrathNicol after successfully completing a four-week vacation program in the Christmas break of 2017–18. I started in my graduate role in October 2018.
How did you choose your specialisation? Were you weighing up any other alternatives before choosing this specialisation?
I chose my specialisation through studying business law at university. While I enjoy working analytically, I knew I didn’t want to work in a typical accounting role, such as in audit or tax. UNSW offer insolvency law as a subject, which I completed and thoroughly enjoyed, and this prompted me to look into a career in restructuring. I didn’t have a set career plan throughout university, however as a finance student I also considered a career in financial advising.
What was your interview process like? What kind of questions were you asked?
After completing the initial online application, cognitive testing and a video interview, I attended an information and networking evening at the McGrathNicol office in Sydney. As a final step, I attended a formal behavioural interview with a partner and HR team member.
The questions included: specifics around my CV and what I had learned from my experience in previous job roles; my personal interests; and why I wanted to pursue a career in restructuring.
What does your employer do?
McGrathNicol is a specialist advisory and restructuring firm. McGrathNicol Advisory specialises in Forensic, Governance, Risk & Compliance, Strategy & Business Improvement, Technology and Transactions. McGrathNicol Restructuring are experts in Special Situations, Turnaround and Insolvency.
What are your areas of responsibility?
As a graduate accountant, I am assigned a diverse range of tasks across both advisory and restructuring services to ensure I gain exposure to the variety of work completed by the firm. I have been given a large degree of responsibility to work on different aspects of these jobs, with the support of a counselling manager to help me learn and develop skills through on-the-job experience.
Can you describe a typical work day?
I am currently working in the Forensic team, assisting with an investigation of fraud on behalf of a client. A typical day in this role involves using programs to search through and find relevant data [such as] emails, documents or MYOB data. I then collect this data in Excel for analysis. I will typically record my findings in a file note to present and discuss with senior management in the team.
What are the career prospects with your job? Where could you or others in your position go from here?
There is a clear progression pathway at McGrathNicol. After developing my skill set and experiencing a range of projects, I hope to progress to a management role. The next step for me is senior accountant and I am working towards completing the Chartered Accountants (CA) Program.
McGrathNicol offer many opportunities to graduates who are keen to progress, including the ability to work on different types of engagements all across Australia.
Could someone with a different background do your job?
McGrathNicol is open to various business and commerce backgrounds. I didn’t complete an accounting major, however McGrathNicol are supporting my completion of CA Foundations to gain the necessary prerequisites to commence the CA Program. A lot of the experience we gain is on the job, so not having an accounting background should not prevent you from building a successful career in restructuring.
What would your career be if you weren’t doing what you’re doing now?
I didn’t have a set career path in mind while at university and I completed a commerce degree confident that it would provide me with a wide range of career opportunities. Attending careers fairs pointed me in the direction of a career in restructuring and I have no regrets.
What do you love the most about your job? Which kind of task do you enjoy?
I love that in my job I am provided a wide variety of tasks that involve clients from all areas of business. The diversity of work keeps me interested and means I am constantly learning. In the three months I have worked with McGrathNicol I have already worked within restructuring, advisory and forensics! I love working within the Forensic team and assisting in the investigation process; it is very interesting and rewarding.
What’s the biggest limitation of your job?
There are no real limitations to my job; everyone is willing to help and people are very understanding. Senior staff spend time to provide me with detailed instructions and assistance on jobs. I also feel supported in my studies, as the firm offers paid study and exam leave as well as a generous support package.
Do you bear a lot of responsibility? Do you have to work on weekends? Are the stress levels high?
I bear a reasonable amount of responsibility. We are expected to get the work done to a high standard and in a timely manner. However, my counselling manager and wider team are always there to support me, so I have never felt the pressure that normally comes with starting a new job.
When we are appointed to a large client or important deadlines are approaching, the workload can increase and we sometimes have to stay back late or come in early but when the work is interesting and you love your job, putting in the extra work isn’t a problem! We are often rewarded for this additional effort by having a celebratory lunch at the end of the project. I understand McGrathNicol also has a generous annual bonus program which graduates are a part of.
Which three pieces of advice would you give to a current university student?