Alex Buckley

Alex Buckley

Monash University
Alex studied Bachelor of Commerce & Bachelor of Aerospace Engineering at Monash University

What's your job about?

Pitcher Partners’ Risk Services division provides integrated internal audit services using a “risk principles” based approach. As an analyst I am responsible for conducting internal audit scoping, fieldwork and reporting for a variety of client organisations including local government, public sector agencies and private companies.

The beginning of each engagement sees me drafting and confirming a scope for each internal audit whereby we will determine what aspects of a business process we will assess.

During fieldwork I will perform site visits, conduct interviews with client staff and perform analysis of procedural documents to determine exactly how a process occurs and what could potentially go wrong. From there I will be involved in the drafting of a report that includes the summary of our observed findings and the provision of recommendation for improvements or to reduce risk exposure.

Some of the internal audits we undertake include assessments of standard processes like payroll, revenue management, accounts receivable, procurement and contract management. However, we also undertake more bespoke audits including assessments of equipment management, leisure centre operations, volunteer management, inventory management, water carter management, tree management, and even forensic investigations of fraud and corruption. As such you become a bit of a “jack of all trades”.

What's your background?

I finished school in 2008 and studied a Bachelor of Commerce at Monash University before deciding I wanted to study engineering. I decided on Aerospace Engineering solely because I liked the sound of it and thoroughly enjoyed the variety of concepts and subjects on offer.

7 years of university study had the additional benefit of allowing me plenty of time to do the things I enjoyed, and one of those was surf lifesaving. I was able to create strong friendships and networks on patrol at two lifesaving clubs and also gained experience in organisation management with my involvement on the club committees. Even while taking up a full-time position I have been able to continue my involvement in lifesaving.

When it came to trying to determine what I wanted to do for a career I was torn as I didn’t see myself as being a ‘traditional” accountant or a “traditional” engineer. Thinking about what I enjoyed doing, surf lifesaving, I realised that the skills I learnt there (i.e. risk management) could be useful in my career. Not knowing what I was looking for I started googling “risk management” jobs and came across Pitcher Partners Risk Services. And while not specifically a “risk management” role, the description of the position and work undertaken by the division immediately appealed to me. I would never have found this role without thinking about how I could utilise my extracurricular passions in my career.

Could someone with a different background do your job?

The concepts and processes that the Risk Services team encounter are so broad and varied that we rely on the diversity of our team to provide the best possible service to our clients. Our team is made up of people with commerce degrees, engineering degrees, law degrees, IT and computer science degrees, economics degrees and arts degrees. Some of our team have previously worked in the industry, some have volunteer experience and some are straight out of university.

The skills and characteristics useful in this job include being inquisitive, curious, agile in thinking and having an eye for detail whilst maintaining a view of the big picture of the issues facing a business.

What's the coolest thing about your job?

My role allows me to be exposed to so many types of organisations and so many critical business processes allowing me to begin developing a thorough understanding of how businesses are run.

The site visits can be a lot of fun and for me have included checking out golf courses, swimming pools, parks, forests, warehouses and museums. There is also plenty of opportunity for travel around Victoria and interstate if required.

Life at Pitcher Partners is pretty good too with plenty of firm functions, morning tea every day and some incredible people to meet.

What are the limitations of your job?

There is a lot of responsibility put upon you if you can handle it. The work can be challenging but you will still have your weekends and go home on time most nights. While there may be some tough days and tough jobs, the majority of limitations are entirely defined by your attitude.

The work itself is limited by the scope of the work as agreed to with the client and as such the process to develop a suitable scope is often the most challenging component of the job.

I don’t feel limited at all working in my role at Pitcher Partners. There is a strong, defined career progression with the flexibility to internally transfer between divisions, plenty of opportunities for personal development and a healthy, supportive culture.

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

  • “Get stuck in”. That’s actually what someone said to me on my first day of uni. The rewards were always great whenever I really got 'stuck in' to anything, be it work or studies.
  • Take every opportunity to learn. I love learning new things, whatever they are. It’s allowed me to constantly develop my knowledge, improve my skills and has provided me so many opportunities. Even the random knowledge I have gathered has helped me in networking and developing strong friendships.
  • “Confidence and Hydration” - Some wise words from a great lifesaving club friend of mine. Back yourself, stay hydrated and things usually work out well.