“My role in the business is as an Accountant and Business Advisor to NFPs and Charities. I help them to run more efficiently which helps them to be more successful in getting in funding. The big challenge for charities is to prove that they are doing a good job and worth investing in and that is where I can help. Having practical experience in the charity sector helps me to understand the specific challenges they face. I believe that for a charity to win the hearts and minds of donors, it must build on trust and transparency, which are revealed through their financial records and reporting.”
She arrived in Australia in early 2017 from Dublin. Here’s how she stayed true to herself and focused on building a strong network of fabulous people in Perth, a city where she didn’t know anyone and nobody knew her.
Before moving to Australia:
I lived in Dublin, Ireland and I worked as an Accountant working for large organisations such as JP Morgan and Investec. My most recent job was working as an Accountant in a busy dealing room. I loved both my job and the organisation but when I came back from maternity leave, I felt it was time for a change. After many discussions, myself and my husband decided to move to Australia. We arrived here at the end of April 2017 with our 2 year old daughter and our dog. I have to admit that we didn’t realise how big a move it was until we arrived. We had so much going on before we left especially sorting our dog’s travel arrangements! It was harder to organise his transport and visa than our own!
My initial plan for Perth was that I was going to take some time out and to do some additional study. Since I arrived I have completed a Cert IV in Bookkeeping and a Diploma in Business Governance. I am also half way through a Postgrad in Fraud and Financial Crime. My husband and I set up our business a few months after arriving and I really embraced it. I threw myself into upskilling in marketing, networking and establishing my personal brand. I have met so many fantastic people and I am really enjoying the accounting and business advisor work I am doing.
What have I found the most difficult:
Similar to a lot of people I have met over the past few months, I had to work hard on overcoming my nerves and self doubt and putting myself out there to network and to sell myself and my business idea. I also underestimated the amount of work I would have to do outside of my day job such as admin, marketing, selling etc!
What worked for me/Advice to another starting out:
My priority when I started working for myself was to build a strong support network around me. I have met so many talented people who are accountants, financial planners, financial analysts along with those who are skilled in marketing, social media, personal branding, IT etc. This has been beneficial for support and skills/knowledge sharing. I feel having a good team and support network around you helps with your success.
I believe you should look to others in terms of a role model or what you can learn from them point of view and avoid direct comparisons. Everyone is on their own journey and you can’t see their hard work or struggles through their social media feeds. Comparing yourself to others will just make you more hard on yourself. Inspiration not comparison!
What I have learned:
Resilience – we are all capable of so much more than we think we are. There is the opportunity to learn from everything. Determination is half the battle. If I put myself forward for something and it doesn’t work out, I view it as a trial and consider what I can change for the next time.
Believe in yourself – you can’t expect others to believe in you if you don’t believe in yourself. Several times over the past few months I considered whether I was crazy to embark on this road – A new country and a new Business at the same time! Nothing like having a challenge in life to keep you motivated!
Collaboration – we are not always in competition with each other. Strategic partnerships and collaboration can benefit both parties. I actively promote, refer and support other business owners that I have met. We can learn from each other.
Control – we can’t control everything! This was probably the harshest lesson that I learned in the past few months. Even though my previous job in Ireland was in a dynamic and frantic paced dealing room environment, I still felt a sense of security. I had a salary, I had a great boss and worked with a great team of guys and despite the frantic pace of work, there were a lot of constants in my job. Being a business owner is the complete opposite. Also, on top of studying, building a business and settling into a new country, my dad became seriously ill out of the blue. I found it very difficult at the time mainly due to the shock of it and that despite all my planning and organising, every aspect of my life seemed to be chaotic and completely unpredictable.
What am I most proud of:
I am really proud of what I have achieved since I arrived in Australia 10 months ago. I won a national award for a financial tool that I designed for Treasurers of charities and I am currently on a number of charity boards here in Perth as Treasurer. I have built a strong business network and have received great feedback on my work. I feel particularly proud of my personal development since I arrived. I have overcome my nerves and shyness and pushed myself out of my comfort zone and accepted the challenges head on.
What motivates me:
I am ambitious and I love setting goals for myself and the feeling you get when you are smashing them! I enjoy learning and for me, my career needs to be a rewarding one in terms of being a challenge. I especially enjoy working with the NFP and charity sector. The people I work with are so passionate about what they do, so dedicated and you feel inspired by them and the great work they do.
As part of my ongoing marketing development, I am determined to improve on Instagram! It is the final social media hurdle for me! Opportuna is participating in an Expo in the city of Joondalup in March. We are hosting a floor space, presenting a workshop and I am also the Treasurer for the entire event so I am pretty busy with it. My plan is to expand on my Finance and Business Governance workshops and to launch webinars and online learning which I have already started working on.
On a personal level, we are off to Bali for a holiday at the end of March which I am a very excited about! Family time with our daughter is one of our main priorities too and we are looking forward to my sister-in-law and my two nieces visiting us in July!