Welcome to accounting, where everybody counts

Accounting jokes are an old trope, but the reality of being an accountant is very different. Three of our team members talk about why they love their job and the many ways it brings growth and enjoyment. 

Time to read: 4 mins

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"There are always opportunities to grow and step up as an accountant and a person."

Baker Tilly Staples Rodway Christchurch Business Advisory Services graduate Jerome O’Sullivan

Jerome finds work hits all the right notes

Jerome O’Sullivan, who graduated the University of Canterbury with accounting and marketing degrees, got into accounting because he’s always been interested in financial literacy and business, and how people create value. He loves the variety in his work, which has thus far spanned everything from helping farmers and forestry partnerships to hairdressers and restaurateurs.    

He's a born and bred Cantabrian who began working at Baker Tilly Staples Rodway Christchurch last year with three other accounting graduates. They were initially nervous, but the process was very welcoming, he says.

“When you’re working in an office of about 50 people like ours, you're going to find cool people with similar interests. Most of the accountants here are outgoing and sociable. We even have a netball team. It’s fun to see your workmates in a new light – seeing people who are generally quiet at the office on the netball court.”

Jerome has enjoyed the on-the-job training from managers and says some of the people who are helping them have only been accountants for a few years, which shows the rate of progression. “You do grow and evolve as a worker and a leader, and someone who can be relied on. There are always opportunities to grow and step up as an accountant and a person, even if it's just leadership within the social aspect of work life.

He also likes the hours, which enable him to go tramping and escape the city. In his downtime, he also enjoys music and is also a keen pianist. “Mid-tier accounting firms like Baker Tilly do care about you having work-life balance. I feel they know that they're not going to get the best out of you if you're working 12-hour days. If you just do your nine to five, you'll be happier and more productive, and you'll be much more valuable to the office.”

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"You can’t begin to imagine how much you learn. We have good exposure to different industries, interesting clients and diverse projects, and no two days are the same."

Baker Tilly Staples Rodway Taranaki Office General Manager Deanne Macdonald

Relishing ‘the best of both worlds’ in Taranaki

Deanne Macdonald planned her career when she was just a wee blonde child. Having grown up on a farm, she wanted to marry a farmer and continue that lifestyle.

Instead she had a succession of other roles then, with encouragement from her husband Bruce, did a part-time accounting paper at a local polytechnic, achieving an “A+” to her surprise and excitement.

They also raised their two children while she completed her accounting diploma and degree. “Getting my degree then qualifying as a chartered accountant was a really big thing,” she says. “It was something I never thought I could do, but the more I learned the more I enjoyed it and I’m forever grateful to all the people whose support allowed me to achieve those milestones.”

She began her career at a Big Four accounting firm, but a chance meeting with a director from what was then Staples Rodway Taranaki led to her joining the firm in 2000. “I came to work here and I've never left and never want to leave.”

There are many things she quickly became enamoured with: Being exposed to numerous industries early in her career, the privilege of being someone who could help people succeed in business, and the warm feeling of being trusted when clients opened up about their lives and family     

Deanne is one of those people who are universally loved – warm, enthusiastic, trustworthy and all-embracing. So when the team expanded to 50 staff and six directors in the mid-2000s, it was an easy decision to create a new position for her of Office General Manager. After 22 years with the firm, she loves her work as much as ever. 

“I've built some incredible relationships with clients. I always thought accounting wasn't about people, but as advisors we become an important part of their lives. I've also seen young grads come through and love watching their progress. You see them grow and develop and think, ‘gosh, look at where you're at now’.  

“We’ve got the best of both worlds. Our national and global network provides opportunity, expertise and reach. We’re big enough to have the benefits of the Big Four (accounting firms), but small enough to be friendly, personal and agile. The directors really care about our staff. It’s also an interesting company. You can’t begin to imagine how much you learn. It's not just doing the numbers – there's a very big ‘people’ side to it. We have good exposure to different industries, interesting clients and diverse projects, and no two days are the same.”

Click here for our New Graduates page and click here if you’re interested in our current vacancies or registering for a future role. We look forward to hearing from you!

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