I wake up early, so I have time for a cup of coffee and to get up-to-date with the news of the day. I live around 10 minutes away from the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) in Forrest, ACT and carpool with a colleague who lives nearby (yay for short commutes. I don’t even want to imagine when I would need to wake up if work wasn’t so close!).
ANAO is flexible with start and finish times, so I have negotiated my work hours with my supervisor.
I usually arrive at work at 8.00 am, log into my computer and check my emails. If I can, sometimes I sneak out for my second coffee. Starting early allows me to also finish work early. This means I have more time in the evening for myself.
It’s time for our weekly team meeting. My team is responsible for the Major Projects Report (MPR).
Given the unique and large nature of the MPR, I work in an audit team of ten people—which is quite large for the ANAO. In busy periods, the team can even grow to up to fourteen people. This gives me the opportunity to work with lots of different people and means I have lots of support around me.
After the weekly team meeting, I usually have a big list of tasks to get started on. Some tasks can be small, like setting up meetings and others more substantive. Today I’ll be focusing on finishing our upcoming fieldwork schedule and preparing some work for an upcoming parliament committee inquiry.
Time for lunch! It’s just leftovers today, but I’ll often “forget” my lunch and pop across to Café Brindabella at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Lunchtime is a prime time to catch up with my friends and fellow grads from different areas of the office.
Now it’s time for a catch up with a couple of senior managers to discuss the upcoming schedule for our fifteen-week fieldwork phase. This is where we collect the majority of evidence we need in producing the MPR.
During the fieldwork phase, our team travels across Australia to meet with different project teams, which are delivering Australia’s biggest Defence acquisitions, including the Future Submarines, Future Frigates, and F-35 Joint Strike Fighters. While the fieldwork phase is fast-paced and challenging, visiting Defence project sites and interviewing staff is really interesting. It places us in a unique position to look at individual project performance, like why a project might be falling behind project timelines, or how they are going to achieve the objective of the project.
Last week I worked on assigning staff in the MPR team to different projects and started coordinating travel and developing the budget for this phase. At this meeting, I get input from more senior members of the team and will incorporate this into their review schedule.
Mid-afternoon is a great time for me to pop in my headphones, get in the zone and smash out some work. Today, I am preparing a hearing pack for the Auditor-General for the upcoming hearing with the Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit (JCPAA) in March.
Every year, the JCPAA holds an inquiry into the MPR to ensure that the report is transparent and accountable. The hearing pack that I am working on is responding to their recommendations and pre-empting questions they may have for the Auditor General.
After a quick check-in with my manager, I am finished for the day.
I take full advantage of my quiet evenings throughout the week. Tonight I go running down by Lake Burley. There’s no shortage of amazing natural scenery and walking trails around Canberra to get some fresh air and exercise.
After streaming a few episodes of Brooklyn 99 or Schitt’s Creek, it’s time to hop into bed and prepare to do it all again tomorrow!