What is your background?
I completed a Bachelor of Commerce at the university of Witwatersrand (that is a mouthful), Johannesburg and an Honours in Accounting Science at the University of South Africa, then went onto complete my CA qualification with the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants.
My first job after university was a graduate position in audit. I did my equivalent of my CA (apprenticeship) for two years assisting on external statutory audits. Most of them were, of no surprise, gold mining companies. I travelled South Africa and toured many mine sites. I then transferred to Vienna for 2 ½ years. This was a good experience, learning to live in another culture and speak another language. I joined a cohort of Americans who were transferred to Vienna to work on the same project. I worked on a few memorable audits, mostly in the manufacturing sector. We spent all our free time travelling around Europe and learning to ski in the winter. We skied in some of the most amazing alpine locations in Europe.
My husband (by then) was transferred to Brisbane, where I worked again in audit. Working with the Big4 was a considerable benefit, as I had the opportunity to work anywhere in the world if there was an available position in a local office, where, from my experience, there generally was. We spent about three years in Brisbane, and then my husband was transferred back to Johannesburg. In Johannesburg, I worked in corporate finance. I had the opportunity to be involved in a wide variety of corporate finance engagements, including a few IPOs, and many financial due diligence assignments. After about two years in Johannesburg, we decided that we would like to go back to Australia. Luckily, I was transferred to Melbourne where I started my career in valuations. In Melbourne, over the last 20 years, I worked at a few different firms, including Big4, mid-tier and boutique, before joining FTI Consulting in August 2018.
What is your role about?
My current role is Senior Managing Director in the Forensic Litigation & Consulting team. I specialise in providing clients with valuations for tax, accounting and transactions requirements. We have been growing the team from a ‘start-up’ about two years ago.
Day to day, I follow up on leads for opportunities to provide valuations, talk to lots of corporates, lawyers and accountants, draft many proposals, review valuation calculations and draft reports.
I scope and draft engagements letters for new engagements, manage valuation engagements, provide on the job coaching and training, review draft reports and correspond with clients throughout the process to manage their expectations.
I provide internal training and share articles and items of interest with the team.
I also manage valuations projects, draft valuations, undertake research and finalise client billing. There is a lot of admin work, such as developing and drafting strategy documents, completing various reports for finance and staff reviews.
I draft articles for publications, website and LinkedIn on topical valuation subjects such as valuing businesses during COVID-19.
I prepare for presentations for lawyers, accountants and other similar bodies on valuation topics such and valuations under shareholder agreements, valuations of brands and valuations for tax purposes, as examples.
Can you give an example of a type of engagement you were recently working on?
Some of the engagements we have been working on:
Did you always know you wanted to work in this field?
I really didn’t know what I wanted to do with my CA qualification. Initially, I wanted to specialise in IT. But I preferred the stimulation of learning about different businesses that I visited when I commenced my career in Audit. It was changing market conditions that presented opportunities to branch into corporate finance and then into valuations.
I didn’t ever make a decision to specialise in any particular field. I think I followed opportunities that I found interesting and stimulating, whilst also following the demand of clients for various services.
What is most rewarding about your job?
I find growing a business, coaching junior staff and helping clients, all to be equally rewarding.
I especially enjoy working on transactions that are ‘live’ and are read about in the newspapers and other media.
Preparing proposals that successfully win the engagements is thrilling, as well.
What was a challenge?
I found it challenging juggling family and work whilst my children were young and into their formative school years. We had no family in Australia when my children were little. As a consequence, our friends in our support networks have become like family.
As my children got older, I was able to continue my journey and now have an enjoyable career that is stimulating and challenging.
One piece of advice that you would give women/female students who want to work in professional services?
Your career is like a marathon, it is not a race. Enjoy the journey and focus on growing yourself as a person.
The views expressed herein are those of the author(s) and not necessarily the views of FTI Consulting, Inc., its management, its subsidiaries, its affiliates, or its other professionals. FTI Consulting, Inc., including its subsidiaries and affiliates, is a consulting firm and is not a certified public accounting firm or a law firm. FTI Consulting is an independent global business advisory firm dedicated to helping organizations manage change, mitigate risk and resolve disputes: financial, legal, operational, political & regulatory, reputational and transactional. FTI Consulting professionals, located in all major business centers throughout the world, work closely with clients to anticipate, illuminate and overcome complex business challenges and opportunities. Some services may be provided through FTI Capital Advisors (Australia) Pty Ltd AFSL # 504204. Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation.
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