Many believe an accounting degree is the most important part of preparing for a role at a firm like BDO. However, I have found my extra-curricular activities to be just as important. These activities helped me to develop my communication skills and as a result I have flourished in my graduate role in BDO Brisbane's Business Restructuring division.
The importance of extra-curricular activities
During university, I worked for Chartered Accountants Australia & New Zealand as a student ambassador. As part of this role I represented a variety of different professional services firms, including BDO, so I was exposed to the company and its culture from an early stage.
It was this culture that really drew me to apply for a role with BDO. At networking events the firm’s representatives were always really talkative and friendly and were very happy to answer questions. I also knew a lot of people who had already started graduate roles with BDO and they only had positive things to say about the firm.
My work as a student ambassador, coupled with my involvement in a variety of other extra-curricular activities and societies have really helped me to communicate with creditors and clients within my current role. A central part of Business Restructuring is getting the appropriate information you need from people and I have been able to successfully do this from the beginning.
Not just sitting at a desk crunching numbers
When I applied for a graduate role with BDO I wasn't quite sure which service line I wanted to go into, but after a couple of months in Business Restructuring I knew this was the one for me.
One particular highlight for me was when, after a few months of starting my role, I was assigned a new job where I picked up all the books and records and dealt with a lot of creditors. I was thrown into the deep end and I absolutely loved it.
Business Restructuring isn't just sitting at a desk crunching numbers - instead, we get to go out and meet clients. We interact with a range of different people at a company right up to those at Director level. We also interact with other government bodies, such as ASIC and the ATO. In addition to this client work, the other thing I love about Business Restructuring is the hugely rewarding feeling when you manage to turn a business around and save it.
Working within Business Restructuring can also have its challenges and test your resilience. Due to the sensitive nature of the situations we are presented with, it is not uncommon for us to guide an emotionally charged or distressed creditor, employee or director.
This is definitely a challenge I faced when starting in Business Restructuring and something which university didn’t prepare me for. The on the job training I have completed and the support received from my team since starting as a graduate in Restructuring, has helped me to build a toolkit of skills to control and handle these difficult situations.
My advice for graduates thinking of applying for a similar role would be to get involved in as many extra-curricular activities as you can. Your accounting degree can give you a good foundation, but you will also learn a lot on the job. It’s the other skills that will really help you to grow and help you to become a well-rounded employee.