Blog Archive

Thursday, August 25, 2011

McGladrey Employees Work Abroad in Australia

Is working abroad on your to-do list? McGladrey has a secondment program which is a short-term assignment where an employee works with a member firm of RSM International. Short-term secondments generally last for 3 - 6 months and are during the member firm’s busy season. The primary purposes of a secondment are to help augment the firm’s busy season when they need to ramp up resources, and to provide exposure to international business standards for our employees.

Long-term secondments may range from 12 – 24 months, and provide an opportunity for the secondee to become fully immersed in the member firm, their business processes, the culture of the country, and to gain valuable international experience that can benefit McGladrey clients upon their return.

With either type of secondment, interested individuals generally need to be at least a senior within McGladrey and secondments are limited in nature.

Meet Holly Klotz and Elisa Johnson.

They are senior associates currently involved in McGladrey’s secondment program who share insights from down under as secondees working at RSM Bird Cameron in Perth, Australia.

McGladrey: Where in Perth is the RSM Bird Cameron office located?

Holly: The RSM Bird Cameron office in Perth, Western Australia, is located downtown in the central business district and about one block off of the Swan River. The office is an eight-story building with RSM occupying most of it. The audit team alone has approximately 25 to 30 employees with four audit partners. 

Elisa: The downtown skyline actually looks similar to the Minneapolis skyline.

McGladrey: What are your current responsibilities in your secondment role?

Elisa: I assist on assurance engagements.

Holly: I currently function as a supporting staff on the engagements I am scheduled on. During my first week in Perth I worked on a non-profit organization with another staff member where we worked collectively as in-charge. I recently traveled approximately two hours south of Perth to a town called Bunbury where we stayed for two nights. I am looking forward to doing some more travel for clients outside of Perth during my secondment.

McGladrey: Describe your average day and how it differs from your workday stateside.

Holly: In Perth, Australia:
  • Arrive at client around 8:30 a.m. as that is the start of business hours
  • Eat lunch with the team around 12:30 p.m. (most people bring their lunch)
  • Scheduled at a client anywhere from two or three days up to a few weeks. There is no standard block of time that is spent at a client. Usually have a few days here and there in the office to wrap things up.
  • In order to download new client files and do time/expense entry, I have to go into the office
  • No live syncing of client files as Lotus Notes is used and there is limited use of CasewWare,  which also does not sync, but rather sections of the file are “checked out” and updated to the master file later
In Des Moines, Iowa:
  • Arrive at a client as early as 7 a.m. assuming we can get in
  • Eat lunch with the team around 11:30 a.m. (most of the time we go out for lunch)
  • Scheduled at clients in one week blocks of time up to multiple weeks. During busy season the only time spent in the office is usually on Saturdays.
  • Have full access to all work functions remotely via VPN including syncing client files
Elisa: We generally get to the client between 8:30–9 a.m. and then work until 6–7 p.m. The interaction with the client is very similar to Minneapolis.  And the members of the teams who I have been working with have similar personalities to those I work with on the Minneapolis CRE team.  We get along well, get the audit done and enjoy working with each other. 

McGladrey: What surprised you the most on your first day in the office?

Elisa: The partner who we report to is very involved in the details of our secondment, which I wasn’t expecting. He met with us individually and asked us about our office, hours generally worked during busy season and experience. He then provided some insight into the audit team, the clients they work on and what the expectations would be. He also took time out of his day to personally take us to get cell phones, etc. He has been great to work with!

Holly: How genuinely welcoming and helpful everyone is. The general attitude in the office is very upbeat and supportive of everyone else. They seem to be a very close-knit team.

McGladrey: What are you most excited about with regard to this role?

Holly: There are several items I am excited about in the upcoming weeks:
  • Being able to experience different industries than what we have in Des Moines. For example, there is a significant client base in mining and exploration.
  • Understanding in greater detail the differences in audit strategies and accounting principles between Australian GAAP/IFRS versus U.S. GAAP and auditing standards. During my initial week I had many discussions regarding these differences challenging me to think broader conceptually about auditing and accounting approaches.
  • Getting to work with several different people both at RSM Bird Cameron and also at their clients to learn about their culture and lifestyle.
Elisa: I am excited to learn about different industries, auditing techniques/styles, and reporting.  I am also excited to get adapted to Australian culture.

McGladrey: What are your biggest accomplishments since arriving in Perth?

Elisa: My biggest accomplishments are learning the different techniques used in auditing.  While the methods used are similar to what we use, they are also different. I have been working on clients in different industries and listed on the Australian stock exchange, whereas in the U.S. I work on privately owned or private equity group clients, primarily in the construction, real estate and distribution industries. 


Haley McAdams said...

It's always been in my to-do list ever since I was a child. Although I've been raised abroad, I was brought back here by my parents. Anyways, I find more opportunities abroad than here. Maybe after I take my ISO 14000 One Hour Course and other exams I'll be able to go abroad.

Summer Kate Williams said...

Well, whenever you have a plan you have to do a plan list. So that it is more easy for you to do a job orderly. Anyway, thanks for sharing you post. I enjoyed reading it.

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