Blog Archive

Friday, September 2, 2011

Update from McGladrey Employee Working Abroad in Australia

Written by Holly Klotz
Sr. Associate
Perth, Australia

Holly has been working abroad through McGladrey’s Secondment program in Perth, Australia for one month now. Below are three of her reflections from her experiences from month one of her three month assignment.

I’ve been exposed to many different industries.

The mining industry here in Perth is quite significant and accounts for a large portion of the Perth’s office client base.  I served on the audit team of a leading mining company that is involved in exploration, contracting, processing and commodities production and is listed on the Australian Stock Exchange.  The mining industry in Australia has been rapidly growing over the past few years and is a significant source of revenue for much of the western part of Australia.  Working with a client on the cutting edge of mining was a unique experience as we worked through the obstacles of auditing a company that nearly doubled in size in the last year in both assets and revenue.

Secondment programs are increasingly popular in Australia.

The word “Secondment” was not something I was familiar with prior to my Perth Secondment.  Here in Australia it is a very common arrangement and is widely recognized both in the accounting industry and by the general public as short term employment of individuals from other countries.  Perth in particular has hired Secondees for several years now in order to compensate for the fluctuations of the increased work flow of busy season with Secondees typically originating from Singapore and the United Kingdom.  Due to the recent change in United States dollar, the U.S. has become an attractive option for Secondees and presumably more arrangements between the U.S. and Australia will occur in the future benefiting both McGladrey and RSM Bird Cameron.

There are definitely lifestyle and cultural differences between an Iowan and a Western Australian. 

There are a number of differences between the cultures of the Midwestern United States and Perth Australia.  The diversity in Perth is significantly more dynamic with people from all over the world anywhere from Indonesia, Africa, Italy, Madagascar, Europe, etc.  I have yet to meet someone who has never left the country of Australia.  Western Australians in general are very aware of other cultures and current events around the world.  It is very common for them to regularly travel to a foreign country for vacation and quite common for them to work in a foreign country for a few years early on in their career.  Experiencing Australian’s appreciation for other cultures has opened my eyes to what else the world may have to offer; both in terms of auditing and the resources and knowledge out there to help us improve as an international firm, along with a personal level of appreciating different cultural values.

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