Updating Results

James McQuillan

Get into the profession early, it’s much easier to get a vacationer position (which may lead to a full time job) rather than competing with the thousands more applying for grad positions.

What's your job about?

SW is a growing firm with big ambition, taking the lead in providing clients with the solutions they need to grow, prosper and respond to any challenges thrown at them.

My role in the Audit division demands many different tasks depending on the day. Typically, I will spend my time analysing the client’s financial data in order to gain an understanding of the behind the scenes workings of the business. 

One task I regularly complete is an analysis of a client’s revenue and expenses against other years and industry benchmarks, focusing on trends and relationships throughout the year. Another major role of mine is to take a selection of transactions and ‘re-perform’ them, by looking at what the company’s relationship with their customer is, all the way through to how the company received or paid money for it.

Performing this work enables me to report back to my team if there’s any areas of concern or errors present. The team will then work with the client in order to understand the background to their situation and report to them how they can overcome these challenges and avoid possible fraud.

While yes, an audit is a process that is legally required for some companies, my role is not limited to a mere legal formality. My role, as part of the SW team is to delve deep and work with a client to assess risk and provide them with suggestions toward improvements to ensure their continued success and competition in their industry.

What's your background?

People who know me would know that I rarely spend a day off sitting still, throughout my teenage years I discovered my home, Melbourne often by jumping on the first train I would find at Flinders St; little did I know that this job would take me to places of Melbourne I never knew existed.

Possibly the biggest turning point in my life was in 2016 when I took up a university exchange in northern Sweden, I distinctly remember sitting on the plane and making a pledge to myself to get to know as many people from as far away in the world as possible.

It was one chance meeting that opened many doors for me up there, as a result my experience was one that could never have been planned (think skiing under northern lights and ice fishing on a frozen lake). My connection with the region is now so strong I have been back 4 times.

Since then my philosophy has been to make the most of every open door and have zero regrets if it doesn’t take you exactly where you want to go.

I stumbled across SW at a career fair by someone telling me ‘go speak to them, they’re really nice’. I started the application process and felt the culture fit just right for me, the facilitator of the assessment centre had even remembered my name. I secured a Vacationer position over Summer 2018/19, which eventually led into my current graduate role.

Could someone with a different background do your job?

Absolutely! One of the best things about SW is that there are many backgrounds represented, both in terms of life experience and where you come from. 

The most important characteristics to possess when working in an audit team could be the desire to contribute to the team and have an open mind for other perspectives. Often I’m stuck on a particular problem and a team-mate has offered me their perspective based on a completely different background to my own which has enabled me to solve the task. The same can be said for when I’ve offered my perspective to others.

What's the coolest thing about your job?

Audit is awesome as each client is unique, my work for a client such as a manufacturer completely differs from a not for profit entity; proving a challenge which will only consolidate my skills the more clients I work on.

In normal times the coolest thing about my job is not being bound to the office daily, most days you will be out on a client’s premises getting first-hand experience. What’s more is that some of my clients are based interstate, which means you get flown out to where they’re based – a great way to see somewhere new.

What are the limitations of your job?

From time to time, especially where you are working remotely it is difficult to get what you need off the client, sometimes taking weeks after your scheduled engagement with them to do so. Consequently, sometimes I find myself sitting somewhat idle, hitting refresh on outlook. Other times I have 3 weeks’ worth of work come in one day, proving a challenge to prioritise my work and to commit to my client scheduled for that week.

3 pieces of advice for yourself when you were a student...

  1. Be that person in the class to talk to people, go get a coffee with them after, you’ll make lifelong friends (and professional connections).
  2. Get into the profession early, it’s much easier to get a vacationer position (which may lead to a full-time job) rather than competing with the thousands more applying for grad positions.
  3. If I may refer back to my life experience – take advantage of every open door with no regrets, even a chance meeting or a snap decision can open up experiences that are life-changing.