HLB Mann Judd is proudly celebrating its 40 year anniversary. To commemorate the milestone, we asked some of our incredible leaders to share how they are helping HLB’s clients prepare for the challenges of tomorrow.

Katelyn Adams’ story

I arrived at a career in accounting through fairly conventional means; I studied accounting and economics in senior school and had a natural ability with numbers, which then led to a commerce degree at university.

Once I graduated, I again followed a fairly well-trodden path and applied for graduate programs within some of the mid and top tier accounting firms. I soon realised however that the Big Four wasn’t for me, so accepted an offer within the audit practice of a reputable mid-tier firm.

The experience was a favourable one and I learnt a lot in a short space of time. HLB were the external accountants for an audit client, and when they asked me to join, it was easy decision.

In addition to my role with HLB Mann Judd Adelaide, I’m also a non-executive director and company secretary on a number of company boards. It’s a position I take quite seriously, not just for my own professional development, but it also affords me the ability to influence other younger females in business who aspire to do the same.

Unfortunately, women remain heavily outnumbered on ASX-listed company boards, and there’s certainly only a handful of women in their 30s who have been appointed to non-executive director positions.

There have been times when I haven’t necessarily felt comfortable being a younger female in the boardroom, but I do so with the knowledge that any discomfort is going to have such a powerful and positive impact on the next wave of female company directors.

The media reporting around company boards and gender quotas has certainly resulted in a shift in the way people perceive board composition, with many now recognising that people come from all walks of life and this diversity brings such a richness to the table.

Over time, I’ve also learnt that, it’s so important to bring our authentic selves to the workplace. As a mother to three children, working mothers – and fathers – shouldn’t have to pretend they don’t have responsibilities outside the confines of the office.

Management should always encourage employees to bring their true selves to work in order to get the best out of their staff; it’s our experiences outside the office building that makes us valuable inside the office building.

With the beauty of hindsight, it’s amazing how my career has veered away from the traditional spreadsheet accounting, to advising corporates on every aspect of their operations and growth, yet I’m able to do it with the security of HLB.

Applying my accounting background to what clients actually need in order to grow their business is so rewarding; the role is more akin to a general manager role that sits within the client’s business.

No two days are the same and it’s why I love what I do. One day I could be on the west coast of South Australia providing strategic direction to listed aquaculture company; the next day I could be completing a $50 million capital raising, or working on an IPO.

Making the move to HLB Mann Judd, all those years ago, was the best professional decision I’ve made to date. When people ask me what I do, I don’t feel ‘an accountant’ is an accurate reflection of my role day-to-day. It may seem strange, given my role as partner within a national accounting firm, but I see myself as an adviser first and foremost. And the fact I’ve been able to influence the next generation of female accountants is icing on the cake.