Alex joined HLB Melbourne as an audit grad and over the past 10 years has grown with the firm. He has embraced every opportunity that has come his way and today he is responsible for managing clients and audit teams all over the world.

I joined HLB Mann Judd Melbourne 10 years ago as a graduate. It wasn’t long after the GFC that I was graduating into a challenging job market which made securing my first job harder than usual. I knew it was important to stand out, make a good impression and to highlight my enthusiasm for learning and continuous development. The approach paid off and it kicked off a career that has supported me through CA, a post graduate degree, a secondment to Los Angeles and a recent promotion to director in the firm’s Audit & Assurance division.

Starting out

I always wanted to work in a professional setting. I enjoyed studying business related subjects at high school which lead me to completing a Bachelor of Business (Accountancy) at RMIT University. I also come from a family of accountants… my dad, three uncles and an aunty are accountants, so working at a respected professional accounting firm was a natural fit!

When I was applying for graduate roles, I appreciated HLB Mann Judd’s interview approach. I got the impression that the firm was interested in getting to know me. They placed a strong emphasis on communication and work ethic, rather than over-the-top screening exercises.

I was particularly keen to start my career in Audit and Assurance, as I knew it would help accelerate my learning and provide a solid foundation in multiple areas of business. I was delighted to accept a role at HLB because it’s a fast-growing firm where I felt I could make a real difference.

Fast-forward 10 years and the firm has really changed! The audit division has substantially grown – we have more staff, larger clients and a strong reputation in the market. It has been exciting and rewarding to be a part of this journey with the firm and the audit team.

In my earlier years I was unsure whether I wanted to pursue a long-term career in audit. However, each year there’s been new opportunities, greater expectations, and something new to learn which I‘ve found truly exciting and rewarding. There’s also a clear and transparent career path for audit professionals with frequent career discussions which I’ve always appreciated.

The importance of investing in yourself

Like most graduates, when I started out, I felt a little out of my depth. However, over time, I started understanding more and my confidence grew. After a couple of years, I was responsible for running engagements as an audit senior and operating as a team leader. When I became a manager, I really started to appreciate how business works more broadly – including the accounting/ finance function, IT, sales and marketing and strategy. I started attending board meetings, audit committee meetings and internal meetings with CEOs and CFOs which had a profound impact on my career development. I often consider that if I had pursued alterative career avenues and left the industry, I would have missed out on these incredible opportunities which have really helped shaped my career.

HLB Mann Judd has supported me throughout my career. I was fortunate enough to participate in the secondment program where I was able to work and live in Los Angeles for a period of time. During this experience I met some incredible people and developed both professionally and personally. I was also given the freedom and support to complete my Executive MBA and I’ve developed some life-long friendships along the way. Over the years, I’ve also had opportunities to attend gala dinners, participate in industry sporting tournaments and travelled overseas to visit clients.

My current client portfolio consists largely of ASX-listed companies and privately-held groups, ranging from small owner-managed businesses to large multinational corporations. I’m responsible for managing teams across multiple jurisdictions where I get to work closely with HLB affiliate firms all over the world. Throughout my career, I’ve had the opportunity to work on a broad range of clients across multiple industries, including not-for-profit peak bodies and public sector entities. I’ve also been exposed to a number of different types of audit engagement including full year audits, half yearly reviews, risk assurance and consulting and other agreed upon procedures.

Alex’s advice

Looking back at my career to date, I can’t stress enough the importance of investing in continuous professional development – whether it’s through further study, requesting to work on challenging engagements or getting involved in networking events. The idea is to get out of your comfort zone so that you can learn and develop as much as possible.

It’s also important to be yourself – it is your career. Recognise what’s important to you and then work together with your employer to achieve your personal goals.

Outside of work

I like to stay active – I run, go to the gym and socialise with friends and family. I’ve always been a keen supporter of AFL, cricket and tennis and more recently F1 has piqued my interest. I’m currently planning a holiday to Europe next year which is really exciting as well.