Johannes moved from a small firm in South Africa to a Big Four in Melbourne. You can read his story, great tips and see some of his photos here.
In 2019, with the help of Think Global Recruitment, Johannes made the move from a small South African firm to a Big Four in Melbourne and has since experienced one promotion already. We caught up with Johannes to discuss his career move and chat about his new life in Australia!
How have the last 2 years been?
Going well! I was promoted to Assistant Manager after 15 months and I am working hard to keep up the momentum.
There was a bit of an adjustment period after joining and the challenge of moving to remote working environment. Expectations at the firm were high from early days and required some additional effort in adapting to the changes. There are some cultural differences within the firm compared to what I was used to and sometimes things can feel more formal here. The learning curve was steep but once you get into it, it’s ok.
I am working with a mixed portfolio of clients including Manufacturing, Medical, Construction, Tech, an interesting Not for Profit business and a client that recently listed.
Moving out of an old mindset into a different one is was an adjustment, but once you get on top things, you really come to see the advantages in how the firm does things differently. I am happy and inspired with the direction the firm is moving and the change in approach that is being improved.
How was it settling in?
The environment in Australia and working remotely made it hard to build personal relationship. However, with life returning back to a “new normal” these relationships are growing. I had the advantage of bringing my wife over with me and made a huge difference when being isolated from the rest of the city for long periods of time. It took a while for my her to find her feet, however the role she has taken, she absolutely loves, and it makes me happy to see her happy. Melbourne is such a culturally diverse place; everybody you meet has a different story and rich history. We have found people very accepting here.
When I joined there was around few days of induction before I was put into the field. With the word being what it has been, we have a lot of online training. When starting out, you need to put in the time to get across all the different items required to be successful and the company has an abundance of resources for this.
How has it differed moving from a small firm to a Big Four?
Teams are a similar size, but the company is bigger. There was an adjustment period when moving to a Big four firm and how things work. Each firm has its own methodology and hence it does take some time to get familiar with that and how the different audit approaches work. I had to put in a lot of extra time and effort to familiarise myself with the changes. But starting to feel on top of it. So, yes it was hard in the beginning but do believe that is just the normal change when moving from one firm to another. Luckily the audit standards stay the same.
What have you learnt?
A lot! In South Africa, we worked on international standards but here I have learnt Australia specific standards and a lot of country specific things. The firm has been good at driving technology forward and the use of data analytics. It’s been amazing what I have learnt on the different ways you can approach audit!
Do you think moving within Audit was a good idea?
I think I am fortunate to have stayed in audit as it is a good sustainable space. When you move between countries, you learn a lot in audit and get greater exposure, a lot quicker. You don’t just learn one CFO’s way of thinking. Audit is like bungy jumping. Some days you go down, some days you go up, but it is always a rush!
What about the location?
We feel fortunate to be here and have applied for permanent residency! I think Melbourne is awesome. It is expat driven and there is no stigma of where you have come from. We have travelled to The Great Ocean Road which was amazing. I have also made it to the Yara Valley wineries and hopefully can do more traveling next year.
What does the future hold?
We are applying for Permanent Residency and can build something permanent. I am working towards my next promotion and looking forward to be working at Manager level within The Firm.
Do you have any other advice for others making the move?
You should make connections before you move. Be open to the different ways! There are so many support groups on Facebook, and I would say make the best of them.
My advice would also be to plan ahead, make sure you have booked Airbnb’s for long enough, stick to a budget and speak to others that have made the move.
Finally, just hang in there! The first 6-12 months can be hard, and you miss your family, but your mind will shift. We are very happy and building towards a different future!
We wish Johannes all the best as his career and life flourishes and becoming a permanent resident in Australia.