In 2003, we assisted Heather in her move from the UK to Hobart. Since then, she has been made a partner at KPMG and has even built her own house! We recently caught up with Heather to find out more about her experience and any additional advice she would give to accountants who may be thinking about moving overseas.
“It was a combination of a few things. I had been working for a mid-tier firm in the UK and got my CA qualifications. I could see that my career opportunities were limited in that particular firm and I knew I was pretty keen on Australia even though I’d never been there before. So I got in touch with Think Global Recruitment, gave my details and the rest is history.”
“I didn’t know much about Hobart before moving so I did do my research about the climate and location. I didn’t have many concerns but the main one was how much I was going to miss my friends and my family. A lot of people who relocate to Australia end up only interacting with expat groups and in hindsight I’m really glad that there isn’t a huge expat community here in Hobart. It meant that I completely threw myself into Australian culture and felt at home very quickly. I was on a two-year contract and when it came to the end of it I was really loving living here. It was a very different experience than being in the bigger cities such as Melbourne and Sydney, I felt at home in Hobart.”
“It probably took me about 4 months to completely settle in. Apart from missing family and friends there was never any point when I thought I wanted to move back and work in the UK. KPMG really looked after me when I arrived. One of my colleagues picked me up from the airport and took me to my hotel and had already bought a weeks’ grocery shopping for me. The staff took me under their wing and took me to social events, introducing me to their friends. Now I return that favour if we ever have international people joining. The way we welcome people from overseas has really become part of our audit team.”
“I didn’t really have any expectations so it was a wonderful process of discovery with a new country, culture, workplace and colleagues. It’s been enough to keep me here and my family have always been very supportive and can see how happy I am here.”
“The career opportunities have been almost unlimited in terms of where I wanted to go, what I wanted to do and the people I was able to learn from. From a personal point of view, the active and outdoor lifestyle and a good work-life balance which you don’t often get in some of the larger cities.”
“When comparing the UK and Australia, the main difference is the outdoors lifestyle, whether it is going surfing or going running. It’s easy to be out and be healthy. The weather in the UK is not as generous to allow as much outdoor activity as you get here.”
Highlights of Hobart
“Professionally, I have just been made Partner at KPMG so that is an obvious career highlight for me and something I had as a career goal. From a personal perspective I couldn’t be happier, I have my partner and my two young kids. Another stand out thing is that we designed and built our house. Coming from the UK, only property developers build houses but we decided to buy a plot of land, design our own house and build. That was something I never imagined I would have done.”
Benefits of working abroad and advice
“When you move countries, there is a lot to learn; that gives you a new perspective. I think it’s just experiencing different things. I’ve done things from a career perspective that I never thought I would have done. Living overseas you are exposing yourself to opportunities that otherwise you might not be exposed to.”
“I would advise knowing where you’re going to and do your research. In Tasmania, if you are expecting a big bustling city with unlimited culture, shops and nightlife, you could be disappointed, but it has so much more to offer. It is a wonderful place to move to and incidentally a great career opportunity.”
We would like to thank Heather for sharing her story with us and wish her all the best for the future.
Please get in touch with us here if you would like to discuss moving overseas with one of our consultants.