Pachalo’s Move from Africa to Brisbane

Pachalo moved across the globe from his home country of Malawi to a Big Four firm in Brisbane, Australia. Having been with the firm for over 2 years now, we caught up with Pachalo to chat about his new Aussie life.

What do you enjoy the most about your new company?      

The leadership. It is really focussed and they mean what they say. I have worked a couple of Big Four firms so I know what they can be like, but my firm is really focussed on wellbeing. It does get busy sometimes, but there is no need to work weekends and the firm is really trying to work hard to look after the people. They try to reduce the utilisation rates so we don’t work too much and I am really enjoying working here. The office is multicultural and is really mixed – people mingle in their ranks a lot.

The office holds end of month drinks and other events. During the festive season there are several. There is also a social club which you can join by paying $15 per month. The club organises events for all of the office, not just audit team and I have done several including golf, drinks at hotels and games such as touch rugby and cricket.

They are also trying to allow international employees to work from their home countries as we have not been home because of Covid. We get 3 months to work overseas so I am planning to return home in July and work from there.

What clients have you been working on?

I have had a mix of clients including lots of energy and mining clients, about 80% are mining. One big healthcare client takes up 2 months of the year and I work with a US government international employment firm.  I have also been getting to work with US reporting, SOX and IFRS.

It’s a good portfolio and I have come to realise that my skills are going to improve a lot.  Back home, the industry is not that big, for example when we had energy, it was more hydroelectric and a little petroleum. Here, you have everything from exploration to production.

Are you pleased you made the move? What opportunities has it opened up for you?

So happy! It has really changed a lot, both my life and career, and has opened up a lot of opportunities. Although I still love audit, I would like to shift to internal audit in the firm at some point, which is a big opportunity moving here as we did not have an internal auditor in my previous firm. There is also a career councillor and a Partner who has discussions around what I want to do and they have programmes they can put you into.

What about Brisbane?

It’s really cool and not too crowded like Sydney. The weather is not so different to back home – it is as sunny as back home but can get a bit humid! Its multiracial city and I find some things similar to back home in terms of food. I can find Southern African food everywhere!

How do you think your international move will assist your long term career prospects?

I feel that is the best move I have ever made in my life.  I will be more marketable with the experience I get from here and making a move after here will be easier for me. The experience is highly valuable and I have learned a lot since being here. Because of the level of demand that is required, I am able to get more knowledge on my own, something that was not required back home. I have learnt and had time for myself.

What do you enjoy outside of work?

The travel! There is a lot to see in Queensland – more than in the whole of Europe. I have been to couple of small towns, rural areas, traditional areas and on scenic drives. There are lots of places to visit and lots of coastal sites. The Gold Coast is just 1 hour away and the Sunshine Coast just 2 hours. I have moved out of the city, and there is lots happening there such as hiking, biking and car racing. I never get bored!

I follow English football a lot and  I’m a Liverpool FC supporter. The time difference factor is a challenge that some times I have to wake up at 4am to watch games, although Monday night football is easier to watch. I also play football with friends and there are some teams around.

Do you have any advice for those considering a global career move?

It’s not going be easy to start with! However, keep up the attitude. It’s a very different market and culture moving from Africa to here. The first six months you feel like going back home, but after 1 year you don’t want to go back home. I met a lot of friends outside the office when I just got in, including a couple of other African’s and that helped.  Hang in there because it’s worth it!

It was lovey to speak to Pachalo 2 years on and we really look forward to seeing how his career progresses in future.  Enjoy your visit home Pachalo!