Meet the two CPAs at STREAT who put financial structures in place to help the disadvantaged

Coralia Mielczarek CPA, management accountant and Greg Edelmaier CPA general manager, finance, at social enterprise STREAT. Photo: Jarrod Barnes

Greg Edelmaier CPA and Coralia Mielczarek CPA put the financial structures in place at social enterprise STREAT to help homeless and disadvantaged youth develop real-world skills.

Greg Edelmaier CPA 

General manager, finance, STREAT 

STREAT is a hospitality social enterprise that supports and trains young people who need a helping hand. 

We run seven businesses across inner Melbourne – four cafés, a coffee roastery, an artisan bakery and a catering company. 

Our goal is to stop youth homelessness and help the disadvantaged, so we do more than just teach critical skills, we give overlooked members of society a taste of the work environment. By working alongside us in our businesses, they develop confidence and a sense of belonging. 

I think Coralia and I are both here because we are really passionate and committed to the cause. 

Coralia travels a long way to work each day, but she’s always on time and is very conscientious. I admire her dedication. 

We work in a flexible, open-plan office and culture is very strong here. We do a lot of personality testing before we employ people to make sure the person fits, both in their ideology and set of skills. We work as one team and that’s something Coralia is very good at. She is really interested in the business as a whole, and has a great connection with people. 

Around here there are a lot of “foodie” people, and Coralia has a great passion for food – she’s won cooking competitions in the past and she’ll spend hours on the weekend cooking. 

What Greg would change about Coralia: “I’d get her to take more time to critically analyse the numbers, because the numbers tell a story to the people running the business.” 

When I started here, the debtors were the most under control that I’ve ever seen in an organisation. In a social enterprise, the relationship with a customer goes beyond whether they are paying on time. Coralia has a great balance in her approach to ensure we are all working together to make sure everyone continues the positive journey. 

I’ve never really done debt collection, but I’ve learnt a lot from listening to her be strong and concise on the phone. She does it in a timely fashion and thinks about how and when she will deliver the message. Coralia has shown she’s very good at accepting change and moving along with our growing business. She has really opened her arms to new challenges. 

My mind is always analysing how to improve and develop, and I’m trying to take Coralia to that next step. Sometimes she’ll want to finish a job quickly, but I’d like her to recognise that some things need to be given more time to fully reconcile. The report should be finished using optimum graphics and analytics. I want her to tell me the story, and tell me why it matters. 

It is really important with non-financial people that you present data in a way they understand. Our CEO comes from a background in marketing and design, so she loves a picture to look at, not just a table, so sometimes it can be beneficial to prepare a growth chart or waterfall chart. 

I’m working to get Coralia to appreciate that a bit more, and to not be afraid to take more time so the data can be explained. 

Professional Development: Developing your successful team: highlighting key factors to take into consideration when developing a successful team. Learn how to develop a team that works cohesively and efficiently to achieve common goals.

Coralia Mielczarek CPA 

Management accountant, STREAT 

I came to STREAT close to three years ago. I’d been working in insolvency and bankruptcy for over four years before that, and had been looking for something that would link my job as an accountant with social good. 

STREAT’s goal is to stop youth homelessness and I really feel proud of its vision. 

Working here is not your typical accounting role. Obviously, you still have all the budgets and analyses, but it is really about helping people out. 

Greg started about a year-and-a-half ago and in that time he’s brought in a lot of new systems and processes with more efficient ways of doing things. He has a lot of experience under his belt, so he has shown us new ways that have made our jobs easier. 

We’re a small organisation that has grown a lot since I’ve been here. When I started, there were about 20 employees. Now, there are closer to 50 or 60, so we’ve just started to get each of the businesses – whether it is a café or a catering business – to take on their own budgets. Greg has made sure it’s a simpler process for them and they understand it. 

WHAT Coralia would change about Greg: “I’d like to see him devote more of his time to team-building activities that would further encourage communication and collaboration among employees.”

Greg is very good at Excel. I thought I was quite good at it until I met Greg. He knows everything there is to know about it and has taught me so many tips and tricks. He’s also taught me a lot about analysis and how to make information clearer. 

When you meet Greg you realise he’s not your typical accountant – he has a love for 1970s fashion, and that’s all he wears. 

We’re very different in many ways – he loves sport, especially soccer – whereas I’m not a big fan. My love is cooking. I really love to make French food and desserts. 

Greg has a good sense of humour and is very witty. 

When we have our busy times he’ll naturally put more work onto us, but he makes sure you’re fine with it and that we’re all clear with what we have to do. We have weekly meetings and we’ll also often have impromptu meetings to assure everyone they can share the workload. He’s very good at watching out for us and not wanting anyone to get too stressed. 

I think he keeps a cool head under pressure, although you know when he needs to sit and concentrate, because he [becomes] a little more serious. 

We’re a good team. We have good communication and an understanding of deadlines. Greg brings the big picture all together.

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September 2018
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