Grab any opportunity that comes around that might stretch you and expand your skills, says Anne-Marie Martin CPA.
She’s served on CPA Australia’s Tasmanian Divisional Council
, educates future accountants at the University of Tasmania and sits on various focus groups, yet Anne-Marie Martin CPA didn’t always picture herself with a career in finance.
Travel was where she thought she’d end up. She’d studied Japanese at high school and figured she’d be suited to work as a business translator or a travel agent.
However, upon finishing high school she first undertook a six-month missionary course with Youth With A Mission (YWAM), which included a two-month outreach in Indonesia. It was an exciting experience for the high school graduate who, with her new husband (she married at 18), stayed with YWAM, focusing on unpaid missionary work while picking up random jobs to pay the bills.
They were making plans to start a family when over dinner one night, Martin’s husband looked at her exhausted face and urged her to go to university and study accounting.
“I don’t know where he got that idea from. I’d never thought before that moment I should be an accountant,” laughs Martin.
The suggestion got her thinking. She’d enjoyed the environment of the accounting firm where she had her first job as a receptionist, she had done exceptionally well at small business studies in high school, and loved doing the family budget.
She was pregnant and working part-time with very little money but Martin’s grandfather offered to pay for her accounting degree, opening the door for her to take the plunge.
“I think a lot of people don’t do things because they don’t feel they are worthy,” says Martin, “but you can’t be scared to try new things. You have to back yourself.”
Martin was 26 when she took her first junior accounting job with Preece Martin Accountants and Business Advisers in Launceston, Tasmania. Her boss dropped her in the deep end and let her flourish. She has been with the same company ever since.
Martin completed her CPA with the highest mark in the state in both Tax and in Financial Planning and Superannuation, earning certificates of achievement and meeting Tasmanian divisional councillors.
Not long after, at an awards ceremony where she was a state finalist for Young Accountant of the Year, she met other councillors who encouraged her to be part of the council, too.
The idea of representing members, networking and meeting with other CPAs to see if they were happy or would like more training appealed to Martin.
“I love social events,” she says. “I’m lucky when I got into accounting that it was actually a social kind of a job, which I probably didn’t realise when I started.
“I think a lot of people don’t do things because they don’t feel they are worthy, but you can’t be scared to try new things. You have to back yourself.”
“I’d encourage everyone to go on a divisional council. It shows you just how much is available to you in this organisation.”
Martin fulfilled a six-year term as councillor, serving as deputy and then president.
“Being president was an awesome experience. I got to go to Melbourne and meet all these other presidents from Singapore and London, and it was really cool to see how wide our reach was.”
It was through her Tasmanian council connections that she was asked to be a guest speaker at the University of Tasmania (UTAS). This led to paid casual work in its Tasmanian School of Business Education. Public speaking is a skill she emphasises in her university tutorials.
“As an accountant you have to talk to people, whether it is your clients, juniors you are training up or the CEO,” says Martin.
If there is one thing Martin does really well it is networking.
“There’s some great people out there,” she says. “I don’t think I’ve ever met a CPA I didn’t like.”
Her social skills are one of the reasons she has just been approached to be appointed an ambassador for industry at UTAS, which would involve attending events and connecting future accountants with the CPA Program.
Martin has managed to achieve all this while working a four-day week.
“Work-life balance has always been a priority in my life,” she says. “It’s important to invest time into your children and partner. If you don’t then it will affect you at work and impact on your longevity in a position.”
One piece of advice
“Love other people. Make contact with as many people as you can, smile when you are on the phone to them, remember you are dealing with humans. If you do things out of care for someone, they will know you are doing it for the right motives.”
Division and Branch Councils:
Learn more about CPA Australia's Division and Branch Councils, an important channel for engaging and serving members.