Sometimes it takes a few study and career pathways to determine the best-fitting profession.
When Tim Martin completed Year 12, he took a couple of gap years working in hospitality before returning to fulltime study where his sights were set on a career in health.
‘I was aspiring for medicine so took the logical step of an undergraduate degree in health sciences with the intention of a postgraduate degree in medicine/surgery afterwards,’ he explains.
However, in-between completing a Bachelor of Health Sciences and making a start on postgraduate applications for medicine, Tim took a role in higher-education market research and analysis and suddenly found his niche.
‘I thoroughly enjoyed it and it was through this work that I realised my passion for numerical and financial figures. As I continued along this career path, my aspirations for medicine/surgery slowly faded away,’ he says.
After carefully re-assessing his options, Tim commenced a master’s degree in commerce as an online student and during the course, acquired part-time work with a Warrnambool-based accounting firm. Within six months, his career focus was on accounting.
Graduating from the degree with a Dean’s Merit List award for his outstanding results, Tim says he is now building on his academic knowledge with practical, workplace skills.
‘I continued on at the firm and because it’s a prestigious, small Warrnambool-based business, my roles are widespread and diverse,’ he explains.
On reflection, Tim says he is glad to have chosen his accounting career with the backdrop of other work and study paths.
‘It has enabled me to really think about why I wanted to study commerce. I’ve always had an innate, strong ability for maths and numbers and I knew that living in regional Victoria, accounting was a career with secure employment opportunities.’
Tim adds that moving into the discipline of a master’s degree – after a few years of other work and study experiences – also offered him an extra level of maturity, motivation and commitment.
‘Online study requires a very high degree of self-drive and management,’ he explains.
‘And if you have the added advantage of being employed in the same, or similar, industry to your study field, this is a huge factor toward study success. I also found that the maturity level of postgrad students is a big advantage when collaborating in group-work projects.’
Tim says he ‘thoroughly enjoyed’ the program’s finance and auditing units, along with the practical components that covered spreadsheet work, graphs/diagrams and the use of accounting software.
‘The degree provided a base of knowledge so that when I first walked into a job, I was ready to build on that knowledge with practical experience. The program also contained many group-work components which further developed my skills in people management – something that’s important when working with my colleagues and clients.’
Working for a smaller, regional-based accounting firm is providing Tim with valuable, hand-on career skills he says.
‘I enjoy the small size of the firm because it gives the benefit of greater attention and diversity in roles. Put simply, I enjoy being able to help people and businesses with their financial situations. It’s the trust and mutual respect between professional and client that makes my job so important.’