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A supply chain management accountant for global food manufacturer Simplot, William Goh, 30, has had his eyes opened to the fact that being a CPA is not just about number crunching. “People think accounting is dry and boring, but it is so much more than that… a whole other side emerges involving travel, meeting new people and learning a broad range of new skills.”
How often do you travel?
As a graduate, I travelled extensively to Simplot’s different manufacturing facilities, particularly Bathurst, Echuca and Ulverstone in Tasmania, doing all of those exposure roles to acquaint myself with the people, crops, farmers, machinery and transportation. It’s an enjoyable dynamic. That said, completing the CPA Program took me five years, thanks to all the travel!
What is your favourite activity between meetings?
I like to stretch my legs, go for a little walk and talk to people. We’re very open-plan and sociable here at Simplot, and our logistics team are a bunch of comedians.
What’s your secret to success in business?
Primarily it’s all about ensuring your stakeholders are happy, whether that be the manager, the customer or the carriers of the goods. I’m constantly trying to find ways to be a good investment for the company rather than always striving for the next rung up the ladder as an aim in itself.
What is the best thing about working in Australia?
The keyword is flexibility. My workplace is very amenable to things such as working at home or taking half days and, while I can’t speak on behalf of other companies, I know it leads to a productive and happy workforce.
If you could have a business dinner with anyone in the world, anywhere… who would it be with and where?
Bernie Ecclestone, who recently sold Formula One for close to AUD$6 billion. I’m fascinated with the way he transformed Formula One into something so huge and globally important. Dinner at the Monaco Grand Prix would be good.
What is your number one packing tip?
Always make sure you take your own toothbrush and toothpaste.
What has the CPA Program taught you about leadership?
A lot of people hear the term CPA and they immediately think, ‘Oh, accountant – tax time’. That’s what I used to think as well, but it’s so much more than being a stereotypical accountant. The CPA Program taught me to think outside the box, to start being a strategic leader and to expand my soft skills. Presentation skills and relationship skills are just as important as crunching numbers. If you’re presented with a problem, often it can’t be answered numerically anyway. The important question is to ask yourself, ‘Why is this happening?’ When something goes wrong the first inclination might be to send an angry email, but there is far more value in going to meet the relevant person, talking to them and finding out their reasoning.
You’re heavily involved in community work, as treasurer of Monash City Church of Christ and the Southern Cross Kids’ Camp; how has becoming a CPA assisted you with this?
The program has laid a solid foundation in outlining the importance of networking and building relationships. Our camps are quite expensive to run, so we are constantly fundraising. A good way to do so is to build connections with people in other organisations so we can obtain much-needed corporate sponsorship. One year we joined up with NAB, EY and a host of local businesses and managed to raise $20,000 from a simple trivia night.
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