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James Vitali

The best part about my job is knowing that the work I am doing is helping many hard working small business owners and families.

What's your job about?

ShineWing Australia is an accountancy and advisory firm that has offices in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. I work in the Melbourne office within the firm’s Business and Private Client Advisory (BPCA) division as a graduate consultant. 

A typical day as a BPCA consultant will be assisting your team with the taxation and accounting compliance needs of our clients. The clients in BPCA are mainly small to medium businesses, as well as high net-worth families.  

There is no typical day due to the variety of tasks that might need to be completed, however a typical week will consist of:

  • Tax Returns and Financial statements for Companies, Trusts and Individuals
  • ASIC company secretarial forms which the firm lodges/sends on behalf of clients
  • BAS/IAS statements (Monthly, Quarterly, Yearly).

All the work completed will generally be checked by a senior consultant/manager before it is then further reviewed by your team’s partner and then sent to the client for signature/lodgement.

One of the most interesting parts of the role is seeing how different families structure their tax affairs to achieve the most optimal financial outcome. Furthermore, it is very pleasing when you see a business perform very well financially, as you feel like the work you are doing is playing an important role in helping the client reach their financial goals. 

What's your background?

I grew up in suburban Melbourne and have lived here all my life, it is by far the best city in the world (no bias!). 

Growing up, I always enjoyed my schooling years, and in particular university studies. During university I was fortunate enough to complete a work experience placement which gave me insight into the accounting profession, and confirmed that I wish to pursue a long-term career in business/accounting. 

I first started at ShineWing Australia as a summer vacationer in December 2018, in which I was fortunate enough to be offered a graduate position upon completion of my degree. I have been working as a graduate consultant for roughly 8 months now since March 2020. 

I would say the work experience and internship programs that I have partaken in has played a major role in helping me decide where I want to go in my career. I strongly advise anyone not sure on what to do with their life to at least participate in some form of professional work experience, no matter what it is. 

Could someone with a different background do your job?

Yes. Whilst it may be difficult to understand accounting and tax principles if you do not come from an accounting background, it is not impossible. There are in fact many people that only have law degrees that do work in accounting firms due to the requirement of interpreting tax legislation.

Furthermore, the CA/CPA programs do offer bridging courses for those that do not have an accounting background, so whilst it does require more work, it certainly is not impossible to become an accountant if you did not major in accounting at university.

I believe attention to detail, communication and a positive mindset are some of the most important characteristics/skills one should have when it comes to working at ShineWing Australia. The tasks given to a graduate/intern might not always be necessarily the most exciting tasks (as with any graduate job), however it’s important to acknowledge that every single task does provide value to the clients, and therefore, should be done to the best of your ability.

What's the coolest thing about your job?

The best part about my job is knowing that the work I am doing is helping many hard working small business owners and families. Small business plays a major part in helping Australia function as an economy, so I feel very privileged to work in a profession that is geared towards helping this sector of the economy. It is also interesting to see how high net-worth families structure their financial and tax affairs, and provides valuable insight to anyone who has a personal interest in how to effectively manage wealth. 

What are the limitations of your job?

The biggest challenge a graduate accountant in public practice will probably face is balancing full-time work with CA/CPA studies. There are certainly some days where I feel tired from working and studying, so it is important to acknowledge that you are only human and you can only try your best. You will have friends in other professions/industries that do not require this much time and commitment, so it is a sacrifice that one needs to think about.

Like any job, there is a particular steep learning curve at the start, so the first few months will seem very tiring as you are trying to learn everything as quickly as possible.

3 pieces of advice for yourself when you were a student...

  1. Stop comparing yourself to others - It does not matter whether you work at a small/medium/large firm, any experience is good experience.
  2. Drop your ego - Going to university does not alone prove you have the skills to work in a professional environment. The real learning starts when you step foot in the office.
  3. Go with your gut - Do not follow career paths based on what everyone else does. Try something that you seem naturally interested in and go from there.