Canada: Sent From Yellowknife, NWT To Armidal, AU
Crowe MacKay Secondment
Last Updated: August 2 2019

Being a part of the Crowe Global, the eighth largest accounting network in the world, means our professionals have global opportunities. With over 200 independent accounting and advisory firms in more than 130 countries, there's no telling where our team members may travel to.

Our Yellowknife office is very active in connecting with other member firms and sending professionals on secondments. Recently, Yellowknife has formed close relations with Crowe Australia and have been sending their professionals on three-month work terms.

Johnathon Hiscock and Alissa Sullivan traveled to Armidale, Australia for their secondments in 2018. They were both looking to challenge themselves professionally and personally and recognized working with Crowe Australia would do just that. With a love for traveling, this was an experience they could not say no to. Johnathon and Alissa share the highlights of their secondments and experiencing the Aussie culture.

Calling Armidale Home

Johnathon enjoyed getting to know the audit team in Armidale and in surrounding offices. He emerged himself in their culture and learned the Crowe Australia methodology and efficiencies that create successful client relationships; new perspectives that he can incorporate in his practice in Yellowknife.

"I was able to travel throughout the interior of New South Wales and see places that many traditional tourists would never make it too. I traveled over 7,000 km by car during my three-month secondment."

For Alissa, she enjoyed learning new techniques and approaches to audits compared to what she was used to in the Northwest Territories. Some of the accounts she dealt with were golf clubs, bowling clubs, nursing homes, affordable housing organization, foster care organizations, and real estate trusts.

"The highlights of my trip included getting to know the amazing staff at Crowe Horwath, traveling to rural communities on jobs, and seeing lots of kangaroos and koalas!"

Overcoming Obstacles Across Sea's

While some may think it's all ocean and sunshine in the land down under, Alissa and Johnathon had to navigate through some obstacles on their secondments. For Alissa, a turn of events occurred during her secondment, when four team members left the firm during busy season.

"This required that I take on a much larger role than anticipated in order to stay on schedule and meet deadlines. This was overcome by taking much more ownership over files, staying organized, prioritizing, and of course – working overtime."

While for Johnathan, trying to consume all the new information related to Australian accounting standards and policies was his hurdle.

"The biggest struggle at first was learning some of the Australian accounting standards and policies. Specifically, the annual leave and long service leave employee benefit liabilities that have to be calculated at year-end. This was my first time seeing anything quite like that."

Through this experience, it reinforced for Johnathon the value of a team.

"I was able to learn thanks to the dedicated and patient staff at the Armidale office who coached me through the process as I became more competent and confident in their processes."

Indulging in Culture

Every office has their routines and traditions, and Armidale was no exception.

Alissa reminisces about what she calls 'the annual pre-busy season team meeting.' This included reviewing changes since the last busy season, discussing the firm's financial progress, doing team building activities, collaborating on ideas for efficiency, discussing ways to manage the stress of busy season, and (let's not forget) learning yoga and stretches that you can do at your desk.

"This was a great way for us as secondees to get to know the staff and was great for morale!

As Alissa talks about in-office customs, Johnathon recounts learning Aussie culture outside of the office. What started as an invitation to enjoy 'pies,' he quickly learnt was a social outing.

"My biggest surprise was when the guys went for "pies". To me, being Canadian, that is a sweet tasty desert that you have after a meal. To Australians, a pie can be for breakfast, lunch, or dinner and it can have nearly anything in it, similar in nature to chicken pot pies, but Australians are a lot more creative with them."

It didn't take long for Johnathon to jump on the pie wagon. He shares how grateful he is to have "worked with some great people who included [him] in their events outside of work," allowing him to learn their customs.

The Opportunity

Since returning, the two adventurist's have only positive comments about their work experience, and a few words of wisdom.

"For anyone considering a secondment opportunity within any of the Crowe offices, my advice is this, do it. It provides you with such an amazing opportunity to grow professionally and to visit a place you may have never considered possible before." – Johnathon Hiscock

"I would definitely recommend that anyone who has an opportunity to embark on a secondment with Crowe to plan as much possible before you go and be prepared for any weekend travel you want to do. You are going to want to make the most out of your time away and it helps to have travel planned in advance so you don't have to worry about it during the work week." – Alissa Sullivan

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