- James returned to public practice because he was interested in how it has changed
- He says being in governance roles is important, especially for new CAs
- He says the local committee ensures members are supported and never feel isolated
James chairs the Southland committee comprising of Zoe Graham, Shay de Groot, Aaron Higham, Sheree Marrah, Brad Phillips, Mark Hamilton and Joanne Thomson.
After long stints at commercial giants BHP Billiton and Fonterra, James Harvey returned to public practice in his home district of Southland in 2016, invigorated by the changing profession.
"Being a CA really set me up for being in senior roles in those major companies," he says. "It's not just the technical skills, it's about the leadership skills and experience you gain when you're working towards the qualification."
Since qualifying as a CA in 2008, James says he's seen significant changes in the scope of accountancy practice, as well as how it is perceived by the public.
"It's no longer the boring stereotype, the old tax returns and accounts," he says. "It's forward-looking, and a lot more about risk and other really exciting ideas."
"I came back to public practice because I've seen the roles becoming far more exciting for the young ones coming through."
That shift has also seen a growing demand for CAs, and James says having the qualification means you are "always on someone's list to talk to".
"A really key role of being a CA is giving back to the community," he says.
"And being a CA means you have this high level of credibility, so you are always in high demand to get involved in governance."
James says getting involved in governance is an important part of being a CA.
"You might start with supporting a not-for-profit, in a sec-retary or treasurer role," he says, "but you have to do things for the community, and get that experience so you can start to broaden your horizons to bigger roles."
James is a mentor for Business Mentors New Zealand, the director of YMCA Invercargill, and serves on the commit-tee of the Head Injury Society Southland Inc. He's also the chair of the Southland Local Committee for CAANZ, and says the group works hard to support and engage with members of the region.
"We share a lot of ideas and come up with initiatives to promote the CAANZ brand," he says. "We also really want to make sure we know what's going on in Southland, and organise events for our members to make sure they're supported."
"That's really the best thing about being part of CAANZ," he says. "You never feel isolated; you can be a sole practitioner but you know there's all this support out there for you."
Local Committees (LCs) are groups representing New Zealand members in 15 local areas around the country.Find out more
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