- Early career accountant Ellen Millington CA returned to university to study forensic accounting
- A skills gap analysis showed further education would open up new opportunities in her career
- Her mentor advises that networking is about taking a genuine interest in other people’s careers
An important career step for Ellen Millington was to start postgraduate study last year at Macquarie University.
She hopes her Graduate Diploma in Forensic Accounting will give her new skills and open up opportunities, so that she's not pigeon-holed into a role in 10 or 20 years' time.
Millington's first job out of university was in external audit at Nexia, a mid-tier accounting firm, where she also completed her CA. She then decided to move into internal audit which changed her career trajectory, and after getting a job at Boral working as an Internal Auditor, she was promoted to an Internal Audit Senior. Then she moved into the telecommunications industry where she's now an Internal Audit Manager at TPG Telecom Limited.
"There's such a wide variety of audits I'm working on. Every week I'm coming across so many different people and topics, that it just keeps my role interesting."
Although she's moved through several jobs in her six year career, Millington says she made the changes purposefully.
"I'm quite calculated when it comes to taking risks, I'm not just going to take an opportunity as soon as it arises without thinking about it. I think about whether it is going to get me where I want to end up with my career, and if it is, then the risk is worth it."
"A great piece of advice I received from one partner was 'as an accountant, your knowledge is your greatest asset. If you don't keep up to date with trends in the industry, then you're going to fall behind.'"
Every time she makes a career move, Millington does a skills' gap analysis to see how her current skills fit with the role. She fills any gaps by upskilling with LinkedIn learning videos or YouTube videos.
Looking to the future, Millington can already see that technology will be the biggest driver of change. She never learned data analytics skills at university so she's had to teach herself and take courses.
She also has a mentor who's encouraged her to continuously ask questions of everyone she meets in the workplace.
'I've learned that networking is not necessarily meeting people who will give you a job done the line, it's about genuinely taking an interest in people and in their career, and what they have done, what they have achieved, and how they have got to where they are."
Her skills gap analysis led her to her postgraduate course and she's trying hard to keep a balance between full time work and study.
"I set time in my diary on specific afternoons after work to do my uni work. However, sometimes if I need to be flexible within a particular week I am, because my mental health is incredibly important, and I don't want to burn out."
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