Christopher Chan CA - Queensland, Australia
Going to extremes in mentoring and sport
Mentoring and extreme sports don't often go in the same sentence, but Christopher Chan is a leader in both. As a Chartered Accountant, he is happy to share his passion for the profession with students and budding professionals. His other passion is sporting excellence, sportsmanship, courage, safety and endurance, which he pursues as a ninja warrior and parkour competitor and instructor.
Chris, who is the financial controller of the Brisbane-based Australian franchise Fitstop, uses both avenues to influence the next generation to succeed, stay active and to develop mental and physical fortitude.
He has mentored three young accountants through the Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand program and has another still going through it. Independently, he works with five mentees, two of whom are university students, two are Young Chartered Accountants and one is a provisional member. His focus is on clear accountability and career outcomes.
Before working for Fitstop, Chris had roles at TopDeck Travel, YouFoodz, Flight Centre Travel Group and Virgin Australia.
In March 2020, Chris chaired the first Queensland Retail and Travel Finance Community event and recently was involved in the CA ANZ Sharing Knowledge Series on Navigating COVID-19 for Queensland Retail and Travel.
At the first ever virtual CA Program welcome and induction in May 2020, at which he was guest speaker, Chris used gamification to generate an outstanding level of engagement in capturing the Nine Top Tips for CA Program Success.
He has been a keen promoter of Chartered Accounting as a career choice for students for many years and took up mentoring early in his career. He has also created a group that develops athletes for the TV show Ninja Warrior and Obstacle Racing, which he sees as a great way to have fun getting fit.
Sarah Eardley-Wilmot CA - Western Australia, Australia
An advocate for financial independence
Helping women gain financial knowledge and skills is an important focus for Sarah Eardley-Wilmot.
She was one of the members of the West Australian office of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand involved in assisting the not-for-profit organisation, Financial Toolbox Inc. It aims to give women financial independence and freedom of choice throughout their lives.
Sarah is part of a subcommittee, formed by the Young CA panel, to review and present financial material to graduates starting their careers. She has been a WA Young Chartered Accountant committee member since early 2018 and was its Vice Chair in 2019.
As a respected member of the business community in Perth, Sarah has helped make the YCA annual charity quiz night a success and has been instrumental in persuading local businesses to donate prizes.
Other involvement has included assisting with developing the agenda for the Not for Profit Board Experience program when WA conducted the pilot program for several years. She interviewed mentees, approached potential mentors, and is an active supporter of the program by encouraging organisations to participate and contribute.
Sarah is an advocate for all Young CAs in the Western Australian community and is passionate about helping people immerse themselves in all that CA ANZ has to offer.
Sarah has been a part of the Wesfarmers Group since 2017 and is currently working as a Business Analyst at Wesfarmers Chemicals, Energy and Fertilisers. She is responsible for delivering business improvement projects and performing financial analysis. Sarah works closely with the finance team and commercial managers to provide financial analysis, briefing notes and recommendations to management.
Sarah is also an emergency services volunteer with the Australian Red Cross, a member of the Liberal Party of Australia and on the Georgians committee of St George's College, a residential college at the University of WA.
Ryan Hanson CA - New South Wales, Australia
A whiz to keep costs in check
Taking up a summer internship during the university holidays can open all sorts of doors – as it did for Ryan Hanson.
His three-month stint at Commonwealth Bank led to his inclusion in the Graduate Program which consisted of three, eight-month rotations working across multiple areas of the Financial Services division. He has been with the bank ever since and is now a Senior Business Partnering Manager, partnering with the newly formed Chief Data Office in the Information Technology division.
In 2014-16, Ryan completed the graduate diploma of Chartered Accounting with CA ANZ and has been closely involved in CA activities since, particularly in promoting Chartered Accounting as a career choice.
He is a current member of the NSW Young Chartered Accountants Panel and was Chair in 2019. The role of the panel is to identify and implement a variety of initiatives for young CAs to benefit the community and to enrich their professional lives, as well as providing advice and guidance to Regional Council and CA ANZ on issues that relate to the development of Young CAs. In his role as Chair, Ryan had the opportunity to speak in front of the CA ANZ board about his panel experiences and issues effecting Young CAs. Ryan has also had the opportunity to MC the NSW CA ANZ Annual Charity Event and NSW YCA Annual Trivia Event.
During his two years on the CA speaker program, Ryan took on many engagements, speaking at information sessions and panel events at multiple universities, as well as attending networking events in collaboration with student societies. Ryan was able to share his career journey, knowledge of where the CA qualification can take students and tips on applying for internships and graduate programs.
On his LinkedIn page, he says: "My advice to future grads is to take advantage of any opportunities that come your way and never be afraid to ask for help from someone when you need it."
Ryan has been involved in promoting diversity and inclusion at CBA and is also the Graduate Program Manager for Financial Services, organising the program structure and supporting the development of interns and graduates at the bank.
Outside of work, he makes time to learn and develop new skills, network and maintain general fitness, especially through swimming, as growing up he was a national and state medallist in freestyle events.
Joni Pirovich CA - Victoria, Australia
Blockchain & Digital Assets expert
If you want to know about cryptocurrencies, Joni Pirovich is your person. In addition to being a Chartered Accountant, Joni is also a tax lawyer at Mills Oakley in Melbourne where she focuses on the intersection of emerging technologies and the law.
Joni is recognised in the industry as an expert in the legal and tax implications of blockchain and digital assets and is often called upon to speak at conferences and write technical papers, including for CA ANZ and for the Tax Institute of Australia. From a policy perspective, Joni has participated in roundtables for the Australian Government's review of initial coin offerings and was a delegate to the OECD's Global Blockchain Policy Forum in Paris in 2019. Joni has also made legal policy submissions to the Reserve Bank of Australia and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission. Due to her significant contributions to the industry, Joni was one of the first people to be awarded a fellowship by Blockchain Australia.
In addition, Joni has been an industry mentor for the RMIT Online blockchain business strategy course since its inception in 2018 and has assisted with the development of RMIT Online's graduate certificate in emerging technologies and the law.
From March 2019 until May 2020, Joni was a member of the Victorian corporate advisory panel of CA ANZ and a key member of the organisation's Victorian education sub-committee focusing on improving links with universities. Joni has a particular interest in making education more practical and connected with real opportunities in the market for students to understand the impact of technology and the pace of change on their profession.
Joni's consistent message to young professionals is to attain excellence in accountancy in the first few years of their career, and to build on that by exploring emerging technologies and obtaining digital skills.
Joni volunteers her time to several initiatives to support policy development for emerging technologies, young professionals and women in law and accounting. Joni is currently assisting with the development of a diversity and inclusion policy for Blockchain Australia as well as various community building tasks as a founding member of the Digital Law Association.
Andrew Chan CA - Hong Kong
Risk analysis with a twist
Assessing risk could hardly be more important than it is in these uncertain times and Andrew Chan has made a speciality of it. Andrew has more than 15 years of experience in finance, audit, and risk management in Australia and Hong Kong, is a mentor for Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand, and a committee member and a regional councillor for the organisation in Hong Kong.
Andrew completed a Bachelor of Commerce (accounting and marketing) degree at the University of New South Wales and started his career as an auditor at Ernst & Young.
He moved on to the Audit Office of NSW and, to broaden his experience, took on a financial consulting role at Deloitte, where he advised clients from a diverse range of industries. He relocated to Hong Kong in 2013, where he was the lead fraud investigator for a listed litigation fund.
He moved on to Hong Kong and Shanghai Hotels where he helped set up a global risk system across the group. Andrew became fascinated by risk and in 2016 led the group risk management team at Dairy Farm Group, which operates supermarkets, convenience stores, restaurant chains and home furnishing shops across Asia.
Most recently, Andrew was the vice president of global risk management at PCCW, a global company that has interests in telecommunications, media, IT solutions, property development and investment.
But there is another side to Andrew, away from the serious business of risk management, he is a keen movie lover and a professional member of the Film Critics Circle of Australia. He has travelled the world to attend film festivals in Venice, New York, Busan and Jeonju in South Korea and Beijing.
Yoon Huat Tan - Malaysia
Focus on budding accountants
Encouraging the younger generations' interest in accountancy as a profession has become a passion for Yoon Huat Tan.
Yoon has been a founding partner in YH Tan & Associates in Kuala Lumpur since 2010. Before that he worked for Ernst & Young for four years where he was an Auditor.
He did his bachelor's degree in Commerce at Melbourne University and a Master of Business Administration at Alliance Manchester Business School in the United Kingdom.
Since 2014, Yoon has been involved with the regional council of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand, of which he is now a regional chair. In that role, he regularly represents the organisation at conferences, seminars and other functions.
He has made a significant contribution to CA ANZ and the community through mentoring and sharing his experiences with the younger generation of accountants. He also mentors final-year students at the University of Melbourne.
Scott Haumaha CA - Lower North Island, New Zealand
Great supporter of budding accountants
For Scott Haumaha, helping other young accountants pursue and develop their careers is an important aspect of everything he does. He is especially enthusiastic about making students aware of the many opportunities available to Chartered Accountants and supporting them in their ambitions. He is part of highly regarded mentoring team for budding accountants.
Scott, who is a financial adviser at wealth management firm Tailorednz based in Palmerston North, joined the Manawatu Young Accountants Group in 2011 while he was still finishing his degree at Massey University. At that time, he was also working for Naylor Lawrence & Associates, a CA firm.
Scott quickly joined the YAG committee and has been chair since 2015. He is active in organising events for young accountants in the Manawatu area and has a strong relationship with Massey University having presented and facilitated various workshops to students on several occasions.
Another important focus for Scott is his involvement as treasurer of the Camellia House Trust, a safe haven for women and their children that offers temporary accommodation and support services to enable women into independence. During his time in the role he has provided guidance and support with the update of the trust's strategic plan.
Scott was the keynote speaker at an employer evening hosted at Te Papa, Wellington, that focused on connecting employers with tertiary students based in the Lower North Island. He also volunteered to represent the Lower North Island region at the trans-Tasman young accountants and regional representatives teleconference series, which explores ways to activate the young CA membership and to spread best practice in Australia and New Zealand.
He is well known in his community and offers financial seminars and workshops to help increase financial literacy. He has also held other governance roles including Manawatu Golf Club Inc, Toastmasters and Business Network International (BNI).
Cory Pearson CA - South Island, New Zealand
Mentor advocate and enthusiastic volunteer
Cory Pearson entered the first CA ANZ Mentor Exchange in 2018 and found the role of mentee so rewarding that a year later he returned as a mentor for the next year's group. He says his mentee experience gave him clarity about his career path, taught him how to operate more effectively and to think more strategically.
Cory is a financial and management accountant at Scott Technology, an innovative Dunedin company which is listed on the NZX and has more than 700 employees worldwide. His strong commitment to CA ANZ is illustrated in his significant involvement in committees from an early stage and later in his expanding engagement in community activities.
He began his involvement with Young Chartered Accountants in Auckland which, at the time, was suffering a downturn in YA activity and interest. He was part of the committee that revitalised the group and was its chair for two years.
An opportunity to illustrate his community interest was presented in 2019 after settling in Dunedin. It wasn't easy to get to know his new city's habits and character and to feel at home, so he set up the New to Dunedin Network. This is a not-for-profit organisation that helps newcomers get to know their new locale and to make connections. Local businesses and education providers support it and Cory regularly hosts networking events.
He is also on the volunteer loans committee of Ngā Tāngata Microfinance, a registered charity and company that makes interest-free loans as an ethical alternative to high-cost lenders.
Cory volunteers as a Chartered Accountant at Dunedin Community Accounting, which provides free financial advice to not-for-profit organisations. Accountancy students gain work experience and the CAs provide oversight.
Portia Smith CA - Central North Island, New Zealand
A passion for utilising technology to streamline business processes
Portia Smith describes herself as a problem solver who likes to help businesses improve their processes.
Her passion is discovering and using apps that streamline various tasks and functions. She loves the challenge of learning new tools and digitising business processes to make her clients' operations easier and efficient.
Portia is a business adviser at Velocite Ltd, a Chartered Accountancy Firm in New Plymouth on the west coast of New Zealand's North Island. She was part of the team that developed a chatbot that pulled together all Velocite's knowledge about subsidies to help New Zealand businesses and provide immediate practical advice during the COVID-19 pandemic - and the team did it in 12 hours!
Portia has worked at Velocite for nearly two years. Before that, for three years, she worked at PwC where she was a Senior Associate.
She is a strong advocate for CA ANZ and has had a long association with Taranaki Young Professionals where she has been President since November 2018. The organisation hosts entrepreneurial and inspirational business speakers and events. It is aimed at people in the first 15 years of their career – no matter what their field or profession – and hopes to encourage young skilled professionals to stay in the region.
As well as her leading role at Taranaki Young Professionals, her community involvement includes being Treasurer of the Little Fighters Trust during 2018 and 2019. Portia also helped to develop a board governance training program involving Taranaki Young Professionals, Bishops Action Foundation and The Wheelhouse aimed at giving young people in Taranaki an opportunity to join a local board and upskill.
Rachel Yang CA - Auckland/ Northland, New Zealand
Mentor for new comers to New Zealand
Finding ways to help enterprises from non-New Zealand cultures to navigate their way through the NZ tax system is a promising business plan that seems to have paid off for Rachel Yang.
Rachel founded Ysquared Chartered Accountants in Auckland in 2016. Most of her work involves providing business advice, tax planning, tax debt negotiation and managing disputes with Inland Revenue. She has created a smartphone app for New Zealanders to calculate how much they owe on goods and services tax (GST) and pay as you earn (PAYE). She also works with businesses to ensure they comply with the requirements of the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) legislation.
Rachel's company Ysquared Chartered Accountants was the 2019 finalist for the Westpac Auckland Business Award in two categories: excellence in strategy and planning; excellence in marketing. A year before the company was the finalist in the excellence in community contribution. Since becoming a full CA ANZ member, Rachel has been involved in training and guiding mentees and helping provisional members acquire the professional skills and competencies for full membership.
She is a mentor for the Women Mentoring Programme and Workplace Insight Programme at the University of Auckland, and she is the organiser of the University's Chinese Alumni entrepreneurship series of seminars for the last five years.
As part of her membership of CA ANZ, Rachel has been a panellist for events for Chinese accountants and a seminar on safe study abroad for Chinese students.
After graduating from the University of Auckland – with a bachelor's degree in commerce and a Masters in legal studies, majoring corporate and commercial law – Rachel has worked for Inland Revenue, Commonwealth Bank of Australia in Auckland, Sovereign, and AIA.
Jessica Leyland - United Kingdom
From Brisbane to the BBC in a leap
From a Senior Auditor job in Brisbane to a financial leadership role at the BBC in the UK is not the usual pathway for a young Chartered Accountant.
But that was the route for Jessica Leyland. She was seconded for three months to Toronto, Canada, while working for Pitcher Partners. That inspired her to move to London in 2013, where she started work for the BBC.
She became Head of Finance for independent productions at BBC Studios (BBCS), the commercial arm of the BBC group, in 2018. She provides financial and business support across the division that comprises the 15 British independent production companies in which the BBC has an equity stake.
She is also an active promoter of wellbeing including being a trained mental health first aider. Further to this, Jessica is an accredited trainer and holds seminars with non-finance BBCS staff to introduce them to the mysteries of finance.
Jessica has been a member of CA ANZ since 2012 and an active member of the UK council since moving to London. She contributes to young member events through her council membership including being a panellist at a 2019 Career Insight event and particularly encouraging participation in the CA ANZ mentoring program.
Mentoring has been an important aspect of her contribution and in 2019/20 she was involved in the CA ANZ program to help accountants at the early stage of their careers and has signed on again for 2020/21. She also mentors two accountants outside the program.
Jessica volunteers for the Access Project, an education charity that helps bright but disadvantaged students to get in to top universities.
During the COVID-19 lockdown, Jessica has led the compilation of work-life balance feedback to present to senior leadership to determine what action is needed.
Latest young CA award winners show profession is in "great hands"
The quality of young CAs from Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong picked as the latest Young Regional Advocates shines through.Read more