Twelve months earlier I had resigned from my long held (17 years) clerical position with the Victorian Producers Co-op (VPC).
I had sought a change because I felt that I was not reading my full potential in the work force. I had transferred to a position with an associated Insurance company, Producers and Citizens Co-op.
This turned out to be a dreadful mistake as I was to find that I was totally unsuited to that profession, and had placed myself in an extremely stressful situation.
In desperation, after some 12 months drudgery, and without another job to go to, I resigned!! My attempts to find another job were fruitless. As a newly wed, I faced the daunting task of telling my bride that I was unemployed.
Some years earlier, in my single days, I had joined the Lion's Club and got to know Jim Smith, a Chartered Accountant. So, I considered it appropriate to ask him if he had a client who was looking for a clerical assistant. He told me to give him a week to find out.
On calling back in 7 days I was told "I have no such a client, BUT a vacancy has arisen in my firm. Would you care to accept the position?"
- - - - THE LIFE CHANGING MOMENT - - - -
I gladly accepted! I commenced on 30th June 1967, at a salary of $60 per week.
There had been no mention of qualifying as an accountant, but 12 months later, after familiarising myself with the requirements of the Income Tax Assessment Act and general book-keeping procedures, I registered as a "mature aged student" with the Hemingway Robertson Institute for a correspondence course.
Parallel to this course, I travelled weekly for 6 months to Melbourne (6pm to 10pm) for instruction; three sessions per week for 12 months to the Bendigo Institute of Technology (now LaTrobe University) to study the Australian Society of Accountants Auditing course; after some years, 12 months of monthly 9am to 9pm courses at Albury for the Chartered Institute's "Professional Year" and finally, "the weekend from Hell in Sydney".
After a total of 7 long years I was now CPA and a Chartered Accountant, advancing to "Fellow" some 4 years later.
I was now qualified to practice as a Chartered Accountant and could enter a practice with Jim. I would need to buy a share in Jim's business. BUT ..... I had no money!
The going price for an accountancy practice was (and I think, still is) dollar for dollar for fees earned in a year.
Jim was responsive to my needs, (and also his own), and we negotiated a deal where I initially purchased a one-third share. When the debt was paid out, this would increase to a one-half share. This was achieved by monthly instalments.
And so the Chartered Accountancy practice of SMITH O'SHANNESSY became a reality!
The LIFE CHANGING MOMENT had materialised.
5th February 2024