After spending 17 & ½ years in the workforce I changed jobs and went to a public accounting practice in Benalla on 30th June 1967. This action went the way to fulfilling the advice given to me by a specialist several years earlier, when he advised me to “study accounting and work for yourself”.
My first twelve months were spent familiarising myself with the accounting practice and particularly the requirements of the Australian Taxation Office. On 1st July 1968, in pursuit of this objective, I commenced, by correspondence, the study of accountancy.
Subsequently I graduated as an accountant, and in February 1974, at the age of almost 42 years, I was admitted as an Associate of the Australian Society of Accountants . At this stage, as a qualified accountant, I deemed it appropriate to approach my boss to become a partner in the business. He considered my approach favourably and agreed to invite me to become a partner with 33 1/3rd % interest I in the practice, but…….wait for it…….. on the condition that I become a chartered accountant.
At that time, many people in the accounting profession considered, rightly or wrongly, that chartered accountants were a superior race.
Anxious to fulfil my destiny, I agreed, and after the most arduous year of study, I was granted admission to the Institute of Chartered Accountants in July 1975.
I had therefore fulfilled the condition placed on me, and purchased, on terms, a 33 1/3rd % of the business. In 1979, having paid off the terms, I increased this share to 50%, again needing to borrow funds to do so.
Business progressed well, and within a short space of time we opened a branch office in Yarrawonga.
Our number one client was the Co-Operative Housing Society Group for which my partner and I were the joint secretaries/administrators.
Over the lifetime of the Group we managed 15 societies and financed in excess of 500 homes in the Benalla district. I was in charge of the administration.
Other clients were businesses, farmers and taxpayers. We also conducted a number of audits, including the Benalla Hospital and the Cooinda Retirement Village.
The practice prospered.
We employed 7 or 8 staff with an efficient office manager. However, in 1985 he became over zealous and defrauded us of a significant amount of money, principally Housing Society funds.
Fortunately, our insurance company came to the party and repaid the default, but not until three years had passed. I took responsibility over the litigation and, with the burden of the time factor and this responsibility, I experienced a major break-down. This limited my contribution to the future operations of the practice.
Business continued satisfactorily until 1993 when we were hit by a flood, with water going through our premises at desk height. This caused a significant financial loss and the office was closed for three weeks. Insurance did not cover a large portion of this loss, due to the debatable definition of “flood water”.
Subsequently we continued to operate satisfactorily until 1995, when, thanks to succession planning, we sold out to my partner’s eldest son.
I continued as a consultant until the year 2000 when I eventually retired.
I am very proud to have been part of a successful business in Benalla, but again would say that it wasn’t a brilliant career.