Fleur Chang: Challenging preconceptions of accounting

Fleur Chang always thought her accounting degree would lead her to a career as an Accountant. Instead, she's  experiencing first-hand what it's like to apply her skills in a diverse financial services organisation.
 

Throughout the Macquarie Graduate Program, Fleur Chang has experienced exactly how accounting plays an important role in Macquarie's wider operations.

Fleur always thought she'd end up working for an accounting firm when she completed her Bachelor of Commerce, majoring in accounting and finance.

“That's the main route people with my background take," Fleur explains. “I never thought I would work at an organisation like Macquarie."
 

A different career journey

Macquarie's unique career opportunities piqued her interest while she was still studying. She applied for an internship despite the fact she wasn't sure where her accounting background would fit in the organisation.

“When I came to the interviews I got a better sense of what a career at Macquarie would be like. Hearing about the career paths of people who had been here long term and the experiences they had, convinced me that I really wanted to join this program. What surprised me the most was the interesting opportunities Macquarie provides for growth internally."

Fleur completed a three-month summer internship at Macquarie, working in the tax area of the Finance team. She was then asked if she wanted to work part-time for four months in the Investor Relations team before taking up a position on the Macquarie Graduate Program in 2019. 
 

Internship vs Graduate Program

Fleur works in Financial Control, aligned to the asset management business and supports them through accounting and managing financial data. “Our stakeholders are inside the company," she explains. “We give accounting insights into their transactions and answer any questions the business groups have from a finance perspective."

“The Graduate Program was quite different from the internship," Fleur explains. “The internship was great to get some initial experience and build up my knowledge, whereas my grad year has been more hands-on. I've rotated through different teams across finance and it has allowed me to meet a variety of people and to establish myself within the team."

“As grads, we're not just doing work behind the scenes," Fleur says. “We're in the room, in meetings where decisions are made, and have responsibility from day one. The work we do is important to the teams and therefore the company." 

“Getting that so early on in a career gives you a sense of purpose and a vision of where you could potentially take your career."

Fleur says the highlights of her time with Macquarie include assisting her manager on an improvement initiative and watching it grow, as well as being connected with senior staff and hearing some of the decision making processes.

She has also been able to apply her finance skills through the Graduate Volunteer Network, looking after the flow of funds raised for charity by the Graduates and assisting the network with finance related queries.
 

Insight into the bigger picture

“A lot of people think of accounting as a boring job, where you're sitting at your desk working by yourself but it's completely different here," Fleur says. “You get a lot of interaction with others because they rely on our work and support to do theirs. Through this, you also get an insight into a lot of other things that are going on. My role and the work I do are both really valued."

Changing areas and re-establishing herself in new teams over the rotations of the grad year has been challenging at times. However, Fleur says that being immersed in the work has meant she's learnt very quickly. In fact, she's discovered she has strengths in areas she never realised.

“Generally I'm an introvert so I never thought I'd be good at communication and interaction with stakeholders but I love it. I thought I would be the person working behind a desk, not the one who went out and spoke to people. But that's one of the things I'm doing and I really enjoy it." 
 

A growth mindset

Fleur says the Macquarie culture is very welcoming. Everyone is encouraged to speak up and offer an opinion and this builds confidence in all employees.

“Everyone is open, regardless of how new or senior they are," she says.

In addition to the open culture, Fleur says she's enjoyed the extracurricular activities that she's been involved in on her grad year. 

"I've also really enjoyed the range of networking, social and volunteering events throughout the year and the fact that both work-life balance and flexibility are encouraged."

Now that she's completed the Graduate Program, Fleur believes there are endless opportunities.

“There are so many different groups and businesses within Macquarie and everyone is so encouraging of growth."

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