Leading by example
Finance manager, Columbus Coffee
A combination of practical experience and a qualification through the Open Polytechnic, New Zealand’s distance learning specialist, is what helped Daniel Egan achieve his career goals to date.
Daniel, who graduated from the Open Polytechnic with a Bachelor of Business, majoring in Accounting in 2008 is now a Senior Supervising Accountant at Chatfield and Co. Chartered Accountants in Auckland.
He is currently an Associate Chartered Accountant and is completing the final requirements to become a Chartered Accountant.
“My study has been essential in helping me reach my professional goals and my degree from the Open Polytechnic has been essential in getting to this stage,” Daniel says, adding that distance study was the best option for him to gain both theoretical knowledge and practical experience, which he believes has set him apart from other applicants when moving up the career ladder.
“After studying accounting at school, I had made the decision to become a Chartered Accountant. I started working for an accounting firm in Napier and decided to start studying. I chose distance learning due to the ability to continue working full time, gaining valuable experience, while also working towards my academic qualification,” explains Daniel.
“I believe that the combination of all the years of experience, plus my degree were the combined factors that helped me get the roles I applied for as I moved forward in my career. Clients want to see your qualifications and employers want to see your experience when it comes to interacting with clients. I wouldn’t have been able to get the senior role I am in without the practical experience I have had.”
Daniel says that the non-accounting skills he learnt in his degree were just as important as the accounting and finance theory he learnt.
“I found the general business courses very useful. Courses in areas such as communication, management and business ethics have all been very helpful in my career. I’ve found employers are particularly interested in these areas, as although you may study accounting, you also need the ability to communicate ideas well and solve problems for clients,” says Daniel.
“I think working with clients and helping them solve problems, achieve their goals and in the process making their lives easier is the most rewarding aspect of my current role. I enjoy seeing businesses grow and working with the client over the years towards positive change.”
Daniel’s goal is to complete his Chartered Accountant qualification through Chartered Accountants New Zealand and Australia this year.
“I think you have to look at study as a marathon, rather than a sprint. Since finishing my degree with the Open Polytechnic I have been working towards my goal of becoming a chartered accountant, working through the exams and compiling a log book with all my experience. It is all about on-going professional development,” says Daniel, adding that for anyone deciding to tackle study, getting started is the most difficult hurdle.
“Once you have made the decision to study, everything else falls into place. If you are working, speak to your employer and look for a mentor who you can ask for advice and who can be a sounding board.”
“I would say the main thing is to get started in the industry you see yourself in, get a feel for what the job entails and re- evaluate where you are at and you can then decide whether or not you are studying towards the right qualification or if you need to change. It is tough, especially to get started, but the rewards when you complete your qualification are definitely worth it.”
My study has been essential in helping me reach my professional goals.