Advisory Committee

Advisory Committee Members

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Ellery Blackman, CA
Co-Chair, Indigenous Accountants Australia

Assistant Manager (Private Enterprises), KPMG

My story
I am a Butchulla man and I grew up on Kalkadoon country in Mount Isa, North West Queensland. After completing a Bachelor of Commerce at James Cook University in Townsville, I gained a graduate position with a Crowe Horwath member firm in Townsville where I completed the Chartered Accountants Program. During my 5 years at Crowe Horwarth I worked up to Senior Advisor level, gained experience in tax and business advisory and worked with clients in the retail, hospitality, manufacturing, medical, Native Title and cultural heritage industries. I then commenced with Pascoe Partners and worked in the Custodian Services department for two years until moving to my current position at KPMG, where I now provide management and tax accounting services to private clients, working with clients in agriculture, hospitality, mining service, and Indigenous businesses.

Why I think the Indigenous Accountants Australia initiative is important
As Indigenous involvement in the Australian economy continues to grow – thanks to increased workforce participation and the commercial result of Native Title recognition of Traditional Land – the financial capacity of Indigenous communities is increasing. So there’s a need for financial management skills to ensure that the financial capacity that is developed today has a lasting, positive impact for Indigenous Australians.

The Indigenous Accountants Australia initiative will not only help to ensure that Indigenous Australians are represented within the profession, but that the necessary financial management skills are developed by people who understand Indigenous issues.

 

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Dr Kerry Bodle 
Co-Chair, Indigenous Accountants Australia

Lecturer, Department of Accounting, Finance & Economics, Griffith University 

My Story
My journey thus far is one that is typical of most Indigenous people who have experienced the impact of past government policies and practices. My mother is one of the “Stolen Generation” removed from Cherbourg at the age of three. I’ve been married twice and have four children: 42, 37 and twins aged 22. My eldest daughter was born when I was 16 years of age.

At the age of 38, I decided to chase my dream of being a maths teacher. But when it was time to fill out the application form, my eldest daughter said: “Why don’t you take accounting Mum, it pays more and students really want to be at university”. So I enrolled in a Bachelor of Business (Accounting) and graduated in 1998. My dream of being a teacher came to fruition when I was invited to become a sessional accounting teacher in 1999. I decided to complete my Honours in 2003 and became a full-time academic in 2004.

I enrolled in a PhD in 2005 titled ‘The Impact of Changes in the Accounting Standards for Intangible Assets on Financial Ratios: Consequences for Bankruptcy Prediction Models.’ Over the next decade, I really struggled with the writing and research due to the so-called “imposter syndrome”. You believe you are not good enough, that someone will come along and tap you on the shoulder and say, “you don’t belong here”. Anyway, with my grandmother and mother’s strength, I finally was awarded my doctorate in 2013.

I have also developed the new Indigenous business course that provides graduates with knowledge and understanding of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander history and cultures in different business environments. My research interests have evolved to include Indigenous themes such as franchising, business survival, and financial literacy.

One of the major benefits of my time at Griffith University is that I have been able to reconnect with my culture and maintain involvement in Indigenous community, such as the GUMURRII Student Support Unit, the Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Advisory Council, and the Indigenous Research Network.

Why I think the Indigenous Accountants Australia initiative is important

Being one of the first Australian Indigenous accounting academics with a PhD and CPA qualifications, has given me the greatest opportunity to be a part of the IAA initiative. This position allows me to help develop culturally safe pathways between the recruitment of Indigenous students from their communities, graduation from universities and successful employment. I hope that some of the students will go back to their own communities and inspire other students to go to school, and then university, to become accountants.

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Sally Clark
Vice-Chair, Indigenous Accountants Australia

Manager, PwC’s Indigenous Consulting

My story
I attended Leigh Creek Area School in the Northern Flinders of South Australia and the traditional land of my people, the Adnyamathanha people. My first job was as a Bank Clerk for Bank SA and then as a Payroll Clerk for the Electricity Trust of South Australia (ETSA). During my time at ETSA I attained an Associate Diploma in Accounting at Adelaide TAFE and I was promoted to the role of Assistant Accountant and then Business Planning Coordinator in Adelaide.
After a stint with Accounting firm Shearer Eilliss, I stayed at home to care for my young children and studied for a Bachelor of Commerce at the University of South Australia. In my final year, I was employed with the Indigenous Land Corporation as a Project Advisor, working with Indigenous groups in the Northern Territory. My maths teacher steered me into a role at Bank SA and I’ve worked mainly in finance sector roles ever since.

Why I think the Indigenous Accountants Australia initiative is important
It’s my strong belief that the problems faced by Indigenous people in Australia will not be solved by Governments alone and that the private sector must take part in creating employment and training opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) Australians.

By providing more employment opportunities in culturally safe work places and supporting ATSI people to gain a qualification, a greater number of Indigenous agencies, service providers and private enterprises can be managed by Indigenous people, rather than non-Indigenous people, as is the current practice.

Having more Indigenous Accountants in Australia will lead to:

    • More Indigenous CEO’s/CFO’s
    • More Indigenous enterprises
    • Greater Indigenous economic development
    • Indigenous organisations being run by Indigenous people
    • Increased Indigenous employment
    • Increased self determination for Indigenous people
    • Specialist Indigenous practitioners who can provide advice to Indigenous people/businesses
    • Less reliance on Government funds for Indigenous employment and economic development as Indigenous business grows
    • More Indigenous entrepreneurs making a greater impact
    • Greater Indigenous wealth creation in Australia

 

 

 

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Mark Jones
General Manager SA/NT, Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand

My story
I spent the first 13 years of my career in the advertising and marketing profession with Young & Rubicam before moving to the Securities Institute of Australia as Regional Manager SA/NT. Having been with the SIA (now Finsia) for 6 years I moved to Chartered Accountants Australia & New Zealand (CA ANZ) in April 2000. My role at CA ANZ is General Manager SA/NT and I am part of CA ANZ’s national leadership management team. I am on the Advisory Board for the Flinders University Business School and the University of SA Centre for Accounting, Governance and Sustainability as well as a member of the Aboriginal Employment Professional Services Cluster in SA. I have a Bachelor of Business Major in Marketing, a Graduate Diploma of Applied Finance and Investment and a Diploma in Direct Marketing.

Why I think the Indigenous Accountants Australia initiative is important
It is all about building the capacity of Aboriginal people to participate in learning, training and work, matched with building the ability of organisations, in all parts of the profession such as practice and commerce, to employ and develop Aboriginal people. The ultimate aim is to create a sustainable future for Aboriginal communities around Australia through greater financial literacy and self determination due to enhanced business skills.

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Sarah Richards, CPA
Senior Associate, PwC Indigenous Consulting

My story

My journey in accountancy started in high school. I studied accounting in my senior years and then received direct entry into Griffith University. I was offered a cadetship with the Queensland government, which allowed me to study, earn and learn, and in 2011 I graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce (accounting and economics) and accepted a graduate position at the Department of Finance. Mid-way through my graduate year, I received an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander CPA scholarship to start the journey towards becoming a CPA qualified Accountant, which I completed in February 2015.

I chose to pursue an accounting career because there’s such a high demand for accountants in the workforce and I had a natural aptitude for it. Accounting has equipped me with a range of skills that are transferable to countless roles. And because CPA is an internationally recognised qualification, there’s the option to pursue a career overseas.

My placement on the Indigenous Accountants Advisory Committee has reignited my passion for accounting. It also aligns with my desire to do more for my community and provides me with the opportunity to become a role model for future Indigenous accountants.

Why I think the Indigenous Accountants Australia initiative is important
I think this initiative will help to correct the current misconception that being an accountant is a boring career, and it will provide a better understanding about the scope of work accountants actually can do. Becoming an accountant can be beneficial for your community because it equips you with the skills you need to provide financial and project advice about where and how to use funds effectively on community projects.

 

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Adrian Williams
Head of Finance, Property, AMP Capital

My story
My current role is Head of Property Finance at AMP Capital where I’m responsible for providing financial and analytical support in property, asset and development management.

As a member of the Property Leadership team, an important part of my role is contributing to the strategic direction and growth of the business. I truly enjoy the wide range of opportunities a role such as mine provides and I feel engaged and empowered to make a difference to our business.

I joined AMP Capital in 2007 after six years at Jones Lang LaSalle where I was National Director of Finance, Lease Administration and Compliance. Prior to that, I held a number of senior finance roles at Fairfax and was part of a Project Team delivering cultural, system and process change to a Government organisation. In all of these roles I gained significant experience leading large finance teams through major cultural and system change programs.

Finance and Accounting has changed dramatically since I started work in 1986. Along the way I’ve been fortunate enough to work with a number of inspiring leaders and learnt from each experience. It’s a privilege to be Head of Finance and to have the opportunity to direct, drive, influence, challenge and support people at all levels of my organisation.

Throughout my career I’ve been involved in a range of other roles outside of my Finance career. Currently I’m a Board Member for Gallery 4A, a Contemporary Asian Art Gallery in Chinatown Sydney. I’ve also had stints teaching English to migrant families in my local area and worked for Red Cross in my local hospital.

Why I think the Indigenous Accountants Australia initiative is important
I think IAA has the potential to be an important contributor to the cultural development and strength of our country. It has the potential to widen opportunities and provide strength to Indigenous people, their families and their communities. It will also weave Indigenous wisdom into the decision making of Finance and Accounting teams across corporate Australia.

Some of the specific benefits for Indigenous Australians could be:

      • Improved money management and financial skills
      • Greater financial independence
      • The ability to be actively involved in financial decisions that impact Indigenous people, families, communities and businesses
      • A better understanding of career and lifestyle options created through Accounting and finance knowledge
      • Improved strength and independence of Indigenous Communities through decreased reliance on non-Indigenous Australians for the provision of Accounting expertise
      • Use of Accounting skills as a springboard to broader careers in business, community or government
      • Development of personal financial skills to assist in enriching the lives and affairs of individuals, families, communities and businesses
      • Development of new Indigenous Australian role models

 

Damien FoleyDamien Foley
Director, Foley Business Management

My Story
I am a Gumbaynggirr man raised on Dunghatti country in Kempsey, NSW. Currently I’m the Director of Foley Business Management, a bookkeeping and consulting business based in Brisbane.

I’ve had a professional career as an accountant in both public practice and commercial since completing my Bachelor of Commerce at University of Newcastle. I subsequently joined the family business and have been involved in the Indigenous business sector since my role as Treasurer of the South East Queensland Indigenous Chamber of Commerce in 2010. I’ve been invited to sit on numerous community boards and business committees and I’m a graduate of the Melbourne Business School ‘Murra Indigenous Entrepreneurs Program’.

I’ve spoken at various conferences and seminars around Australia on the subject of Indigenous business and accounting, including Yulkum Jerrang – Melbourne, Aboriginal Enterprise in Mining Energy and Exploration – Perth, Reconciliation Week Business Seminars – Brisbane, ASIC Indigenous Financial and Commercial Literacy Workshop – Darwin, Chartered Accountants Australia New Zealand Business Forum- Brisbane, CPA Australia Congress – Sydney, Interdepartmental Accounting Group (Queensland Government) – Gold Coast, and most recently the Indigenous Accounting and Business Conference in Melbourne.

Some of the projects I’ve managed during my career include the Indigenous Business Student and Employer Networking Event (Brisbane 2015, 2016 & Newcastle 2015), Indigenous Accountants Informal Lunches- Australia wide (2015), South East Queensland Indigenous Chamber of Commerce NAIDOC Breakfast (2013, 2015), Indigenous Business ‘Meet The Buyers’ QLD Resource Sector (2012).

Why I Think the Indigenous Accountants Australia initiative is important

There is a clear need for greater representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in the financial sector. There is incredible demand for Indigenous business, with few Indigenous accountants being able to provide professional services to them.

The Indigenous Accountants Australia’s aim is to increase the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander accountants, making it an important initiative to improve the outcomes for not only Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, their family and their community, but to all Australians through the improvement of economic development outcomes.

 

 

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