In 1996, Tax Specialist, Sonia was in her final year of university. She had relocated the year before from Maryborough and was living on campus at the University of Southern Queensland. Sonia shares that she had already known for six years that she wanted to be an accountant and when she landed an interview at the firm, she walked into the Duggan Street office nervous but determined.
Former Partners, Mick Cumner and Ian Yeo greeted Sonia warmly and she remembers that they laughed together about the hobbies listed on her resume, which included shopping. Sharing some words of wisdom, they told her that her studies would likely teach her two things she could use in the workplace; to be motivated and organised. Looking back Sonia affirms that this was accurate advice.
Clearly Sonia left a memorable impression and she arrived for her first day on Tuesday, 6 August. Joining the ranks of Mick’s team, she remembers that she wore a lovely, floral dress and spent the day coding an endless pile of bank statements and importing data.
In the early days, Sonia commends the helpful training and mentorship provided by her team which also included Director, Myles and Client Services Officer, Tanya. She shares that getting up-to-speed with using computers took some time as this was not widely taught in her subjects at university. In fact, she opted to take a specialist subject just to gain some practical experience.
A few years into her role and just before GST came into effect, Sonia remembers a defining moment in her career. She travelled with Myles to the regional town of St George and shares that the experience opened her eyes to the real world and provided her with invaluable insight into the businesses of regional clients. With no farming background, Sonia explains that she had relied on her agriculture-savvy colleagues to upskill her in this area and she was often guilty of asking ‘city-girl’ questions.
Sonia says that on the trip they hired a white Holden Commodore and laughs as she recalls that Myles wouldn’t let her drive. Apparently, he claimed that she wasn’t experienced in spotting kangaroos bounding across the highway. She explains that having a personal chauffeur wasn’t all bad except for the day that he almost forgot to provide sustenance. A forgetful moment she says resulted in some hangry comments.
Talking about her time with the firm, Sonia speaks warmly about her experience, her colleagues and firm clients. Her inspiring sense of connectedness and appreciation for those around her are constantly intertwined into her thoughtful anecdotes and stories. She shares that when she started a family, it was her clients that gifted handmade baby blankets and colleagues who surrounded her in the hospital. Beautiful memories she says she will always cherish.
Ten years into her role, Sonia became a mum. In the beginning she had hoped to continue her workload from home but shares this didn’t go according to plan. She dotes that the firm made strides to accommodate her changing needs and she accessed flexible work arrangements, clocking just a few hours a week. She says that this understanding and flexibility played an integral role in her ability to remain with the firm during the years that followed.
Today, Sonia is married with two daughters and lives on a small farm outside of Toowoomba. She still works from home and drops into the office regularly to check in with the team.
Still working with Myles, Sonia admits that after 22 years of service she can’t imagine working with anyone else. She advocates that he is a great boss and listener, and provides impeccable direction not to mention, always notices when a team member has a new outfit or hairstyle. Speaking highly about the stability of the team, Sonia believes that this has played a pivotal role in their excellent retention of clients over the years.
Moving into the future, Sonia says that with her daughters in school, retirement is still a few decades away. With her husband working around the globe, she says that planning for the future is no easy feat. She hopes that in the coming years, they can embark on another cruise and has Alaska and New Zealand at the top of her wish list.