1948 to 2018: Celebrating 70 years
From humble beginnings in 1948, our firm is proud to be celebrating 70 years of serving the Toowoomba, Darling Downs and surrounding communities. Please join us as we take a look back in time, remember years passed and highlight the journey we have made across the decades. Read stories from past and present staff and join the conversation on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn as we unveil our favourite photos and memories. Do you have stories or memorabilia to share? Please get in touch, we would love to include them as part of our birthday celebrations.
Toowoomba in the 1960s. It was a time when women wore hats, men sported knee-high socks and Lennons Hotel on Ruthven Street was the glitz and glamour of the Toowoomba social scene.
For local teenager, Robyn the sixties were about more than platform heels and a youth-driven cultural revolution. It was the decade she swapped her school books for a typewriter and embarked on what would blossom into a 50-year career.
It was 2003 when Senior Tax Specialist, Sarah joined the ranks at the firm. A year when the popular reality television series, The Block debuted on our screens, Guy Sebastian topped the Aria charts and across the Pacific Ocean, Arnold Schwarzenegger was hailed the new Governor of California.
Down-to-earth, candid and methodical are three terms that spring to mind when describing Tax Advisor, Anna. She joined the ranks at the firm in mid-2002, a time when Apple was releasing their second generation iPod, Sanyo was wowing the market with the first mobile phone with a built-in camera and singer, Avril Lavigne was topping the charts with her hit song, Complicated.
Excellence. It’s a trait we all strive to achieve and for some, a journey they proudly conquer. Author, Ralph Marston quoted, ‘Excellence is not a skill. It’s an attitude.” And there is something about these wise words that ring true when talking with Client Services Officer, Lauren.
Turning back the clock to 1983 and life in Australia was vastly different. A mere $55,525 would buy you a house in a leafy Brisbane suburb, a loaf of bread would set you back $0.54 and you would earn around $319 a week working full-time. It was during the same year that infamous businessman, Allan Bond was celebrating a historical win at the America’s Cup; philanthropist, Dick Smith completed the first solo helicopter flight around the globe; and on a family grain farm on the Darling Downs, former Partner, Allan Rother was trading in his farm boots for a calculator, pencil and coding sheet.
It was almost four decades ago to the day when Director, Mark arrived at the steps of McConachie Stedman for his first day on the job. Graduating from St Mary’s College just three days prior, Mark had arranged to join the ranks as the new office junior.
Director, Ben might be one of the newer firm leaders on the block but when it comes to his dedication to his team, vision for the future and ambition for the firm, he has an unwavering commitment.
It was 2007 when Tax Specialist, Kelly made the career move to McConachie Stedman. The same year Apple made headlines with the launch of the first iPhone and 90s pop group, The Spice Girls hit the world stage for their reunion tour. For Kelly, life wasn’t like the smash hit, Wannabe and she didn’t ‘really, really, really wanna a zigazig ah.’ Instead, she had her sights ambitiously set on taking the next step in her career.
Financial Planner, Peter shares that when it comes to managing his own money he has mastered the art of curbing unnessessary spending. If fact, he chuckles as he admits that he has a very controlled approach to his finances and takes pride in following the same, sound financial planning advice he gives to his clients.
IT Officer, Craig admits that when he applied for the role in June 2012, he never expected to land the job. Just days from finishing his TAFE course, his teacher mentioned a job opening at a local firm with a former student and he threw his resume into the mix with no expectations.
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.
Senior Tax Specialist, Justin recalls that he was in high school when he realised he wanted to be an accountant. He says that growing up in New Zealand, he was never a fan of the cold and rainy weather, so after he graduated he travelled across the Tasman Sea and relocated to Australia’s sunshine state.
Underneath Director, Mick’s quiet and calculated exterior lies spades of intelligence and ambition. He admits that he was just nine years old when his career sights landed on being an accountant. Not only did it make practical sense given he was good with numbers, but he says that he genuinely liked the idea of helping people with their finances.
From the outside, Auditor, Jacko nails the classic, Accountant look. From his traditional threads to his trustworthy and clever persona, at first glance it is no surprise that Jacko’s interests lie in areas of finance, law and computer programming. But like the art of auditing, there is much more to Jacko than what first appears in the financial statements.
Senior Tax Specialist, Ann is open and honest about the fact the she didn’t plan to become an accountant. In fact, she admits that there were quite obvious signs she overlooked in her senior years of high school, including acing an accounting TAFE course she completed as part of her HSC. She laughs as she recounts that it wasn’t until a traineeship was advertised in her hometown of Inverell, New South Wales that she just fell into the career. Fast forward more than two decades and Ann says that she wouldn’t change anything and absolutely loves how life turned out.
Looking back at his first day on the job, Senior Tax Specialist, Nathan had a different experience to many of his colleagues. It was April 2007 and he shares that he and his wife had just welcomed their second child into the world. They had recently moved into a new house and their beautiful baby was only two weeks old when he arrived on the brick steps of 619 Ruthven Street. He reveals that although he can’t recall much from those early days, he does remember that familiar, tired feeling from being a new dad.
SMSF Specialist, Andrew is a self-confessed sports fan and fiercely proud Brisbane Broncos and Queensland supporter. He admits that he is a big enthusiast, especially when it comes to rugby league and motorcycle racing. However, there really aren’t many sports he doesn’t enjoy watching and he will even kick back on the couch for the odd darts game.
In just one short month, Client Services Officer, Jenny will celebrate her 18th anniversary with the firm. Joining the ranks in the year 2000, she admits that she didn’t have any industry experience when she applied for the role and was genuinely shocked when she received a phone call from former Partner, Mick Cumner asking her when she could start. Fast forward almost two decades and there isn’t much Jenny doesn’t know about our taxation services. She has developed a quiet confidence and says that her passion for bookkeeping has grown tremendously.
We’ve all heard the saying, ‘nice guys finish last’ and 70 years ago when legendary baseball player, Leo Durocher coined the phrase perhaps it was true. However, fast forward to 2018 and it seems that the umpire is now calling foul ball on this pitch. Not only do nice guys steer clear of the last-place wooden spoon but for stand-up guys like Tax Specialist, Ken, it seems that sometimes they actually walk away with the winner’s trophy.
Easy-going, reserved and hardworking, Tax Specialist, Jess says that when it comes to her role, she enjoys working in a small and close-knit, tax team led by Director, Mick. She reveals that her colleagues are always willing to lend a hand and that together, their shared easy-going approach is the secret ingredient responsible for the relaxed, working environment she thrives in.
Audit Manager, Natalie admits that when she finished her studies she wasn’t sure what profession her heart wanted to follow. She grew up in the quiet, rural town of Monto and undertook work experience at the firm in grade 11. A few short years later, she relocated to Toowoomba to attend university and after completing her Bachelor of Commerce, she accepted a role with the firm’s close-knit, audit and assurance team.
If you have ever phoned or dropped by our office, then chances are you have met our Receptionist, Elle. Joining the ranks in 2014, Elle is bright and bubbly, has an infectious personality and is well versed in the art of juggling. From managing the switch board to meeting and greeting clients, processing payments, coordinating catering and setting appointments, Elle knows a thing or two about thinking on her feet.
Client Services Officer, Danielle is one of the warm and friendly faces who works behind-the-scenes supporting our financial planning team. With an experienced background in administration, she worked in law and pharmacy before joining the firm eight years ago.
Finance Administrator, Inca is one of those friendly faces that every team member across the firm recognises. Our resident problem solver, she is dependable and knowledgeable, and takes on any task with a can-do and no-fuss attitude.
In every workplace, there are team members who work diligently behind the scenes making sure that productivity soars. In the firm’s taxation team, Senior Tax Specialist, Tina is one of those dedicated people. Working part-time and juggling the responsibilities of parenthood, Tina appreciates the continuity and flexibility her role has endured over the past two decades.
When Senior Auditor, Andrew talks about the game of life, it reads something like the famous Milton Bradley board game. In his reality version, his game piece of choice is a black Nissan Qashqai. After finishing High School he took a two-year hiatus before heading to University and to date, he has three people pegs on-board if you include his Labrador Luka.
It was December 1995, just a month after starting with the firm, when one of Tanya’s most memorable moments took place. The backdrop was the timbered landscape of Perseverance Dam in the scenic town of Crows Nest and nestled in amongst the Christmas decorations were fellow colleagues and their partners enjoying the annual McConachie Stedman party.
It was 1992 when Director, Myles Smith joined the McConachie Stedman team. A time when Andre Agassi was a tennis superstar, the world was captivated by the Barcelona Olympics and a shipping container filled with 28,000 rubber ducks fell overboard into the Pacific Ocean. Fast forward 26 years and it seems that like the legendary, seafaring odyssey of toy ducks (who are still popping up across the world’s oceans), Myles has also made his mark.
Behind the scenes of the firm’s Self-Managed Superannuation Fund (SMSF) Team, the sounds of many hands at work can be heard across the office floor. For SMSF Officer, Rebecca, the familiar sounds, fast-paced environment and close-knit culture is something she has grown to appreciate over the past 18 years.
If someone was to ask you where your happy place resides, what would you say? Would it be a holiday destination or perhaps a quiet space at home? When Client Services Manager, Helen was asked this question, she had a rather unique response. Her happy place? It has a brick exterior, is located at 619 Ruthven Street and has a sign pitched out the front reading, McConachie Stedman. That’s right, Helen’s happy place is at work.
If there was an award for the nicest guy in accounting, Director, Scott Maroske would be a serious contender. A quiet achiever and self-confessed family man, Scott is a straight laced and well-respected firm leader who underneath his shy exterior, hides a mischievous and sometimes, funny persona. Driving the firm’s successful Self-Managed Superannuation Fund (SMSF) service, Scott is genuinely passionate about his work.
At McConachie Stedman, we are lucky to have an expert on hand who is highly skilled in IT chaos management. In fact, when you get her talking about gadgets and software her eyes light up with excitement and you find yourself reeled in to a foreign land of tech abbreviations like, CPU, BYOD, and SaaS. To some team members, she is known as the computer whisperer; however, Melissa’s official role with the firm is ICT Manager.
Raised in the quiet, idyllic town of Boonah in Queensland’s Scenic Rim region, Firm Director, Steve Kirkman thought he wanted to be a Draftsman when he left school. After graduating, he moved to the hustle and bustle of the city and entered a cadetship. However, in what seems like a classic case of itchy feet, over the next five or so years Steve’s career took a number of twists and turns.
When it comes to running a successful business, making sure the wheels turn in a collaborative and coordinated way is crucial. It requires effort, communication and commitment, and often there is one steadfast hand that works tirelessly behind-the-scenes, gently guiding the process. At McConachie Stedman, that person is Practice Manager, Karen Gramenz.
When it comes to knowing what you want in life and where you are heading, it takes a person with vision, tenacity and a profound sense of self to see through the bumpy ride from start to finish. Firm Director, Amanda Roberts is one of those confident and driven women who from an early age knew where she wanted life to take her.
Turning back the clock three decades to 1988, it was a time of acid wash jeans, cassette tapes and Pac-Man. In the same year, graduate accountant, Scott Cutmore was pounding the pavement to land his first professional role. Following an extensive and formal interview at a competing firm, he arrived on the steps of 21 Duggan Street to meet with McConachie Stedman Partner, Mick Cumner.