RSM New Zealand

Maris Webb

Assistant Manager - Auckland Central

The international secondment offers a unique opportunity to experience another culture, in Maris' case the secondment made such a great impression that she has returned to New Zealand for round two!

Maris left her home office in Wilmington NC, and travelled to the Auckland Central office from April to September 2015. We must have made a good impression (because she certainly made one on us!) and Maris returned in April 2016 to commence a two year long secondment. 

What did you hope to gain from the secondment?

I wanted to gain professional as well as personal growth from the experience and enjoy some travel along the way!  I was looking to expand my network, take advantage of the international opportunities the RSM international network has to offer, and to gain experience with IFRS.

How did the logistical secondment arrangements work?

I arranged my international flights through RSM US’s travel agency and was provided accommodation in full during my short-term secondment as well as accommodation when I first arrived for my long-term secondment until I was able to find a place on my own.  Our International HR group in the US was a huge assistance in helping making the transition and giving me guidance along the way as well as helping to ensure I was able to return to NZ for a longer term period.

In terms of arrangements between offices, I was on Leave of Absence with my local office (RSM US) and employed and on payroll with RSM NZ.

What you got from secondment – work experience / personal:

I gained so many personal and professional experiences (and still am!) from my secondments.  One of the main goals of my first secondment was traveling as much as possible which I was able to achieve!! After my first secondment, my NZ and local office allowed me to take two months off before returning to the US with which my partner and I were able to spend two months backpacking through SE Asia and living life a little! 

During my secondment, I also took several trips to Australia and explored all over New Zealand.  The greatest benefit of all is the people I met along the way.  I have been able to experience a work life balance that allows me to enjoy life and travel and do the things I love as well as experiencing a work culture that I have fallen in love it!  The NZ office went out of their way to get secondee’s involved and out on the town including rugby games on Friday nights, bowling nights, hiking volcanoes, movie nights, and Friday drinks after work.  There is no better way to grow than moving to a country across the world where you don’t know a soul and have no expectations!!

What were the challenges: 

The more significant challenges I faced during my secondment were technical related issues including learning new auditing and accounting frameworks (and moving to a country that decided to change ALL of their standards just before I arrived!) I learnt a new audit software (Proaudit) to assist RSM NZ with their adoption of Caseware which also included learning an entirely new Caseware template as RSM NZ uses an International Caseware template in comparison to the Caseware templates we have in the US. 

Another challenge I faced was serving a whole new client base, school audits, which was an entirely new concept to me.  As with any office transfer, you also find yourself feeling like a first year associate again working on all new clients of which you have no existing relationship or experience with.  While this seems like a challenge and can be frustrating at time, the reward of new relationships and experiences totally outweighs the challenges!

Are you worried about missing out on things at home if you do a secondment?

Not at all!  My home office is even supporting and fully funding my return to the US each year for a week so I am still able to participate in my local trainings and stay in touch with the changes going on in the US & the relationships I have built over the years at home which is a huge benefit.

Just want to add how grateful I am for this opportunity and for the support I have received from both my local and NZ office to allow me to go on this journey.  I would recommend this opportunity to anyone; take the risk and take the challenge, the personal and profession rewards are out of this world!