Audit Senior - Auckland Central
The secondment was an opportunity for Richard to broaden his horizons, experience new cultures and different ways of working, and develop a deeper understanding of our clients’ businesses.
Having first being lured to New Zealand, where he started with RSM in 2014, this Irish national was attracted to the international secondment programme for both professional and personal development. Professionally, to gain exposure to a unique work culture, integrate into an international office, further develop his audit experience over a breadth of industries and enhance his knowledge of a new reporting framework. From a personal perspective, Richard grasped the opportunity to travel and soak up the culture and character of the centre of America - having previously travelled to the East and West coasts, Richard was drawn to the land of Stetson hats and cowboy boots.
What was the best experience during your secondment?
I had many great experiences during my secondment. Professionally; the chance to network with new people both internally and externally (if they could understand my accent!) and learn new audit techniques and systems. This experience was essential as it helped with the transition to the new RSM methodology, skills I have been able to apply to my work back here in New Zealand.
From a personal perspective, I made new friends, hailing from offices all around the world. I am a huge ice hockey fan, so had to see a few games. Go the Dallas Stars!
What was the worst experience during your secondment?
They say “the grass isn’t always greener on the other side” which was certainly the case at times. A departure from my ‘comfort zone’, the secondment experience was new in terms of learning systems and processes, even simple tasks such as entering timesheets involved a new system, and a new office manager chasing me up to log said timesheets! Learning new processes is always difficult, and the reality of the matter is that you need to embrace this period of discomfort, as there is no better way to improve on one’s abilities. (At least that’s what I’ve heard.....!)
What did you achieve both professionally and personally from participating in the secondment?
Professionally I learnt a lot, and obtained a new perspective of thinking through tasks. The secondment brought me to a new level of professional understanding, by gaining experience and more exposure to new elements of an audit and new industries that we mightn’t see in the current RSM NZ client portfolio base. Personally you get the chance to travel, visit a new country and experience a new culture. Trust me Texas is definitely the strangest, most backward and most exciting place I’ve been. They don’t call it the lone star state for nothing. Plus, the beer is pretty good there too.
How did you find the US working week/expectations?
The Yankees like to work hard! A typical working week requires a minimum of 40 hours, compared to the NZ standard of 37.5 hours (billable) - the additional 2.5 hours took its toll. With a typical working day requiring a minimum of 10 hours, I would start work at 8am, finish at 8pm - at this point I would eat dinner - and then back to it, usually working in my hotel lobby till midnight. And repeat. Gone were the days of two day weekends as Saturdays were mandatory! As the name suggests, the ‘busy’ season in the US is just that.
At the end of the day, it is what it is and a great life experience! Fingers crossed you have enough annual leave to take time to sightsee after your secondment - if not, catch a director on a good day and give the poor mouth (In other words beg for the time off!). It’s good to take the extra time to holiday around America after your RSM working tour.
Returning to work in New Zealand after the work expectations in the US is so good. We definitely work fewer hours here, and even though we are in the middle of the New Zealand busy season, it is in no way as intense or hectic as the US working week!
Would you recommend the secondment programme?
I guess it depends what you’re looking for - to get out of New Zealand, work in America for a few months, meet new people and friends, learn new skills, shoot some guns, watch baseball, American football and Ice Hockey games, travel with work to see other parts of the States like LA and New York (most audits are 2 weeks so you can stay in your engagement city if you wish), get a few weeks off when you finish up and travel. That was my experience, and I would absolutely recommend the international secondment programme.