Interview With Alex Millar


Interview with Senior Consultant; Accounting & Finance - Alex Millar

Hi Alex, thank you for joining us today. What is your role here at GOW Recruitment?

I am a Senior Consultant here at GOW, so I look after everything within the accounting and finance area. I work within a team of three on the banking and financial roles, predominantly in the $70k to $250k salary range and most of the roles I look after are in the permanent space rather than on the contracting side.

How long have you been in this role for?

I have been at GOW for two and a half years now. Previously I was working in the accounting sector and then I made the transition over into recruitment because I felt that I am better suited towards the more personal side of business.

Are you a qualified accountant?

Yes, I finished my CPA about a year ago now. When I made the transition, I was still half way through my CPA, I thought working with accountants quite closely in the banking and financial service space, that being a CPA would add a lot of credibility with my clients. When I am discussing requirements from a technical perspective with clients I can understand things at a deeper level because I have worked a lot of the roles previously. When we run through the job briefs or talk through structuring in business I can add more value to clients, as I am from industry.

So why recruiting?

I think for myself I was always interested in the more social side of the accounting industry and I enjoyed the business partnering, and working and communicating across different businesses. I worked out that the technical aspects whilst working as a tax accountant probably wasn’t for me, but I did enjoy the industry and I guess being a part of the financial aspect of the role. So, when I met my current boss for the first time he ran me through the opportunity of being in recruitment. I thought that although it was something very different to what I have done previously, it could be something which could be good for me and over 2 years on now, it’s evolved to be a very good opportunity for myself, which I very much enjoy.

What are your thoughts on GOW as a boutique agency?

I think GOW has got a lot to offer. They have been around for about eighteen years, so a lot of the work which they do has been in the banking and financial services space. Their main disciplines are in the operations/back office and accounting, which I sit in. They’ve got their middle-office which is their operational support and the front-office which is your BDM’s and Sales area. Traditionally those have been the three core areas which GOW has worked in, but I guess over the years as boutiques need to evolve with technology, we’ve also got involved in a lot of different areas where we offer services in technology transformations (project managers, business analysts and scrum masters) and in the digital space. I think that the big distinction within our business where Sydney has always been your core banking and accounting area, Melbourne has actually evolved quite significantly, and they’ve transitioned into more of a technology business.

If I look at GOW as a business, culturally we’re very closely aligned, you see little turn over in the business and I guess the people really collaborate well with one another in terms of how they build up their desk. The perception of recruitment is its everyone for themselves; trying to build up a business on their own, however at GOW the culture and the ability to cross-sell and bring other people into meetings, it creates a very good environment. I guess that’s a real testament to the owners Brendan (Walsh) and Andrew (Gemmell). Rarely have people left to go to a competitor. It seems to be either to set up their own business or leave the industry.

Okay, so as 2017 comes to a close are there any large market or industry based shifts that you’ve noticed?

I think the big shift in the accounting sector, which I’ve noticed, is people being more interested in how they can utilise big data to get a better understanding of their business. Amongst the BAU finance, the project aspect of bringing in more technical people (who may not have necessarily come from an accounting background) to sit in these accounting functions to do the data warehouse and analytics aspects. It allows them to understand how their business is performing in a different sense, where the gaps are in the market and where they’ve got opportunities to capitalise on other areas using data. I think for the future, that understanding where finance is moving to and how technology can work for businesses. This won’t necessarily strip out and eliminate roles.

I think overall everyone is aware that technology may impact positions and looking at more standardised roles like financial accounting positions for example, there will be a time where these roles do have change come about. The plan is to be trying to be proactive through 2018 and understanding where technology is going to fit in. Building relationships in partnering and understanding business requirements is always going to be something that a computer won’t be able to do. Strong commercially orientated people with good communication skills are still in high demand. We’re assuming the BAU is going to be done in the background at some point into the future. The ad hoc strategic work that will support the business is going to be the key thing which the leaders of tomorrow will have to get involved in to help differentiate themselves so when they’re in that mid-level management career, the skills that they have developed in the upcoming years is going to be valuable to their future.

Well Alex this has been all very insightful, and I thank you for your time.

Thank you for having me.

Get in contact with Alex at:

**Alex Millar, CPA Senior Consultant Accounting & Finance**

Level 10, 8 Spring Street, Sydney, NSW 2000

D 02 8022 8725 T 02 9252 7801 M 0432 884 539