Become a CPA: Focus on soft and technical skills

Amie Scruton

Amie Scruton CPA loves turning numbers into page-turners with more potential plot twists than a New York best seller.

As the Museum of Old and New Art's (Mona) Company Accountant in Tasmania, and a Director of Glenorchy Art and Sculpture Park (GASP), Amie helps control the purse strings for the museum’s events, festivals, restaurants and winery.

The numbers tell a story

“I think of myself as a bit of a storyteller,’’ says Amie.

“You’re pulling together all the financial activity in an organisation and you tell a story, or (in the case of Mona) there are a few stories involved.

“It’s really important because while financial statements are integral for a lot of people, there’s others who can’t read them and numbers organised in that way don’t mean much to them. It’s my job to make them see the bigger picture.”

Making sense of the nitty gritty

Amie says her favourite part is delving into the nitty gritty of each business, turning numbers into “something really useful”.

“I love talking to chefs, for example, who are trying to get their food costs down or more people on seats in the restaurant, and I think accountants are well poised in their position to assist in that way.’’

Breaking down the stereotype

Amie says most people think of accountants sitting in white-walled offices, glued to calculators.

“That’s just not on our radar here. We’re encouraged to get out and about on-site, with meetings all day, every day with different areas of the business and we know what’s going on."

Amie admits she is lucky to have found her dream career path, albeit after a few wrong turns.

“Straight out of school I studied an International Business degree for about 18 months and had no idea what I wanted to major in. So I took a few years off and went to work, and had a baby.

“During that time I was working in the construction industry in finance and administration and was lucky enough to work with numbers."

Global recognition of the CPA Program

Amie then returned to Queensland University of Technology, and this time majored in accounting.

From there she chose the CPA program for its global recognition, flexibility, networking opportunities – both locally and interstate – and professional development.

“I take up those opportunities as often as I can and I think that as CPAs  it’s important for us to keep up the brand reputation as well.”

Amie says she'd eventually like to take on the role of CFO, but for now she loves her current position and still has many projects planned to see through to completion.

Amie Scruton CPA's top tips for graduates starting their careers:

  • You don’t have to take everyone’s advice, but you need to be kind to those who offer it and listen to what they have to say
  • Make sure your soft skills are as good as your technical skills
  • Be tenacious and committed because nothing comes easy

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