Become a CPA: How to reach the top in the finance field

Andrew Pearce CPA may only be 33 years of age, but he has already accomplished more than many people do in their careers.

Andrew Pearce CPA may only be 33 years of age, but his forward thinking has already landed him many accolades, and even a few awards. 

He has worked in an accounting firm, volunteered on the board of QUIT Tasmania, helped run two local businesses in Hobart and has also won multiple awards. 

Accounting wasn't always on the cards

However, at the beginning of his career journey Andrew wasn’t planning to study accounting at the University of Tasmania. 

“I actually started doing an engineering degree but I didn’t really enjoy it. So I decided to make the switch to commerce and I thought an accounting major would be relevant to the studies that I had already done,” says Andrew.

Life experience is a must 

After completing his degree, Andrew was offered a Graduate Program position at an accounting firm in Hobart. However, it wasn’t long before he discovered that this type of environment wasn’t for him. 

“I was working in a cubical with very little client contact. The company had a real hierarchy structure and I had to fill out timesheets. I didn’t really enjoy it.” 

I learnt through this experience that I was more of a relationship orientated person rather than a task orientated worker.”

One door closes, another one opens  

So Andrew decided to leave the practice and shortly after was offered a partnership at Collins SBA, a company which manages the financial wealth of people across Australia. It was an opportunity Andrew couldn’t refuse

“Working at Collins SBA helped to alleviate some of the frustrations I was exposed to in public practice. I had plenty of ideas about how I could evolve the business and make it into a success," says Andrew.

CPA Program adds credibility

Andrew has been at Collins SBA for 11 years and believes one of the keys to his success has been completing the CPA Program.  

“The CPA designation is a great way to build your credibility, especially in the early stages of your career. When you’re talking to clients or getting new clients, being a CPA definitely helps with weight and credibility," says Andrew.

A sense of achievement 

Throughout his career, Andrew has won several awards on a personal and business level. 

The awards include Collins SBA winning the medium size business category in the Telstra Business Awards and Andrew being named in the top 40 business leaders under the age of 40 for INTHEBLACK magazine on two separate occasions. 

“There were some pretty high profile people who were named for the INTHEBLACK awards and to be named alongside them was a great feeling," says Andrew.

Giving back

But it’s not just the awards that have given him a sense of achievement. Andrew has also enjoyed being a mentor to a young accountant at Collins SBA, who at the time was an Associate Member (ASA) of CPA Australia. 

“I like to help and educate people and I really love imparting the knowledge that I have to other people. By being a mentor their career success is also my success.”

Andrew says his focus now is to ensure that Collins SBA continues to thrive as a business. 

“It’s always been about future proofing the business and becoming the firm that lasts. There is a lot of change going on in our industry, so you have to continue to evolve and that is what I enjoy doing.”

Andrew Pearce CPA’s advice to mentees: 

  • Start with a big picture focus and work out where you want to be
  • Think about who you need to surround yourself with to achieve your goals
  • Remember that you can’t build a reputation on what you are going to do 

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