From health to minerals and even the sugar sector, Emma Habermann CPA has worked at a number of companies in Queensland that have helped to shape her impressive career.
Emma, who is a financial management assurance officer at Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service (WBHHS) in Bundaberg, Queensland, learnt early on if she wanted to be a leader she needed to have the right skills.
“What was clear to me was that many people in leadership positions had a background and qualifications in business or accounting and this was a foundation I wanted for my working career,” says Emma Habermann CPA.
Finance is a sweet career
So after high school, Emma completed a Bachelor of Business (Accounting) at Central Queensland University. At the same time, she gained valuable work experience as a graduate accountant at Bundaberg Sugar, where her grandfather was previously general manager.
“While there I was exposed to many areas of corporate accounting particularly what I believe is a true treasury function – where I learnt how the process of sugar pricing works.”
Armed with her qualifications and work experience, Emma was able to work in various accounting and business roles at Queensland Alumina Ltd, Unimin Australia Limited and Gladstone Ports Corporation Limited.
Becoming a CFO
But one of her biggest career highlights was being offered the chief financial officer (CFO) position at Bundaberg Radiology.
“Being appointed as a CFO was definitely a career aspiration of mine. However, at the end of the day I didn’t feel my background and experience was well suited for the position and that I had excellent skills in other areas of accounting that I felt were being neglected in the position. That is why I decided to take on my current role at WBHHS.”
Emma is a strong believer in giving back to her community, which is why she spends some of her free time as a CPA Australia branch councilor and performs pro-bono audits for local sporting clubs and incorporated associations.
“A career in accounting has been very good to me. I believe we all should give back in some way. Volunteering on these boards are not only a way to give back to the community, but also a valuable way to gain experience on boards.”
What the CPA designation can do for you
When looking back on her career, Emma says the CPA designation has played a big role in her career progression.
“I believe having the CPA designation definitely gets you the foot in the door for employment. It is a respected and well-known brand and these days a requirement for business professionals.”
Emma plans to continue climbing the corporate ladder with the hope of being offered a senior management position one day.
“Obviously I would like to progress to a management role with Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service and I believe WBHHS has a structure which will enable my future development. At this stage in my life, I have a young family which is my priority and takes up most of my time.”
How to get your finance career on track
Emma Habermann CPA’s top tips for graduates who are starting their careers:
- Education is only one part of the foundations of a career in business. Gaining relevant work experience at an early stage will put you well ahead of the field
- Identify career mentors and absorb as much knowledge as you can
- Work is only one part of life. Remember to give ample time to your family, yourself and your community