Become a CPA: Setting goals for career success

leadership track - erica blythe

Erica Blythe is living-proof that an attitude of "never give up" is one of the keys to a successful career.

While growing up in Bombala, New South Wales, Erica knew she wanted to work with numbers and in the hospitality industry. 

Working the high-life

So after completing an Advanced Diploma in Hotel Management at the Blue Mountains International Hotel Management School, she took up a position in the Accounts Department at Accor during the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games. At the same time, Erica was studying a Bachelor of Business, majoring in accounting, at Charles Sturt University. She never looked back.

“Not one day is the same. I go to my office and do my accounting work and then once I am finished I can walk through the hotel and speak with staff and guests. It’s so diverse,” Erica says.

The numbers tell a story

The 35-year-old, who is an ASA, has been working at Accor for 14 years in various accounting and finance roles across multiple hotels.

She is now the company’s Regional Finance Controller NSW/ACT in Sydney and looks after 42 hotels across New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory.

“I love how numbers tell a story and you can learn about a hotel or business just by reading the financial report. It’s great to be part of a team that pulls everything together at the end of the month for the entire business,” Erica says.

Studying the CPA Program

In addition to her job, Erica also has a family, including two young children, and is studying the CPA Program. She isn’t complaining about the heavy work load, though.

“The CPA Program opens up the accounting profession. It helps me to understand our stakeholder business a lot more, especially when I am speaking with debtors and creditors.”

The best piece of advice Erica has to give to anyone starting their career is to have a goal and get as much work experience as possible.  

“Work experience is the key early on in a career. A good work environment provides you with extra skills on top of your studies, such as working as part of a team, customer service and good communication skills.”  

Want a board position? The CPA Program is the key

Erica’s next goal is to take on a board position within an organisation. 

“Being on boards in the future is a real interest for me and I’m already starting to read up about how to do it. The CPA Program is helping a lot because it gives me advice about board membership and the opportunities that arise from those positions,” she says.

And in case you were wondering, Erica admits that working for a hospitality company has its perks, including discounts for Accor hotels around the world! 

Erica Blythe's tips on how to reach your career goal: 

  • Make sure you have the right goal
  • Remember, you’re not going to reach the goal tomorrow
  • Things don’t always go to plan
  • Work hard to achieve success

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