The inspiring CPA building a global career

For early career success, this Associate Director says to learn from other people’s experiences. Read for more tips.

Jonathan Wu CPA (FPS) has found networking to be one of the most important factors in his early career success as an accountant and financial adviser.  

The 28-year-old, who is Associate Director – Financial Adviser and Head of Group Operations at the SWU Group of Companies, believes networking is the key to any graduate’s success. His company, based in Sydney, manages over $550 million dollars for clients.

“One of the biggest things I have learnt when it comes to networking is that you need to find common ground with a person to build a genuine connection,” Jonathan says.

“This skill has helped me to find out what other people have discovered in their careers and whether they have any advice for me as a young accountant and financial adviser.” 

CPA Australia - it's in the family

Jonathan’s decision to become an accountant was an easy choice because it’s a career that’s already featured in his family. His father not only runs his own accounting and financial advice firm, he is also a FCPA (FPS) (Fellow of CPA Australia), a designation which is only available to a highly-experienced CPAs who are experts in their field. 

“My father started his accounting firm in the early 1980s. One thing he taught me at a very young age was that no matter what profession I ended up doing, accounting was going to be the basis of all things business.”

So when Jonathan was 15-years-old, he worked at his father’s business and soon discovered what it was like to work in the accounting field.

“The first task I was given was to sort out 12 months’ worth of receipts from a Chinese takeaway store. It took me two weeks to complete the work and if nothing else, it taught me that to be a professional accountant it takes patience, skill, training and experience.”

Jonathan completed a Bachelor of Commerce, majoring in Accounting and Commercial Law at the University of Sydney and at the same time undertook an internship with Investors Mutual.

Accounting is in the blood 

However, it wasn’t too long until Jonathan was offered a full time position at his father’s business.

“I was initially put on a 12 month contract to see if I liked or hated the work. That was nine years ago, so I obviously enjoy it.”

Global opportunities in accounting

On top of his hectic work schedule, Jonathan is studying a Global Executive MBA at the University of Sydney. As part of the course he will travel to India to see how Australian companies do business in another country. 

“I’ll be studying in Bangalore and working on real life business cases. It’s a good opportunity to understand how they do business, their operations and to learn about the Indian culture.”

Success runs in the family

After completing his MBA, Jonathan has big plans for his future and hopes to take over the family business one day.

“How do I make something good that my father created, even better? If I can do that then I know that I’m being the best that I can be for my clients. Any good family business can be multi-generational, so that’s my dream.”

Jonathan Wu CPA’s networking tips:

  • Be open with the people you meet
  • Be humble when you meet a person for the first time
  • Learn from other people’s experiences (good or bad)

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