I started working as a student accountant at Butt Cozens in the UK in 1983 while waiting for my O-level results. I continued there through my A-levels and then undertook the ACCA foundation course at Leicester Polytechnic.
My uncle was an accountant in South Africa, with what I thought at the time was a very nice expat lifestyle. I remember thinking that I would really appreciate such a lifestyle, so I decided to follow a career in finance.
My wife is originally from the Hunter Valley region of New South Wales. We met when she was a backpacker in London and in 1995 we moved to Australia. We initially spent seven years in Sydney, where I completed a graduate conversion course in law and tax, and for the last 18 years we’ve lived in Brisbane.
There have been a number of roles in my career where I have been employed to turn around non-performing teams. I have taken great pride in the results
The ACCA Qualification was not widely recognised in Australia in 1995. I spent time on the advisory panel working with ACCA Australia head Richard Francis to help address this. Subsequent ACCA heads in Australia have done amazing work to grow ACCA’s profile and the strategic alliance in place with CA ANZ has certainly increased ACCA recognition in Australia.
Just over seven years ago I set up MHP Consulting to provide interim CFO services to clients along the eastern seaboard of Australia, mainly in the property development and construction sectors. Since November 2019, I have been working with the Scooter Group of Companies. Whilst our revenue for the second half of FY2019/20 was no doubt impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, we have seen a solid rebound, and our current contracted turnover for FY2020/21 of A$140m (US$108m) is already up 75% compared to FY2019/20
There have been a number of roles in my career where I have been employed to turn around non-performing teams. I have taken great pride in the results, and the timeliness with which these were achieved. In any role it is important to build trust and meaningful relationships with the board and executive leader teams by quickly understanding pain points and developing action plans to address issues and gain trust. Without trust it will always be hard to implement plans and achieve results.
I have always been a big believer in globalisation and that the 21st century was going to be the Asian century. However, geopolitical events over recent years (and Covid-19) have certainly forced a rethink. Once upon a time I would have jumped at an expat lifestyle in Asia, but this is no longer top of the list. There is no doubt that Covid-19 will close many doors around the globe, but it will also open many more locally.
In my spare time I love cooking for the family and I think I’d have made a decent chef. I even suggested once to my wife that I should enter Master Chef. She just laughed, so maybe I’m not as good as I like to think I am.