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Two kicking stereotypes into touch

Modern-day accountancy is no longer a world of shoeboxes filled with receipts and mundane bookkeeping. It’s an ever-evolving career attracting young people to BDO Gisborne.

Accountancy trainee Erutini Paringatai-Walker from Te Araroa (now living in Tokomaru Bay) had a host of opportunities at the end of his schooling.

“In fact I had too many options,” he said.

“I enlisted in the Army but pulled the pin because I didn’t want anyone telling me how to live. I had the opportunity to sail overseas but missed the boat. I also applied to university but I didn’t want to move too far away from home.”

Now 20, he initially enrolled in a building course at EIT Tairawhiti but the class was full. So, given his penchant for numbers, he chose accounting and enrolled in a Bachelor of Business degree majoring in accounting.

“I had no previous experience while at school but I was intrigued by it.”

The opportunity then came up for work placement at BDO Gisborne and he jumped at the chance for some “real world” experience.

He quickly learned there was much more to accounting than sitting at a desk filing tax returns.

“I tend to look past those stereotypes. We are in the business of supporting people to achieve their dreams.

“It is about telling their story through the numbers and also creating more meaningful engagements with our clients and to give them every opportunity to succeed.”

Working with BDO’s Pakihi Maori team also offers Erutini a chance to help people back in Te Araroa.

A big part of that was the team’s focus on tikanga Maori and their strong work ethic.

“I had an uncle come in and he was telling me about how daunting it was to come to the city and walk into the offices. It made him feel out of place. But to see a familiar face in the building has definitely made the difference for whanau up the coast to come in, feeling comfortable knowing they will be looked after.”

At just 24, former Lytton High School student Braxton McHugh is already a rising star in BDO’s audit department — and as far removed from the stereotypical description of an auditor as one can get.

A natural people person, Braxton is in the job of helping businesses thrive, and steering them through constantly-changing legislation rather than highlighting any mistakes.

“I am a numbers-orientated person who enjoys working through solutions to help people.”

She originally came to work with BDO Gisborne through an internship opportunity and project-based work while studying for her Bachelor of Business degree at EIT Tairawhiti. She has now graduated and in February received her accounting technician qualification, through the Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand.

“This has definitely been a career highlight for me,” she said.

“I love the fact that I get to experience wonderful opportunities while also having the love and support of my whanau here in Tairawhiti.

“I have also found BDO to be very supportive with my learning and development needs, providing mentorship and a flexible working environment that takes into consideration my study commitments. It is great to be a part of a small and focused team who have supported my career aspirations right from when I first started with the firm.”

This year marks the 14th consecutive year the company has sponsored the BDO Gisborne Business Studies Awards in local secondary schools, which is a monetary award of $500 to the highest achieving Year 13 business studies student whose tertiary education pathway is focused on accounting or business studies.

BDO Gisborne will be one of about 50 exhibitors at The Gisborne Herald Careers Expo, which takes place over two days next week from 12noon to 2.45pm, and 4pm to 6pm on Monday (April 12) and 8.45am to 2.45pm on Tuesday (April 13), at the Farmers Air Event Centre. Exhibitors will include national and local businesses and training providers, from a range of careers, from accountancy to performing arts and agriculture to defence and police careers.

RISING STARS: Braxton McHugh and Erutini Paringatai-Walker from BDO Gisborne. Picture by Liam Clayton

  1. Arlouise Brooking says:

    Now that’s a story worth reading!
    Congratulations 👏 very proud to read of your staunch decision-making Erutini.
    Never give up and never define yourself to one pathway. Always be open, flexible and determined to mould the pathway that will suit you and your potential future endeavours. Look forward to following and supporting your journey!