Amy Andrews, Senior Analyst - Business Advisory and Assurance
Host firm: Baker Tilly Berk (BTB)
Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands
Role on secondment: Senior Analyst - Business Advisory and Assurance
Read more secondment adventures here.
What made you decide to take a secondment?
There were so many reasons but it was a great opportunity to work and live overseas, a chance to travel during the weekends as well as to make international friends and networks. Not often do you get offered something so incredible, with the assistance and support that makes the process so easy.
What type of work were you doing while on secondment?
A lot of BTB’s clients have a December year end so I was doing Audit planning for a few jobs and then audit fieldwork for two large jobs.
What did you enjoy most about the secondment, from a work perspective?
The difference in client base, Amsterdam is a hub for large parent companies that operate all over the world. The clients I worked on while on secondment were significantly larger than any of my clients in Melbourne.
How has/will this secondment opportunity impact your career?
It has opened my eyes to working in a different environment. Although still an accounting firm, BTB felt like a very different workplace because of the size of their office and the Dutch culture. Additionally, adapting to their different working style and software while still using our experience from home enhanced my professional skills and consolidated my knowledge.
What was the best thing you experienced during your trip, that you wouldn’t have been able to do without your host firm?
Due to the client base of BTB I was fortunate enough to travel to Belgium and work in Ghent for a few weeks, as well as working in Rotterdam and Utrecht (both in Netherlands).
How did you make friends during your secondment?
My colleague from Melbourne, Tillie, joined me on secondment and we were lucky enough to be able to attend a couple of firm social events which made it quite easy for us to get to know our Dutch colleagues. These social events included tennis, squash and skiing on an indoor ski mountain. Also, unusual compared to Australia, Dutch offices commonly have a kitchen or cafeteria where they provide food to the employees. This assisted in getting to know the staff as everyone eats lunch together everyday. Tillie and I found this quite entertaining as their customary lunch included a raw meat paste, peanut butter on bread with chocolate sprinkles and a glass of milk!
What were your living arrangements like during your secondment?
The host firm put Tillie and I up in an Airbnb apartment on the top floor overlooking a lake, it honestly felt like home for the few months we were there.
What was the highlight of living in the city, as opposed to visiting as a tourist?
I loved the time we spent walking around Amsterdam and travelling throughout the Netherlands. The ability to treat the city like home meant we saw things that one wouldn’t normally experience, and we could pretend to live like the Dutch after some tips from our colleagues.
What was the best thing you ate during your secondment?
It's difficult to think of just one, but while we were in Iceland, we decided if we were already going to be paying about $50 for a pasta we may as well treat ourselves to one of the best restaurants in Reykjavik. We ordered the set menu at a grill house which finished off with an unbelievable dessert platter with a chocolate sphere that melted in front of us.
What has been your most memorable or valuable experience at your secondment?
Not one specific memory, the whole experience was invaluable. The accessibility to other countries in Europe from Amsterdam made travelling easy and we were able to see some unbelievable parts of the world. Due to the time of year we were extremely lucky to be able to travel to Ireland for St Patricks day, Carnivale in Cologne and our final day in the Netherlands was King's Day.