James Hill, Assistant Manager - Private Business and Family Advisory
Host firm: Wolrige Mahon
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Role on secondment: Accountant - Tax Consulting
Read more secondment adventures here.
What made you decide to take a secondment?
One of the main draw cards when I applied to work as a Graduate at Pitcher Partners was the possibility of a secondment opportunity. After completing my CA I had no hesitation in applying and was over the moon when I found out that I had been chosen to represent the firm at Wolrige Mahon.
What type of work were you doing while on secondment?
I worked in the Tax Consulting team and I arrived during their busy season. The staff there were working in excess of 80 hours per week during that time and someone still found the time to come out and show us the city. The work consisted broadly of preparing Financial Statements and Income Tax Returns whilst also assisting with a few smaller audits.
What did you enjoy most about the secondment, from a work perspective?
I really enjoyed getting to learn about the Canadian tax system which I had no knowledge about prior to my secondment. The tax team that I worked with were amazing and took the time to help whenever I had any questions (and trust me, there were plenty) and the experience was made better by the people I worked with. Going in with the attitude that I was willing to learn and do anything really helped me.
How has/will this secondment opportunity impact your career?
The entire secondment experience was incredible from start to finish and gave me a good insight into how other firms operate and made me appreciate even more how well Pitcher Partners operates and treats it staff. The experience has made me a more well-rounded, confident and independent person which will only benefit me in the future.
What was the best thing you experienced during your trip, that you wouldn’t have been able to do without your host firm?
The best thing I experienced from the secondment itself was really feeling like one of the employees at Wolrige Mahon. No one treated you any differently to the locals and everyone made sure that you were going okay if you had any issues. The Partners, whilst busy, took the time to talk to you as they were just as interested about the Australian tax system as I was of the Canadian one. There aren’t many scenarios where you can tell a Partner something they don’t already know.
How did you make friends during your secondment?
I went to secondment with the philosophy that I could be whoever I wanted to be and no one would know any different from back home. That being said, I made sure that I was up for any experience that was thrown my way and made sure that I was actively getting involved in any work activities that were occurring. Failing that, a few gin and tonics didn’t hurt when trying to meet new people outside of the office.
What were your living arrangements like during your secondment?
The host firm put me and one of the other secondees up in a two-bedroom apartment right in the heart of downtown Vancouver. We literally had the city on our doorstep which made for travelling around incredibly easy. The office was also only a few minutes’ walk away which was appreciated during those cold mornings.
What was the best thing you ate during your secondment?
On my second last night I treated myself to an insane seafood platter from one of the top rating seafood restaurants in Vancouver. Whilst pricy to say the least, by that stage of the secondment the budget was well and truly blown so I just rolled with the punches. I also discovered Ramen and that may be one of the best things that has ever happened to me.
What has been your most memorable or valuable experience at your secondment?
It is impossible to name just one experience from the secondment that really sticks with me. You literally felt like the world was your oyster and we made use of the weekends by travelling to Whistler, Portland and Las Vegas, to name a few. The memories are slightly foggy from Las Vegas but that can only mean it was a good weekend.