George Allen has completed two months of a three month secondment program working in Melbourne, Australia at McGladrey's international affiliate, RSM Bird Cameron.
Written by George Allen
Sr. Consulting Associate
Sr. Consulting Associate
One of the forefathers of accounting (probably) said: the group that drinks together, thinks together.
The partners of the Melbourne office have facilitated this bonding environment by hosting a recurring end-of-the-month happy hour in the office boardroom. Not only was I lucky enough to experience my first monthly happy hour, but it was enhanced by Trivia Night —their annual celebration of the footy (Australian football) finals. In true sporting spirit, we formed different teams and were asked by the game’s hosts (seemingly dressed as Pat Sajak and Vanna White) to answer random trivia questions about topics ranging from sports to movie theme songs.
Recently, the cold and rainy weather broke long enough to join some friends at another local celebration: the Cuban Jazz Festival (yes, I came all the way to Australia from Miami to attend a Cuban festival!) Hosted by a winery in the Yarra Valley, the festival offered plenty of wine, food, and music, not to mention a Segway course and helicopter rides. It was the perfect way to spend a gorgeous afternoon in Australia.
I had a different encounter when I got a little taste of home when the Occupy Melbourne protests set up camp (literally) in the middle of the city. Similar to the protests held around the world, demonstrators set up tents and played music, sat in groups and talked, while others used bullhorns to speak their minds. I was actually waiting for someone to stop and ask me where I was from—I wanted to say I am an American just to see where the conversation went, but the protesters were too busy spreading their message. It was interesting to see everyone from hippies to well-dressed business people getting together for a common cause.
Speaking of well-dressed, another difference I’ve noted is the professional attire here. Men’s suits are completed by “skinny” trousers, and women wear skirts and dresses that are about 3 inches above their knees, complete with fishnet and other patterned stockings (I’m guessing this article I read will only increase the number of skirts in the workplace!)
I’d like to close with a story about one of my first-hand experiences related to our “One McGladrey” philosophy. One of the partners in the Melbourne office was approached by a client interested in obtaining information about the firm’s experience in dealing with the compliance requirements related to OMB Circular A-133 (federal grants). Because part of the circular deals with GAAP reporting, I was approached as “the American in the office” about my knowledge of the requirements. While I had no direct experience, I was able to reach out to Tom from the Maryland office, who in turn put me into contact with Sara (also from the Maryland office) and Michael from the North Carolina office. Their quick responses and the information they provided was of great value and is a wonderful demonstration of the firm’s teamwork- even over international lines. I’m sure once the brochures have been developed, they will evidence the deep range of firm experience and allow the Melbourne office to go to market and pitch this revenue-generating service to new and existing clients.
Additional posts from McGladrey Secondment Program participants: