From Canada to New Zealand: My experience with Gilligan Sheppard

I have been watching the growth of Gilligan Sheppard from the other side of the world since 2019. This was the year the Talent Secondment Programme (temporary work placement) was introduced, and I was instantly curious about it. Unfortunately, Covid put the programme on pause, but I continued to follow the firm on social media with their latest website posts, services, and team updates. I immediately took the opportunity once the exchange programme was back on track. I won’t lie; there was a little bit of doubt in my mind about whether I could do the work assigned to me. I have been in public accounting since 2013, mostly working on assurance engagements. But as I’ve progressed in my career, I’ve realised that my end goal is not just to provide compliance services but to be a trusted partner for clients every step of the way. From GS’s website, I had already gathered that they are much more than a traditional accounting firm, and my instincts told me they’d be a firm with many characters. I was confident that this was the right move to take in order to advance my career.

How it went

Debra and I had been emailing before I arrived in Auckland. She helped me prepare for the trip, and her kindness made me less nervous and more excited. The first GS face I saw was Yi Ping. She picked me up from the airport at the crack of dawn on a Saturday morning, and the ride to my apartment was so pleasant. We exchanged thoughts on public accounting and talked about our career goals. After meeting everyone, I was so impressed with how good the team is.

I have been working with the BAS team for most of the time, and I must admit, some challenges and frustrations come with understanding GS processes and the tax rulings in New Zealand, so I am still learning. However, I am so grateful for the ongoing support I have received – everyone is willing to dedicate their time to help despite their heavy workload.

I also had the opportunity to attend meetings with the VAS team to see the other side of the business, and I am amazed by the work GS does for clients and the diversity of the revenue streams.

I connected with Lisa and learned more about the marketing department because I really appreciate the campaigns the marketing team does for GS clients. I thought the blanket with the powerful message was such a great and heart-warming idea. Lisa changed my view on the importance of having a marketing team at an accounting firm.

A couple of weeks ago, I had a catch-up meeting with Bill, and he briefly went through the training he has done for the GS team. We spoke about the GS core values and purpose: helping clients and being trusted problem-solvers for business. Based on my 11 weeks working with the team, I feel everyone works to these values, and people take ownership and pride in their work.

So, what’s next?

Three months is a short time to learn about a new firm. However, the team has done their best to give me as much exposure as possible to different aspects of the firm’s operations. Overall, this trip has given me many insights and ideas I can’t wait to bring back to my Canadian Firm, Adams and Miles LLP. My time with GS is not over. I will continue to keep in touch, and I can’t wait to see their success grow even more. Lastly, I want to thank GS for making this happen, supporting me over these 11 weeks, and their patience during my learning journey.

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