How this South African Forensic Accountant made Australia his new home and started his career from scratch

  • Meet Jose Potgieter who immigrated to Australia and Found a Job Opportunity From Scratch in Forensic Accounting with No CA/ CPA degree.
  • In fact: These are the exact strategies Jose Potgieter used to find a job in Australia when he first moved to Brisbane from South Africa.
  • Jose is a Forensic Analyst at Deloitte Brisbane, Australia.
  • Prior to this, he was associated with EY Cape Town, South Africa in their Fraud Investigations and Dispute Services Team.

Moving to Australia from South Africa on a Partner Visa

Australia happened on a whim. Actually, I never thought of moving to Australia specifically.

I always wanted international exposure and an opportunity to meet new people.

I just knew that with the international experience I will be able to learn so much more. It also meant getting exposure to improved technology and different ways of thinking.

Fortunately, my wife and her family immigrated to Australia (Queensland).

I wanted to be with her and that narrowed down my options to one country - Australia.

I was fortunate enough to get a partner visa with my wife as my sponsor thus moving to Australia. Life has been great here and we enjoy the Australian people and work.

Coming back, the Visa process is quite lengthy and rigorous in Australia. I do not have a lot of experience about the Australian Visa processes as I came to Australia on a Partner Visa. Therefore, I will not be able to give accurate information as I did not go through the working visa process.

All I can say is that - Australia has very strict Visa regulations which require a lot of research and patience.

Finding a Job Opportunity in Australia with No Local Work Experience

I graduated in Forensic Accounting from North-West University, Potchefstroom. Yes, you have read correctly, I have graduated in Forensic Accounting.

I discovered early on that I wanted a career in Forensic Accounting and chose to get a full-fledged degree in it.

In fact, a lot of my friends were pursuing Chartered Accountancy from the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) but I only focussed on Forensic Accounting.

While still in South Africa I took the below steps to find a job in Australia:

  • Research: Initially, I did a lot of research to find out which city in Australia has the most work to offer relating to my profile.
  • Understand the market: I also tried to get an understanding of what type of market each city in Australia has with regards to Forensic Accounting and what type of sectors they focus on.
  • When applying to a new country / new city  - It is is a good thing to know if there is an appetite for your skillset within the market.
  • Network: Also, try to connect to as many people as you can in your field and get as many contacts as you can in Australia before you move here. I got some contacts through EY, where I worked in South Africa. Through them, I started building a network with Forensic Accountants and recruiters in Australia.
  • While doing all of the above I was still in South Africa (as I was yet to get my Australian Visa).
  • While still in South Africa I also started applying for jobs in Australia. I used a website called Seek.com.au which advertises Australian opportunities, but the majority of the jobs required - An Australian VISA and physical presence in Australia.
  • Again I received some good responses which showed some promise but did not fit the requirements because they all wanted an - Australian Visa with working rights.

Now because I had NO VISA I was not being offered any job opportunities in Australia. However, I kept the contacts and ensured that my resume was with a few recruitment companies.

As soon as my Australian Visa was approved - I moved to Australia and started looking for work.

Once I moved to Australia - My initial plan was to focus on Queensland, Australia as my wife already had a stable job there.

My Job Search in Australia

I decided that for the first month - I will only work through recruiters and try to get new contacts through them. I was not successful!

I then decided for the second month - I will personally contact all the companies I know which provide Forensic Services and show interest in their companies.

So I sent my detailed resume to all of them. I made it clear that I am looking for an opportunity in their Forensic Team.

I described my role at EY, South Africa, giving them an idea of what all I could bring to the table. However, a lot of entities did not have any available positions at the time.

Luckily Deloitte - Brisbane was the only company that invited me for an interview out of the 15 companies I contacted. And after 2 rounds of interviews, I received an offer of employment with Deloitte, Brisbane. 

Interview Process in Australia

Interview Questions

  • As I gave a detailed background of my experience along with my CV - The interviewers wanted me to Go through each engagement I had previously worked on + Understand what type of services I had performed + Understand what were my responsibilities on each engagement while working at EY, South Africa.
  • They wanted to get a better understanding of what I was capable of bringing to their team with regards to unique skills sets.
  • I also tried to get an understanding of their - Team dynamic + How I would fit in.
  • So you could say the interview was based on - My Previous Work In South Africa. When attending a forensic interview be very specific of what you mention on your resume as that really matters. 

Interview Tips

  • Be PREPARED before you get to the interview.
  • It is good to know - What the team requires + What type of people they are looking for.
  • It is also good to go through your RESUME again and talk about what you can provide to the organization.
  • They invited you based on your CV/resume - So it will be good to give a broader explanation of the engagements you worked on and the responsibilities you had to take on - he concluded.

Now It’s Your Turn!!!

And now I’d like to hear from you:

Have you applied for a job in a new country? If yes, share with us how did you do it!

Or do you have a question about something you read?

Either way, let me know by leaving a comment below right now.

Have a confidential story, tip, or comment you'd like to share?
Contact chantelle@thefinancestory.com in the first instance.

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