Being an IT Auditor can take you places: From a city with no airport to 23 countries. Vanakkam – Kia Ora!

Indian chartered accountant and IT Auditor moving to New Zealand & finding job.

  • ​​​​​​Hi, I am Ponshanker Palanisamy, a Chartered Accountant, and an IT Auditor. 
  • As a CA fresher, I started my career as a finance executive, in a global software company. However, within 3 months, I realised that accounting and finance were not my cups of tea. 
  • What next?
  • I did some self-analysis and realised I liked technology... System Audit seemed to be ideal - a grey area where you need expertise in finance as well as technology. 
  • In 2019, I moved to New Zealand making it my home. 

Back story

I am from Erode, a small district in Tamil Nadu, India. 

I decided to become a Chartered Accountant (CA) and moved from Erode to Chennai (until then I saw Chennai only in movies) and there started an amazing journey. 

Fast forward to 2014, I qualified as a CA... A dream and gateway to several opportunities for a small-town boy like me. 

While my mind was trying to wear the crown of success, I realised the fact (early in life), that being a CA gets you a seat at the table but that’s about it. 

I also realised that we are not always the smartest people in the world and there is always so much to learn.

Moving on I started my career as a finance executive, in a global software company. However, within 3 months, I realised that accounting and finance could be my cup of tea occasionally... but not every day. 

What now?

Information Systems Control and Audit (ISCA) was one of the papers in the CA Final in which I secured very good marks. A thought popped, System Audit could be one career option. 

Systems audit is kind of a grey area where you need expertise in finance as well as technology. I figured out this path was built for me.

So, I did my CISA (Certified Information Systems Auditor) and joined KPMG India as an IT auditor in 2015... And there has been no turning back. The people I worked with helped me to develop into what I am today.

A not-so-common choice: an IT Auditor

One of the advantages of IT auditing is that it is a skill set that has no boundaries for opportunities if you are good at it. 

You can look at technology from various angles like software coding, software review, system controls, app development, software compliance, etc. 

But for an IT auditor, the primary area where technology meets finance is when we perform a financial audit in a large IT-based environment.

In the beginning, you need not be a pro at IT, but it is important to have a very good understanding of how a software development lifecycle works, how it supports the business processes, and how it is supported by its infrastructure.

Understand how controls in financial IT systems are critical for ensuring the completeness and accuracy of financial statements for audit.

Also Read

From an IT Auditor to a tech driven CFO: How CA M P Vijay Kumar played a key role in the transformation of Sify Technologies

A gateway to global career opportunities 

Being an IT Auditor gives you mobility. 

During the first few years of my career, I had an opportunity to work in London for a short time and that was when my heart attached itself to my passport. 

I travelled to 16 countries in Europe within a span of six months. I knew I wanted to explore the world. 

When I started looking for opportunities outside of India, I was primarily trying for the UK and other European countries.  

But the main drawback was that I couldn’t speak any other European languages, such as French, German, or Dutch. And it was one of the requirements from the companies there.

What next? 

Moving to New Zealand… A journey unplanned 

Coincidentally one of my friends was working in KPMG New Zealand at that time. He told me about a vacancy coming up, so I said, “Why not?”

In my case, after I sent them my CV, they scheduled an interview. 

All rounds of interviews happened via Skype and I got the job offer in January 2019.

After that, I applied for a work visa and got it within a month. It was only after I got my work visa, that I resigned and started serving my three months notice period.

It took me around five or six months from the day of application until I finally started my job in New Zealand.

I moved to New Zealand in June 2019 and joined the Big4.

I never knew that Kiwis were so welcoming and nice people to work with. This journey here in New Zealand is amazing, with so much support and inclusiveness in everything around me.

I was able to apply for CA with CAANZ (Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand) and get membership through their International Pathway Programme.

Being a qualified CA in three countries and having multiple IT audit certifications, it's been amazing so far.

Also Read

Tips When Moving to Australia (Sydney) - Visa, Living Costs, Jobs Tips

Breakdown of the process that I followed to land a job in New Zealand

Ways one can get a job abroad: One of the three common ways through which you can land a job in a different country is intra-company transfer; the other one is directly reaching out to a company abroad (like I did), and the last one is to study abroad and find a job with a post-study work visa.

Research: If you want to move to a new country and work there, your first step should be to look into your preferred country’s immigration website. See what types of work visas are available; what are the conditions for applying for a work visa; skills in demand and whether they match your profile; and so on.

Prepare for your CV: Keep your CV very simple. Use normal-sized text, style, and bullet points. Most people send fancy CVs, with flashy colour templates, fonts, lots of bullet points, and diagrams. But you should know that most big companies use software to filter CVs.

And if your CV looks like a child’s colour book, the software will not recognise the keywords there and will automatically reject your CV, even if your profile is perfectly matching with the job description. 

Get your Work Visa: Once you get selected, you then have to apply for a work visa. Usually, the work visa in New Zealand gets ready within a month (sometimes it may take more time due to COVID issues). And only after that, you should resign and start your notice period.

What’s the salary like? Obviously, the salary in New Zealand is good, but people need to be mindful of the expenses here. Do your research on the cost of living before moving to a different country.

Is Permanent Resident Visa or PR necessary to work in New Zealand?  

In New Zealand, there's no option for you to get a direct Permanent Resident Visa, just like in the US (at least not now).

You need to get a work visa first, work there for a certain number of years, and then you can apply for your residency.

After spending five years as a resident, you are eligible to apply for citizenship, provided you fulfill other requirements mentioned by immigration.

There are certain restrictions on visas as well. Unless your new job pays you more than the minimum salary mentioned by immigration, you will not be eligible to apply for a visa, even if your CV matches the job description posted online.

That's why a lot of Indians don’t hear from employers outside of India. The salary for that role may not be enough for you to get a visa from the government.

In most cases, the employers themselves mention whether they are welcoming CVs from abroad and whether they are willing to provide support for the visa process. So, read the job posting well before applying for the job.

Here’s another solution; you can Google the company’s name and the job role that you are interested in and find out the average amount that is paid for that role. You can look at websites like Glassdoor.

It is my strong suggestion that you resign from your current company only after you have received your visa. Otherwise, if for some reason your visa gets rejected or delayed for a long time, you will lose the one job that you had.

That’s why you should talk to your prospective employer about it as soon as possible. Tell them that you are going to start your notice period only after the visa gets approved. And you’ll be joining them afterward.

Closing…

IT auditing rules are not limited to the law of a single country.  

If I am in India, I will check whether an organization’s system is complying with Indian law. Similarly, in New Zealand, I will check whether a company’s IT system complies with the local laws.

The way we test the systems and maintain the procedures remains the same throughout the world. This means you can work in any country of your choice. 

Regarding the future of this role, I think you should not worry, because it is the Future. 

While you may be following a lot of people on social media, I would strongly suggest you like, subscribe, and follow your inner voice. 

It may not be the first thing you hear in the morning, but you can realise that it has the right points at the end of the day before you go to bed. 

Be a part of conversations on building a career overseas. Join here. 

 

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