Accounting for a rewarding career


Award-winning accounting and consulting firm HLB Mann Judd in Adelaide boasts an exceptional team, and more than a handful of its employees happen to be Flinders graduates. We caught up with partner Steve Branson (BCom ’02) and recent hires Connor Fitzpatrick (BAccFin ‘20) and Robbie Duckworth (BAcc ’21), to learn about finding a successful career in the accounting sector.

“I was very nervous about my first day as a full-time accountant,” Flinders accounting alumnus, Robbie Duckworth, admits when we asked him about his first time stepping into his now workplace at, HLB Mann Judd. “It’s a massive lifestyle change and takes some getting used to. But one of my favourite things about working at HLB is how approachable, friendly and understanding everybody is. I’m now confident in the work that I do and am excited for new opportunities which often come my way.”

Robbie graduated with a Bachelor of Accounting last year, and since securing a role at the firm has been involved in completing tax work for many clients. “We’ll often have celebrations to recognise certain milestones and appreciate everyone’s efforts. We also get involved with the local community and raise money for charity each month. It’s a fun place to be.”

The story is similar for fellow Flinders graduate and now HLB Mann Judd employee Connor Fitzpatrick. For him, a typical day could include completing an Income Tax Return or Business Activity Statement – and everything in-between. Then there’s workflow meetings, following up client queries, and checking through any correspondence with the Australian Taxation Office to identify relevant notices that should be forwarded to clients. It’s a fast-paced, busy environment, but Connor wouldn’t have it any other way.

“I love working at HLB – my colleagues and the clients make it a really nice place to work,” says Connor. “There are also opportunities to try different areas of the accounting field whilst staying within the one firm.”

HLB Mann Judd is well-known in business and professional circles. The Mann Judd Association was founded in the early eighties by their Sydney firm, and in 1988, their growing association of Australian chartered accounting firms would join the HLB International network. Today, the network includes over 35,000 professionals across 157 countries.

Steve Branson is one of three partners in the Adelaide firm that graduated from Flinders. Since completing his Commerce degree in 2002, he’s enjoying a successful accounting career.

He says, “After graduating, I worked in an auditing role for around 12 months, but soon realised audit wasn’t for me and resigned to take up an opportunity to travel and work abroad.  Being in my early twenties, I was keen to see the world… but it was always my intention to move back to Adelaide and pursue a career in the accounting and finance space.”

After a role in a small accounting practice that specialised in taxation and business advisory, Steve undertook postgraduate study and became a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand. After a secondment in San Francisco (this time in a role as a hedge fund auditor, which he notes as a career highlight), he came across an opening in HLB Mann Judd. He would secure the role and go on to be promoted to a partner of the firm – and the rest is history.

Steve believes Flinders graduates are well-placed for a career in accounting after completing their studies.

“As part of their accounting degree, Flinders graduates receive practical experience including exposure to the accounting software used by the majority of our clients. The practical nature of the course helps them to make a useful contribution to our firm from day one,” says Steve. “At HLB Mann Judd, we offer our graduates a chance to work in each of our divisions – Audit, Corporate, Business Advisory Service and Financial Planning – with the aim of giving them broad experience before working out where they want to focus their career.”

Find your Fearless. Study Accounting.

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Business College of Business, Government and Law

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