Steering the ship – life as a CFO

The office of a start-up can be anywhere: the aisle seat in a plane; a room full of people armed with laptops, bouncing ideas off each other in a CBD office; or a Victoria Square café.


The background scenery changes, but for Caitie Copley, the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of fast-growing Adelaide-based accounting company Accodex Partners, the challenge remains the same.

Flexibility and commitment are essential to ensure the high-energy company is financially on track.

It’s a big challenge for the Flinders business graduate, given she only completed her Bachelor of Commerce last month and won’t graduate until April – but she feels prepared.

“My days are never the same, which I’m sure anyone working within a rapidly growing start-up would understand,” Ms Copley said.

“I manage the internal finances of Accodex, which includes everything that a Finance Manager would do, plus I’m always working on ways to future-proof my current processes.  For example, the way that I handle transactions now, whilst still growing, will not be the same in the future when we have hundreds of partners on board and millions of dollars in the bank!”

Caitie was born and bred in the south of Adelaide and while she inherited an undying commitment to the Adelaide Crows, she also has found a natural ability with numbers. After excelling at school, she was originally going to study a Bachelor of Education degree, but changed her choice to a Bachelor of Commerce, specialising in Advanced Leadership, Accounting and Finance.


“I chose Flinders because I heard great things about their campus and the culture that comes with it. I loved the support that I received from the professors and tutors.  It was so nice to feel supported, and that they genuinely cared about your education and your future,” Ms Copley said.

Flinders business internships gave Ms Copley her first break into the job market.

“After my first year of study, I applied for an internship at Cirillo Hooper and Company (CHC), which I completed in the Summer holiday break,” Ms Copley said.

“I was half way through my second year of study when I was offered a part time job at CHC off the back of my internship.  I dropped down to part-time study for the final three years of my degree as I was working two jobs.

“CHC became Accodex and I was appointed Chief Financial Officer. It’s a pretty exciting place to be – the company is really trying to re-imagine what clients want from their accounting firm and the new approach is leading to hordes of new clients coming on board.

While her dream job of being CFO for the Adelaide Crows is yet to arrive, Ms Copley is preoccupied with the frenetic energy of working at the heart of a start up – and is loving her role.

“If I had one bit of advice for students, I would tell them to take advantage of every opportunity that comes along at Flinders. The Advanced Leadership program will genuinely help you build your future in the business world,” Ms Copley said.


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