"Grant Thornton is intent on opportunities in APAC."

Scott Pardey - Senior Manager

“I know Grant Thornton is intent on opportunities in APAC, and I’m putting my hand up firmly to be involved in that.”

What does Grant Thornton have to offer that other organisations don’t?

Our partner group is truly approachable and open to new ideas, both from a client and internal perspective. Partners are generally very receptive to having a chat about different things, whether it’s work-related or firm-related, or ideas for completely different projects.

Partners are also genuinely interested in practical new ways of doing things. People are comfortable bringing new ideas and innovative concepts to the firm for consideration because they know they’ll be heard and considered.

What opportunities for self-development have you found at Grant Thornton?

I’ve been exposed to several different divisions in the office here in Brisbane. After a few years working in Privately Held Businesses, I realised that wasn’t what I wanted to focus on anymore and I had the opportunity to transition into Audit.

I’ve since used Audit as a platform for a number of secondments to partner firms overseas. Last year I was working in our office in Bangkok, Thailand. I don’t speak Thai but I speak Grant Thornton audit methodology and they’re doing effectively the same style of audits over there as we do here. That gave me a commonality that I could tap into – I could relate to my peers quite quickly, which was incredible.

What excites you about Grant Thornton’s future?

Having returned from work in member firm offices in Thailand, Singapore and Vietnam, as well as working for charities outside of the firm in Cambodia, I’m really excited about Southeast Asia. The region is experiencing a lot of economic growth. There’s a huge rise in middle class wealth and there are lifestyle changes and dynamic shifts in the way people are going about business.

I know Grant Thornton is intent on opportunities in APAC, and I’m putting my hand up firmly to be involved in that. In 2015, that’s a focus for me.

What was the work you were involved in outside of the firm in Cambodia?

That was really just me seizing an opportunity. I’d developed a strong respect and empathy for the Khmer people in a previous visit to Harvest Cambodia. I was later approached to work with them and a Cambodian NGO school called Stepping Stones that trains teachers in Cambodia. They asked me for help with strategy, planning and finance.

I spoke with the partners in the Brisbane office about the prospect of taking an extended leave of absence to work with Harvest Cambodia. I was able to build a business case and secure sponsorship from Grant Thornton Australia to work as the CFO for the organisation in Cambodia.

What was the best thing about that experience?

The best thing was seeing the difference that very small monetary contributions and passionate, dedicated people can make to the lives of people who have limited opportunities for quality learning and development.

That extended beyond what the school does for its pupils – the ripple effect is felt by the children’s families and throughout the village. Seeing our work facilitate an increase in the standards of health and education in the broader community was humbling and unforgettable.

What did the experience teach you?

In a professional sense, it taught me many valuable things about cross-cultural communication and respect. That’s something that I’ve already begun to put to good use here at Grant Thornton as we continue to focus on growth and opportunities in APAC.

What gets you out of bed in the morning?

The honest answer is future travel – planning the next adventure. These days, I’m starting to dream about how my appetite for travel and adventure could tie in with my work. Grant Thornton’s ambitions in the Asia–Pacific region present a host of opportunities in that respect.

What did you want to be when you were young?

When I was quite young, I had aspirations to become an architect. I always liked design and creativity, and I dreamt of one day owning very expensive pencils, having a cool desk with a designer lamp and sketching out plans for buildings.

What about architecture appealed to you?

I think it was the idea of building something tangible. I loved the prospect of designing an idea on paper (using the fancy pencils) and seeing it come to fruition.

I’ve been at the Grant Thornton office in Brisbane for long enough to have seen a lot of changes in the firm – we’ve moved premises and we’ve grown headcount, services and divisions. We’ve grown in every sense of the word and at various stages I’ve been able to contribute to that growth. I obviously didn’t become an architect, but I’ve nevertheless found many ways to help ideas become reality here.