Fu­ture Fi­nance

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James Young, op­er­a­tions man­ager rev­enue ser­vices at Aus­tralia Post, on the im­por­tance of a CPA des­ig­na­tion in adapt­ing to new roles.

After a year of study­ing law at Vic­to­ria Uni­ver­sity, James Young de­cided his fu­ture lay away from the courts, and he be­longed in the board­room in­stead. “I re­alised I didn’t re­ally want to be a so­lic­i­tor and promptly changed to a Bach­e­lor of Busi­ness in Mar­ket­ing and Ap­plied Eco­nomics,” he says.

It was a move that would even­tu­ally see Young rise through the ranks of some of Aus­tralia’s big­gest com­pa­nies. In just over a decade, he has held lead­er­ship po­si­tions over­see­ing im­prove­ment and or­gan­i­sa­tional ca­pa­bil­ity for global mar­ket lead­ers in the lo­gis­tics, oil and fast-mov­ing con­sumer goods in­dus­tries. How­ever, it is his cur­rent role that has Young look­ing to the fu­ture.

Join­ing Aus­tralia Post in 2015 as con­tin­u­ous im­prove­ment man­ager for group fi­nance, he suc­cess­fully im­ple­mented a num­ber of projects that in­creased pro­duc­tiv­ity and re­duced labour spend, cre­at­ing a sus­tain­able dif­fer­ence to the or­gan­i­sa­tion as a whole. After a year in that role he was pro­moted to op­er­a­tions man­ager for rev­enue ser­vices — a po­si­tion that has al­lowed him to ex­pe­ri­ence the com­pany from the ground-up.

“I’ve had a lot of in­ter­est­ing roles and what I’ve found — no mat­ter how di­verse the role — was that the un­der­ly­ing fac­tor is hav­ing strong com­mer­cial acu­men and sound fi­nan­cial prin­ci­ples as a touch­stone to mak­ing de­ci­sions.”

Man­ag­ing the cus­tomer’s ex­pe­ri­ence for one of the most trusted brands in Aus­tralia has al­lowed Young to be in­stru­men­tal in fur­ther­ing the com­pany’s fo­cus on emerg­ing tech­nolo­gies in the e-com­merce space.

“As we ex­pand into new prod­ucts it be­comes im­por­tant to have a solid fi­nan­cial foun­da­tion and that’s one of the things

I find CPA Aus­tralia is help­ing me with,” he ex­plains. “When we en­ter a new and un­ex­plored mar­ket such as dig­i­tal prod­ucts, we can al­ways go back to the fun­da­men­tals to make sure our de­ci­sion mak­ing is sound.

“CPA Aus­tralia has pro­vided me with the crit­i­cal busi­ness prin­ci­ples and leg­isla­tive frame­works needed to progress through my ca­reer.”

For Young, who is cur­rently com­plet­ing the CPA Pro­gram, its real-time ap­pli­ca­tion is an im­por­tant ad­di­tion to his fi­nan­cial tool­kit. Work­ing with emerg­ing tech­nolo­gies such as dig­i­tal iden­tity ser­vices, he has found the CPA Pro­gram cru­cial in pre­par­ing him for what lies ahead.

“Look­ing at au­dit as a topic, there’s an ever-grow­ing re­quire­ment in our busi­ness to make sure new tech­nol­ogy and prod­ucts com­ply with our or­gan­i­sa­tion’s risk mit­i­ga­tion strate­gies, which is what we needed to en­sure with our com­pany’s new dig­i­tal iden­tity ser­vice. That’s a pretty good ex­am­ple of why those fun­da­men­tal prin­ci­ples — such as au­dit and as­sur­ance — are so im­por­tant.”

While Young is fo­cussed on his Aus­tralian cus­tomer base, he is also keep­ing an eye on the in­ter­na­tional mar­ket — namely China. As the com­pany tran­si­tions to an in­creas­ingly global mind­set, Young is at the fore­front of this de­vel­op­ment.

“At the mo­ment we are look­ing at what mech­a­nisms we can em­ploy to make sure we have mit­i­gated our ex­po­sure, from a com­pany per­spec­tive, with­out hin­der­ing our abil­ity to move quickly to do busi­ness with these over­seas com­pa­nies.”

So how does he stay ahead of the game? “I keep my skillset as sharp as pos­si­ble so there’s no rea­son why I can’t be the best ver­sion of my­self. We spend more time at work than we do with fam­ily, so rather than waste that time it’s crit­i­cal you spend it hon­ing skills and find­ing jobs that keep you hun­gry to learn. This has been a guid­ing prin­ci­pal that I have al­ways car­ried with me.”

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