Edward So and Marie Duardo talk about their recent Morison KSi professional secondments to the USA
For several years now, Hill Rogers has been a proud and active member of Morison KSi, a global association of 163 leading professional service firms across 84 countries. At last count, the Morison KSi network was home to more than 10,300 career professionals – two of which are our very own Edward So and Marie Duardo, from the Hill Rogers Business Solutions team in Sydney.
Earlier this year Edward and Marie took part in hands-on secondments to the USA, co-ordinated directly through Morison KSi. It saw them spend three months with respected accountancy and business advisory firm, Sensiba San Filippo, in northern California.
“We were lucky enough to be with Sensiba San Filippo (SSF) from January to April 2018,” Edward said on their return to Australia. “At a personal level it was all about gaining a deeper understanding and new perspectives on day-to-day operations and business needs. But at a broader level, the knowledge and skills we shared were an important step in helping to foster a strong, successful and ongoing working partnership between SSF and Hill Rogers.”
Edward and Marie were part of the SSF Audit division during their stay, with Edward working as a Senior Associate and Marie as a Senior Auditor of Venture Capital funds. Both were impressed with the level of teamwork on display each day. “It really highlighted how crucial teamwork and a positive culture is for a business to thrive and succeed,” Marie said. “There was definitely a strong sense of togetherness and team spirit,” Edward added. “That was even more important during the busy tax season – which is when we were there!
“We also had the chance to meet senior members of the team,” Edward continued. “Including John Sensiba, the Managing Partner of SSF, and SSF Audit Partner, Bob Belshe, who has an existing relationship with the Audit division here at Hill Rogers.”
Beyond assisting SSF clients in the preparation of accounts and various tax compliance matters, Edward and Marie had the opportunity to develop their professional knowledge base. “I was introduced to a new accounting software package that will allow us to broaden the suite of software options we offer to our clients, “ Edward said. “We also had many enlightening discussions with the SSF Partners and Managers about the similarities and differences between the Australian and US tax systems. One of the main things I realised was things in Australia are so much simpler!”
Armed with this newfound appreciation of US tax system, Edward says he’s even better equipped to assist his Sydney clients as and when the need arises. “We definitely have a greater understanding of how things work in the USA. We’ve also developed strong professional contacts at SSF,” he continues. “It means we can confidently refer clients who are interested in doing business in the United States, or perhaps moving there for work.”
Marie had similar experiences and agrees the secondment has helped to bring the two firms closer together, despite being on opposite sides of the Pacific. “It’s a great way to build Hill Rogers’ relationship with other firms who are part of the Morison KSi group, and also to encourage future opportunities,” she explained. “I’ve brought back a new set of skills in a different accounting division and differing industries that we can now apply to our own processes and scope of work at Hill Rogers.”
According to both Marie and Edward the benefits of their SSF experience were about more than just the work itself. “It enables you to grow personally as an individual and also professionally in your career,” Marie said. “By experiencing a new and different way of life in all aspects it can change your entire perspective on things. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I would highly recommend to anyone up for the adventure!” Edward wholeheartedly agrees. “Overall it was just a wonderful experience. I’d definitely recommend it to anyone who has a similar opportunity.”
As for the non-work highlights of their stay in northern California? Here are Edward and Marie’s top three things to see, eat and explore:
Edward – Twin Peaks and Coit Tower has amazing 360-degree views of the city and San Francisco Bay.
Marie – You can’t go to San Francisco without going on a boat ride under the Golden Gate Bridge.
Edward – Clam chowder served in a sourdough bread bowl at Fisherman’s Wharf.
Marie – Little Italy is a must for great food and Ghiradelli Square for dessert.
Edward – Hop on an old tram (part of the world’s last manually-operated cable car system) and explore the hilly streets of San Francisco!
Marie – Union Square and Westfield for fantastic shopping!