Date posted: 31/07/2023 10 min read

Much more than money: How scholarships support careers

Whether you’re starting on the path to becoming a chartered accountant or are wanting to advance your existing career, a scholarship can give you the upper hand to achieve your goals.

In Brief

  • Students and CA ANZ members can apply for a range of scholarships and awards.
  • Beyond the financial benefit, scholarships are an impressive addition to your CV and may offer networking opportunities.
  • Individuals and firms can get involved and offer scholarships too, supporting their local talent pipeline.

Even with government subsidies, budding chartered accountants in Australia and New Zealand will still pay $6000$15,000 per year for a bachelor’s degree, followed by their CA Program fees. Scholarships can provide inspiration and motivation – as well as financial resources – for people at all stages of their accounting career.

We take a look at some of the opportunities available through Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand, and hear from some of the 2022 winners about the difference a scholarship can make.

Regional scholarships

CA ANZ offers a range of scholarships for students from different regions: including Taranaki and New Zealand, western New South Wales and regional Australia.

One such regional scholarship is the Gisborne Region Financial Assistance Fund, which provides financial assistance to Year 13 and tertiary students who either live in the Gisborne/east coast region of New Zealand, or have a strong connection to the region. The fund was created by CA ANZ with the support of Eastland Group, Coates Associates and Graham & Dobson Accountants. It provides up to NZ$4000 to help successful applicants develop their skills in accounting and encourage them to pursue their studies in this area.

Both of the 2022 recipients, Kevin Rutapiri and Tiaki Harris, agree that winning the scholarship has made an important difference. Kevin Rutapiri decided he wanted to be an accountant when he was at high school in the Solomon Islands. Since moving to Gisborne five years ago, he has developed a particular interest in taxation. “The scholarship helped me very much because I have a family here and quite a lot of expenses,” he says. “I was able to use the money to pay for my fees.”

He believes the scholarship also supported his career by strengthening his credentials. “I think that, when you apply for a job, having won a scholarship helps you to stand out,” he says. From an early age, Harris was determined to excel at a well-paid career. Maths was one of his favourite subjects at school and the more he found out about accounting, the more attracted he was to the profession.

“The scholarship has been a huge help with the cost of fees and resources, particularly the technology needed to access the online courses,” he says. “It really lifted a financial burden for me and my family.”

Kevin RutapiriPictured: Kevin Rutapiri. Image credit: Strike Photography.

“I think that, when you apply for a job, having won a scholarship helps you to stand out.”
Kevin Rutapiri

Increasing representation

In addition to regional scholarships, others are open to students of a particular background. For example, some are specifically for First Nations Australians, Māori students or those with Pacific heritage.

The Ngā Raumanako Māori Scholarship and Suzanne Spencer Memorial Māori Scholarship are open to Māori tauira (students) who are in their second or subsequent year of studying for an accounting qualification. They recognise academic success and commitment to the profession, and also dedication to Māori communities.

University of Canterbury student Cassidy Ray-Matthews, who received the NZ$5000 Ngā Raumanako Māori Scholarship, has a goal of helping struggling families to break the poverty cycle by offering them free financial services.

“Understanding accounting is one way we can help our whānau [families] claim what they are entitled to, by utilising trusts and other avenues to promote health, social, cultural and economic welfare, education and general advancement for future generations,” she says.

She is also concerned that Māori are under-represented in the accounting profession and sees the scholarship as one way of opening the door for other students.

“I would like to be an ambassador for Māori in accounting,” she says. “I’m hoping that this scholarship will provide networking opportunities that will help to connect me with other leaders in this space who have a similar vision to me.”

The NZ$6000 Suzanne Spencer Memorial Māori Scholarship was awarded to Mary Betham, a Bachelor of Commerce student at the University of Otago. When she heard about the opportunity from a friend she felt drawn to the organisation’s mission of increasing the number of Māori within the accounting profession.

“Their mission statement really resonates with me and my personal experience,” she says. “I too would like to be on the other side, supporting tauira Māori in their academic endeavours and supporting the successful economic development of Māori businesses and entities. I hope that I will be doing that in the future.”

She also hopes that her example will have a positive impact on her whānau, as well as other tauira Māori with a background similar to her own by showing what they could achieve. “No matter what kind of start you have in life you’re always capable of much more than you realise,” she says.

Leadership in Government Awards

CA ANZ’s annual Leadership in Government Awards recognise two ‘difference makers’ – chartered accountants who are making a significant contribution to their organisation and the wider Australian community. In 2022, Elisha Toey CA received the Achievement Award, while Joyce Low FCA was recognised with the Outstanding Contribution to the Public Sector Award.

As executive adviser to Janine Bristow, chief finance officer at the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), Toey develops professional development programmes for staff delivered through the Financial Management professional stream. She runs what are known as ‘CA communities’, which make the expertise and resources available to the whole agency. She is also a member of the chief financial officer subgroup, which has been tasked with developing the professionalisation of accounting and finance staff across the Australian Public Service.

“CA ANZ has been critically important to what we’ve been able to achieve at the ATO and it’s really lovely to be recognised for the work I’ve been doing here.”
Elisha Toey CA

She plans to invest the A$10,000 award in progressing her career. “I’m really passionate about the value proposition of being a public servant,” says Toey. “I think there’s something really wonderful about working for the good of others and it was very humbling to win the award. CA ANZ has been critically important to what we’ve been able to achieve at the ATO and it’s really lovely to be recognised for the work I’ve been doing here.”

Low, CFO and director of governance and risk for the New South Wales Public Service Commission, is credited with making a step-change for the benefit of the Australian public.

“That wasn’t a single event but more the result of having the resilience and courage to question whether things could be done differently,” she says.

One example is her work with the NSW Department of Education during the rollout of an enterprise financial planning/forecasting system to all public schools.

Joyce Low FCAPictured: Joyce Low FCA. Image credit: Peter Morris / Sydney Heads.

“When you prepare the submission you think, “Wow, did I do all that?’. I think that’s really important for your own career.”
Joyce Low FCA

Bringing in a user experience company for the first time – a precursor to what’s now called human-centred design – smoothed integration by meeting the needs of people using the system. As a member of the CA ANZ NSW regional council, Low also took the initiative to establish a public sector advisory panel with the purpose of connecting chartered accountants working in the public sector.

The award recognised her ability to lead by example – and she’s planning to use the A$20,000 she received to give something back to the public sector, perhaps by supporting research.

“As a public servant I uphold the public service values – trust, integrity, service and accountability – and they’ve really served me well in my career,” she says.

Low encourages others to apply for scholarships as a way of reflecting on what you’ve achieved. “When you prepare the submission you think, ‘Wow, did I do all that?’” she says. “I think that’s really important for your own career.”

Three reasons to apply for a scholarship

1. Scholarships can encourage particular groups to increase their representation in the accounting profession, benefiting individuals and communities.

2. While the financial reward is always welcome, a scholarship can bring other benefits such as a strengthened CV, networking opportunities and inspiration for others.

3. It’s easy to overlook your own ac\ accomplishments. Reflecting on these when you apply for a scholarship can be a great motivator in itself.

The rewards of offering a scholarship

Graham & Dobson Accountants is one of the three firms which joined with Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand to create the Gisborne Region Financial Assistance Fund.

“We wanted to show our support and encouragement for students keen to further their study in the area of accounting,” says principal June Hall FCA. “We saw this as an opportunity to join with other like-minded employers and organisations to promote the opportunities and the profession. We all pool our funds to provide the cash reward.”

Worthy recipients are chosen from candidates who are studying locally. This year there were two; some years there has been only one.

“The CA ANZ infrastructure makes it easy to advertise, assess and distribute the funds,” says Hall. “For anyone considering funding a scholarship, this is a good way to support the profession in the district, without having to set up and manage the process yourself.”

Tiaki HarrisPictured: Tiaki Harris. Image credit: Strike Photography.

“The scholarship has been a huge help with the cost of fees and resources, particularly the technology needed to access the online courses.”
Tiaki Harris

CA ANZ scholarships

You’ll find a range of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand-related scholarships here.

The Leadership in Government Awards open in June and close at 5pm on 27 August 2023: Visit: and search for leadership in government awards