- Chaz Prezident CA, the founder of Crowdfunding.com.au, was one of four Queensland Young Australian of the Year nominees for 2019.
- He was recognised for his “enthusiasm, passion and significant contributions to the Australian business community”.
- Although he missed out on the national finals, Prezident used the platform to promote the essential role accountants play in the community.
By Roger Balch
Finding out he was one of four Queensland Young Australian of the Year nominees for 2019 was a real thrill for Chaz Prezident CA.
“When I got that phone call I was absolutely shell-shocked. You think it's just another call, and then it becomes a very, very big week. It's just unbelievable,” he says.
The chartered accountant is the founder of Crowdfunding.com.au (Australia’s largest crowdfunding platform) and volunteer president of the Gold Coast Junior Chamber of Commerce – a network for young professionals in the region. His day job? Founding partner and director of Gold Coast financial services practice Whitehouse Private Wealth.
The National Australia Day Council’s honour roll cites Prezident’s “enthusiasm, passion and significant contributions to the Australian business community”. But he says one of the lasting benefits of his nomination is that it helps raise the profile of accountants.
“For the next 12 months, it'll be huge. I'm really excited to represent chartered accountants and accountants through lots of speaking opportunities. You get to do all of these things to remind people to be nice to their accountant!”
For Prezident, promoting the major role accountants play in a local community is important.
“I think everyone undervalues the role of an accountant in the community – the absolute client-first nature that we strive to achieve, and the practical advice and solutions and the problem solving. You're not ‘just an accountant’; accountancy is definitely an integral part of the community.”
Why choose the CA designation?
Prezident believes having his chartered accountant designation has helped him gain the respect of his local community.
“I chose to do chartered accounting as my accreditation because of the reputation and the social status of it. It’s a prestigious brand – it’s almost an elite club because of the difficulty of accreditation. I was brought to it from a challenge perspective, and I recognised the weight and strength of the brand.
“But people know we're still people, and I think when you have that people-first mentality that’s what resonates. We’re respected by our clients and ultimately by the community.”
“I think when you have that people-first mentality that’s what resonates. We’re respected by our clients and ultimately by the community.”
Contributing to the community
Prezident’s volunteer role with the Gold Coast Junior Chamber of Commerce is another way he contributes to the community.
“That’s completely unpaid. And we work closely with LIVIN, a mental health organisation. This makes sense, because we’re small business owners. The challenge is not only the physical demands of running a small business, it’s also the mental fatigue. So we've done workshops in combination with LIVIN to give people the skill sets to deal with emotional stress or any other type of mental stressors that they're going through.”
As it turned out, Prezident wasn’t chosen as Queensland’s nominee for the national Young Australian of the Year, but he is still delighted at being nominated.
“To be not only the only chartered accountant to be nominated, but the only accountant nationwide to be nominated as Young Australian of the Year, it’s been fantastic. It was a bit of a whirlwind – but amazing.”