Date posted: 20/11/2020 5 min read

Meet the 2020 President’s Prize winner

Ryan Hanson CA didn’t set out to be an accountant, but now the President’s Prize winner tells others to aim for the CA.

In Brief

  • Ryan Hanson CA gained his CA designation in 2016, after a summer stint in the CBA’s accounting division changed his career aspirations.
  • During his two years on the CA Speaker program he promoted accounting as a career to university students.
  • The 2020 President’s Prize recognises his contribution to the accounting profession and the community.

Ryan Hanson CA studied finance and mathematics at university with the intention of being a stockbroker, but that all changed when he joined the graduate program at the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA).

“I was in the 10-week summer intensive program at the CBA in their accounting division and it really sparked my interest, and everything went from there,” says Hanson.

Eight years on and Hanson, 30, is still at the bank. Now a senior manager, business partner at CBA’s Chief Data Office, he is working on the bank’s data management project and added a CA accreditation to his name in 2016.

Hanson has also embraced Chartered Accountants ANZ as an organisation. He served as the chair of the NSW Young CA Panel in 2019, and for two years was on the CA Speaker program, where he promoted chartered accounting as a career choice. He spoke at information sessions and panel events at multiple universities, as well as attending networking events in collaboration with student societies.

Those efforts have been recognised in 2020 with Hanson named as the winner of the CA ANZ President’s Prize – an accolade he is thrilled about.

“I’ve got so much out of the organisation, and I’m passionate about young CAs staying engaged, and keeping CA ANZ front of mind as they move forward in their careers,” he says.

“Young CAs are the future of the profession and I’m committed to helping raise the agenda for young CAs and take things forward.”

The President’s Prize recognises a CA ANZ member aged under 35 who has made an outstanding commitment to the accounting profession and used their skills to serve the local community. 

Hanson is one of 11 Young Regional Advocates named in September from regions in Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Hong Kong and the UK, who vied for the President’s Prize.

Ryan Hanson CA Picture: Ryan Hanson CA.

“Ryan has shown tremendous dedication to strengthen the future of the profession,” said Chartered Accountants ANZ President Peter Rupp FCA.

“We are both keen to amplify the voice of the next generation of Chartered Accountants so they can be part of the shaping of their own future.

“This is one of the reasons why as the winner, Ryan will also be provided with the opportunity to become a shadow Councillor for 2021 on our Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand Council, as part of the prize.

“I look forward to seeing how Ryan will continue to make a difference and encourage his fellow young Chartered Accountants so that along the way their collective voice only grows stronger.”

Dealing with a disruptive year

It’s been a trying year for many people. Hanson credits his network of friends – many of whom are CAs – with helping him through feelings of isolation when he moved out of his family home in Wollongong to an apartment in Sydney’s inner west earlier this year.

“I moved right at the time the first lockdowns happened in April, and it was a big change,” he says. “I was used to a busy and crazy house with the five of us, and a four-hour daily commute to and from work. Then it went to being by myself in the apartment and working from home.”

Hanson imposed structures on himself, keeping office hours while working from home to make things as normal as possible.

“Like a lot of people, I found that my workload did increase during the lockdown, so I wanted to be sure that while I got everything done, it didn’t encroach and take over my life,” he says.

“I struggled at times, because it was a quiet environment at home, but I’m happy that I’ve built a really quality network over the past few years and they helped me adapt quickly.”

A seat at the tech table

At CBA, Hanson looks after the graduate program for the Financial Services division of the bank. He brings about 10 graduates in to the bank each year and allocates them across different areas, in addition to bringing in undergraduates.

Hanson’s role is in the recently formed A$250 million data division, which has the mission of protecting the bank’s data and using it to improve both internal processes and the customer experience.

Founded more than 100 years ago, the CBA has a wealth of legacy data that requires aggregation and management so it can be used effectively in a modern organisation.

“I’m there as a business partner to help the data experts with the day-to-day management of their costs, and help with their governance,” Hanson says.

“I’m there as a business partner to help the data experts with the day-to-day management of their costs.”
Ryan Hanson CA

“The challenge is making sure we are making the right strategic decisions on budgets, and in areas such as engaging vendors and making sure the contracts are right.

“Not coming from a technology background it’s a big learning curve, but I have a seat at the table and am able to offer a different perspective.”

Data is the new black

The key to that perspective, says Hanson, is his CA training, which offers an “alternative finance-driven mindset” to the more IT-focused staff working under the direction of the bank’s recently appointed chief data officer.

“Data is so important, it’s the ‘new black’ if you like, so there’s a major effort going into that with around 1000 staff across the bank,” he says.

“The CA background helps me ask the right questions, I think, and contribute to the efficiency and performance of the group.”

“The CA background helps me ask the right questions.”
Ryan Hanson CA

It is another step in Hanson’s progression as a leader, as he looks for roles where he can make a difference and work to develop a team.

“I like to solve problems, so what excites me is going into areas that have things to clean up and fix,” he says.

“I don’t really want to go into jobs where everything is running by the book. I like to make a difference.”

Find out more:

Young Regional Advocate winners 2020

Young Chartered Accountants from Australia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom have been selected as the 2020 Young Regional Advocates.

Read more

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