- Will Fellowes is on secondment to InnoWell, a joint venture between PwC and the University of Sydney that aims to transform mental health care in Australia by combining research with digital solutions.
- Nicholas Rozario specialises in external and internal audit and advisory services, and is a key team member in Deloitte’s superannuation and asset management assurance practices in Sydney.
- Kaison Chang was recently been appointed a director in the Auckland office of Staples Rodway, just a decade after joining the firm as a graduate.
- Felicity Crimston has more than eight years’ experience in management and accounting roles, specialising in the pharmacy market.
By Carolyn Boyd, Claire Scobie and Cameron Cooper
Will Fellowes CA
Director at PwC; Chief Financial and Operations Officer of InnoWell
Will Fellowes is on secondment to InnoWell, a joint venture between PwC and the University of Sydney that aims to transform mental health care in Australia by combining research with digital solutions. He is also a board director at Northern Australia Primary Health Limited and an external committee member on the Opera Queensland Audit and Risk Committee. He has a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Queensland.
Will Fellowes vividly recalls the day when, during a traineeship with PwC, he realised he wanted to become an accountant – he was standing in a feedlot counting thousands of cattle as part of a stocktake for a multinational livestock company.
Still not one to get stuck behind a desk, Fellowes is today a respected PwC assurance director who is guiding digital health solutions business InnoWell as part of efforts to improve mental health outcomes in Australia. His dual CFO-COO role involves managing commercialisation and the relationships with the Commonwealth Department of Health.
Fellowes’ work ethic and commitment to developing a strong, inclusive and engaging workplace is evident at PwC, where he informally mentors younger professionals coming to terms with being LGBTI in the workplace. “It’s about being able to help someone who might be in a tough place at the time and letting them know they can achieve everything they want to achieve regardless of who they are,” he says.
The leadership role at InnoWell allows Fellowes to give back to society while honing his business skills in accounting, strategic advice, restructurings and equity raisings. The company is creating a mental health digital platform that will complement and enable real-time care to supplement the current fragmented model of mental health services. “Using digital technology, we can create methods to allow people to use technology to manage their health and get self-help, and then they can actually do video consultations with their clinician,” Fellowes says.
It’s about being able to help someone who might be in a tough place at the time and letting them know they can achieve everything they want to achieve regardless of who they are
Fellowes is renowned at PwC for his capacity to solve complex problems in a collaborative way. “Will’s approach is to understand all perspectives of a problem and the stakeholders involved,” PwC Assurance Innovation Leader Kristin Stubbins says. That openness lets him make “great decisions”. She also singles out two other characteristics: he knows how to “cut through to drive action”, and the same time he brings staff members with him.
Having contemplated life as a pilot, Fellowes switched to finance after listening to a PwC representative speaking at his school careers expo. His work has taken him to a range of locations, including Sydney for InnoWell, North Queensland to lead PwC’s assurance team, and to the US and UK on secondments.
Fellowes estimates that 70% of his job involves people management (with the remainder is taken up with accounting technicalities and administration). “That’s what I love, and that’s the challenge as well – keeping everyone happy.”
With no large finance or HR teams at InnoWell, he has a chance to use the full gamut of his skills. “You’ve got to be agile and be prepared to get your hands dirty.”
To guide others, Will draws on his own experience with mentors; they have urged him to be authentic and genuine, “otherwise people will see straight through you”. He keeps that in mind every day with his inspiring work at InnoWell.
“I’ve taken the leap into something very different from day-to-day chartered accounting. I’ve found I love every moment and at the same time I’m doing something that’s incredibly relevant for us as a society.”
- Cameron Cooper
Nicholas Rozario CA
Director – Deloitte Australia Assurance & Advisory
Nicholas Rozario specialises in external and internal audit and advisory services, and is a key team member in Deloitte’s superannuation and asset management assurance practices in Sydney. He has a Bachelor of Commerce (Honours)in Accounting and Finance from the University of Sydney, and a Master of Commerce in Accounting and Commercial Law from the University of Sydney.
There was never very much doubt that Nicholas Rozario would end up an accountant.
With his father, younger brother, brother’s wife and his wife all in the profession, he has been immersed in finance and accounting all his life.
“I have a secret suspicion that it’s genetics,” Rozario says. “I could complete a set of account reconciliations and maintain a general ledger before I actually learnt how to drive.”
Inquisitive, adaptive, agile – they are some of the adjectives used to describe Rozario. He has more than 14 years of financial services experience in Australia, the UK and Ireland, including roles at PwC, Macquarie Group, Lendlease and now Deloitte.
His career achievements marked him as a talent to watch: managing global assurance engagements for Australian and international banks and asset management businesses; completing and coordinating the impact assessment for AASB12 compliance for a major Australian bank; and managing teams during the global financial crisis.
Frances Borg, the Financial Services Assurance & Advisory leader for Deloitte Australia, praises Rozario’s communication skills and explains why he is a strong performer: “As the saying goes, it is not what you do, but how you do it. And that definitely applies to Nicholas. Nicholas is incredibly calm and composed. He responds well under pressure and handles difficult situations seamlessly, and that definitely makes him stand out. It also makes him a great leader.”
For Rozario, satisfaction comes from building successful teams that can deliver exceptional service and solve clients’ problems. What is the key to that? “A lot of it just comes back to listening,” he says.
I learn as much from my kids on the weekend as I do during the week at work ... and there’s no harder negotiation in life than that with a five- year-old and a four-year-old
Lessons from mentors and seniors have helped shape his work and leadership style. He recalls an occasion sitting in an audit room in Geneva full of native French-speaking business colleagues who paused frequently to translate proceedings for Rozario and ensured that his views were translated back to the group and incorporated in the solutions they were developing. “My presence probably slowed the process slightly, but as an individual I felt exceptionally valued and I use that experience in my current role to create equity and build teams.”
As a relatively young director, Rozario believes he is well placed to work with peers of all generations. But he adds: “I learn as much from my kids on the weekend as I do during the week at work ... and there’s no harder negotiation in life than that with a five- year-old and a four-year-old.”
- Cameron Cooper
Kaison Chang CA
Director, Staples Rodway
Kaison Chang was recently been appointed a director in the Auckland office of Staples Rodway, just a decade after joining the firm as a graduate. He has a bachelor of arts and a bachelor of commerce, accounting and economics from the University of Otago in New Zealand.
Kaison Chang’s steady rise through the accounting ranks is all the more remarkable given what he first studied at university – biomedical science.
“When I went to uni I didn’t really know what I wanted to do,” he admits. “I kind of got into accounting by accident.”
After a year of sciences, Chang switched to business and “gravitated to accounting” and has never looked back. Now happily dispensing business advice to companies, trusts and wealthy individuals at Staples Rodway, he is one of the firm’s youngest directors. He says his relative youth gives him an edge in understanding and forging relationships with millennials.
In addition to his regular experience at Staples Rodway, Chang has benefited from exposure to commercial work through an advisory stint with Beam Suntory, the makers of the famous Jim Beam bourbon whiskey, as well as a secondment to the firm’s Toronto office in Canada.
Chang believes success is not created in a vacuum and credits a number of excellent mentors who have given him the ability to work smarter. People skills have also helped him move through the ranks. Dealing with people is “the most enjoyable part of the role from my perspective”.
Identified as a leader within the firm, Chang describes his personal leadership approach as collaborative. “I don’t like to micro-manage. I provide opportunities and work with staff to make sure they meet their goals.” His star has risen as a result of his involvement in initiatives such as redefining the values of Staples Rodway’s Auckland office last year.
Managing director David Searle says his “great rapport with clients”, together with leadership abilities and an excellent grasp of the numbers made him “a natural fit for directorship”.
He has also championed others, backing one of his seniors for admission as a Fellow Of CA ANZ. “One of the most satisfying moments in my career was when I was able to give back to one of the mentors who helped me get to where I am today,” Chang says.
“I nominated him to be a Fellow of CA ANZ and helped put together his application. Seeing him admitted as a Fellow meant a lot to me.”
One of the benefits of new technology is that it tends to automate or make day-to-day tasks a lot simpler and frees up your time to focus on the more exciting work
In an era of disruption, the challenge for business advisers is to understand how clients like to be served, he says. His view is that there is now less need for technical advice, and more of a requirement for “providing a solution to a problem” and focusing on strategy.
“One of the benefits of new technology is that it tends to automate or make day-to-day tasks a lot simpler and frees up your time to focus on the more exciting work.”
As Chang contemplates a successful decade in the accounting sector, he can now laugh at his short-lived flirtation with the sciences. As he says: “It’s all kind of fallen into place for me.”
Felicity Crimston CA
Director at Pitcher Partners
Felicity Crimston has more than eight years’ experience in management and accounting roles, specialising in the pharmacy market. In 2014 she helped found the Women in Pharmacy networking group, first in Brisbane and now nationally. Crimston has a Bachelor of business, accounting and finance from Queensland University of Technology.
Networking and building strong relationships are central to how Felicity Crimston works. “Some people make sure it’s all about financials and management reports,” she says. “For me it’s the value- added services.” She believes that she “brings a different focus and perspective to the firm’s management team ... I chase projects with like-minded people.”
Norman Thurecht, a partner at Pitcher Partners Brisbane, says Crimston understood early in her career how the firm’s business worked. She’s invested time not only in her own career development but also in that of her team, he says, “constantly challenging the status quo”. He credits her “extreme focus on her clients” with delivering the best possible business and compliance outcomes. “Felicity is an outstanding member of our team and a future leader,” he says.
I chase projects with like-minded people
To climb the career ladder – her next step would be partnership – Crimston believes in good role models and putting in the hours. “Nothing replaces hard work,” she says. Early in her career, Felicity wanted to move into commercial accounting. Partner Mark Nicholson persuaded her to stay in public practice because he saw her potential. “I don’t think I would have progressed as far in my career if I’d moved,” she says.>
Advice can be less helpful, though. She was advised not to have a family early. “That’s old-fashioned. If you have flexible work arrangements, having a family shouldn’t hold you back.”
- Claire Scobie
Carolyn Boyd is a journalist with 20 years’ experience and an MBA. Claire Scobie is an award-winning author, business storytelling consultant and journalist. Cameron Cooper is a freelance business journalist who lives in Brisbane.
Listen: KPMG chair walks a tightrope
KPMG Australia chairman Alison Kitchen , who is a senior partner in the Australian firm, has worked her way up through the ranks over 30 years.Read more