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Real Business : Autumn 2008
REAL BUSINESS AUTUMN 2008 9 planned takeover doesn't eventuate, there are some advantages. The injection of capital can provide much-needed fuel for growth. And the alignment with a big player can send the share price skyward, depending on how the market sees the move. For the "spoiler", this is where things can be risky, as evidenced in the BSkyB transaction. Shareholders reacted to what they saw as the company tying up £1 billion (A$2.24 billion) in a passive invest- ment and the share price took a pounding. Companies can also use spoiling tactics in other ways. Microsoft was finding it difficult to penetrate the world's second-largest PC market, China, due to the country's tendency towards piracy and the cost of Microsoft's products. As a result, the open-source product Linux was taking hold fast. Not wanting the fastest- growing market in the world to slip from its fin- gertips, Microsoft released its Vista Windows/ Office bundle to students in China at a seem- ingly ludicrous discount of $3. The result? Ninety per cent of China's 120 million PCs now use Microsoft. How's that for a spoil? n DID YOU KNOW? A "POISON PILL" IS THE NAME FOR A TACTIC USED BY A COMPANY TO AVOID A HOSTILE TAKEOVER OUR TIME IS LIMITED, SO DON'T WASTE TIME LIVING SOMEONE ELSE'S LIFE Apple founder Steve Jobs Where did you do your work experience? As a CPA Passport student I was given the fantastic opportunity to take part in CPA Australia's Work Experience Program, and as a result was matched up with the Tasmania Fire Service. Once my uni exams were out of the way I started working in the Fire Service's HQ in Hobart. But before commencing my placement in finance I was show n arou nd the other departments and introduced to the staff. What tasks were you assigned? I was allocated a diverse range of projects. Using a software package called Prophecy (the main program used by the Fire Service), I was able to retrieve, enter and check data from invoices and spreadsheets. My very first task was processing a batch of phone reimbursement invoices. I had to enter these into a spreadsheet and submit the results to the finance manager. My daily duties also included general admin. Some of the other tasks I had involved regularly checking for errors, as well as updating data on a variety of spreadsheets, such as petty cash receipts and monthly insurance payments collected by the Fire Service. What was the highlight? During my work placement I was lucky enough to spend an afternoon with two other members of the finance team in Cambridge, where the State Fire Service training facilities and vehicle maintenance and fabrication workshop are located. Taking a ride in a brand new fire truck, which was constructed in the Cambridge workshop, was the highlight for me. We tested out its four-wheel-drive capabilities in the Fire Ser vice's nearby training grounds. What did you think of the work culture? The finance team consisted of six women, five of whom had names beginning with "S", making it fairly difficult to remember, and the team leader, who was the only male. Everyone was very friendly and helpful, and didn't mind me looking over their shoulders and asking lots of questions. Because the team had been working together for a while, it was a good-natured and supportive environment. This made it easy to learn and not feel awkward about asking questions, or having to grab someone to fix the odd error I'd made! What's your advice for Passport students? CPA Passport provides you with wonderful opportunities, and does all the groundwork for you. I found the Work Experience Program extremely helpful, as it provided a great introduction to the finance industry. I was able to gain a real perspective of an office environment, and also to acquire invaluable experience for the future -- in work and life. I would definitely recommend applying for the CPA Passport Work Experience Program to anyone. n experienCe works Claire Morford-waite is in the third and final year of a Bachelor of Business at the university of tasmania. she completed work experience with the tasmania fire service last January.