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Real Business : Autumn 2008
One of the exciting aspects of joining the public sector for Venessa Lim CPA, 31, was being presented with the opportunity to work for a new government agency at its outset. Lim joined the Future Fund -- the Australian federal government's investment fund established with $18 billion seed capital to help cover the cost of the Commonwealth's unfunded superannuation liabilities -- just a few months after it was established in 2006. When Lim joined the Future Fund it had just five employees. Today that number has grown to almost 30 and the Fund's investments have burgeoned to more than $61 billion. As the Fund's financial accountant, Lim consequently has been responsible for establishing many of its systems and procedures, dealing with compliance, procurement and the day-to-day financial accounting as well as month-end reporting, monthly management and board reports and budget preparations. She is now working within a department of four reporting to the head of finance and working along with the investment accountant and a graduate assistant accountant. Lim left behind the private commercial world, where she'd worked for a manufacturing company and engineering giant Worley Parsons, and had completed her CPA (a program which, she insists, delivers great public and private employment opportunities, career prospects and has given her better bargaining power within the workforce). The major difference between the public and private sectors, she says, is in the compliance required. Budget updates are provided monthly and must meet the stipulations of government financial policy. "There's a real sense that what you are doing is important, generated in part by the amount of public and media interest in the Fund's operations," she says. "I like the chance it presents to grow. There's the possibility to move into investment accounting, which I may well take up." Lim's tip to graduates considering the public sector is to look for a role in an area that interests them and undertake the professional year while studying. "The benefits for career advancement will be enormous." n VENESSA LIM CPA FUTURE FUND nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn