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Real Business : Autumn 2008
22 REAL BUSINESS AUTUMN 2008 RANDY LARCOMBE an active role when evaluating investment decisions, whether it is the construction of a power generation plant or the acquisition of a business. There have been more than 20 acquisitions that Origin has entered into over the last five years." All of this means that variety really is the spice of life for graduates contemplating joining Origin, which has only recently formalised its Finance Graduate Program. This new program is designed to give a taste of each of Origin's financial functions while building the graduate's accounting foundation skills. As chair of Origin's Finance Graduate Committee, Gavin Reid FCPA, who himself joined Santos as part of a graduate program before moving to Origin, is passionate about bringing graduates into Origin and exposing them to the company's various businesses. Alice Fan CPA has experienced a variety of roles since joining Origin in 2005. Back then she knew absolutely nothing about how the natural gas and electricity business worked. But Origin supported her every step of the way to grow her knowledge. "I worked in the natural gas retail business before moving to the electricity carbon trading business. This has given me exposure to the two main business units of Origin and a better understanding of the energy supply chain. Origin has helped me by providing sufficient work skills and industry training to accommodate the transition," she says. Fan now works in the electricity carbon trading business at Origin as a management accountant, where she has to monitor, analyse and report on the carbon trading business. "This involves maintaining a good understand- ing of the carbon products, accounting for the carbon commodities to ensure they correctly align with the relevant accounting standards, and evaluating the impact of price movements in the energy spot market." Origin supports those in its Finance Graduate Program completing the CPA Program. "The graduate process is designed to give applicants a broad understanding of Origin -- our business, our systems and our people," Reid says. "And then after that they're suitably prepared to jump off into the areas that interest them most. The great thing about Origin is that wherever you find the business is where you'll find the accountants, supporting and providing valuable insight." ■ coMpANy profile: ORIgIN All of Origin's good environmental intentions would amount to nothing without the backing of a strong financial team, which is broken into three areas: corporate finance, located in Sydney which encompasses financial accounting, tax, treasury, performance management and planning at a group level; finance operations, comprising a finance service centre in Adelaide and group operations finance function in Melbourne; and business functions that are embedded in the various operating business units (retail, exploration and production, major development projects and generation) and support functions (such as information technology), located across Sydney, Adelaide, Brisbane and Melbourne. Indeed, Calabria says finance is the backbone of Origin. "Each year, finance is responsible for the delivery of the five-year financial plan, and this process extends from preparation to group consolidation," Calabria says. "It is also responsible for funding Origin's growth. In terms of strategy implementation, finance is critical, as it plays MONICA BUTEANU ASA ACCOUNTANT, ORIGIN SOLAR PANEL RESEARCH FACILITY -- SLIVER SOLAR FLAIR THE THING I MOST LIKE ABOUT ORIGIN ... IS ITS ATTITUDE TOWARDS THE ENVIRONMENT When Monica Buteanu ASA joined Origin's major development projects (MDP) in January 2007 as a graduate accountant, the company was only operating graduate programs on a divisional level. But that all changed at the end of 2007 when the Finance Graduate Program was formalised. Buteanu jumped at the chance to enrol. "This program is amazing because it takes you all around Origin and gives you a really good overview -- it shows you how all the businesses tie together," she says. "I've already worked across two departments since joining Origin in January 2007, but I'll get much more exposure [in 2008] when the program ramps up." After four months at Origin, Buteanu was offered a finance role within SLIVER, Origin's solar panel research facility, where she has been involved in monthly management reporting, forecasting, month-end closing, costing, as well as R&D tax return preparation and costing. "It's 10 times harder than I thought it would be, but I absolutely love it," she says. "The thing I like most about Origin ... is its attitude towards the environment," she says. "It does all these amazing things like carbon trading, and research into new technologies and renewable energies. All the people I work with are also really concerned about the environment. You see people turning off their monitors and taking their bikes to work. Every single person here wants to make a difference." ■ NET GAINS Want to calculate your environmental impact? Go to Origin's Go Green Calculator www.origingreen.com.au