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Real Business : Issue 3 2008
AHEAD OF THE CURVE Obtaining a US visa or green card can be tough at times (see “View to a visa”) but Weber Shandwick handled all the details for English. “My wife and I simply needed to visit the US Embassy in London and everything was arranged,” English explains. “It was very straightforward.” Similarly, finding accommodation wasn’t a hassle. Weber Shandwick paid for two months in a serviced apartment, which gave the couple time to scope out different neighbourhoods. Eventually they decided on a place in Greenwich Village that a real estate broker helped them find. English describes the apartment as fairly small but comparable in size and price with the one he had London. View to a visa If you want to live and work in New York, or anywhere in the US, you must have the correct visa. In the case of Richard English CPA, his employer Weber Shandwick sponsors his stay. Like to work in the US one day? A good way is to start working for a multinational with a US branch and then apply for a posting. Having your paperwork in order is essential. If you’re an Australian citizen you could be eligible for the exchange visitor visa via the student work and travel program, launched in October 2007. The E-3 visa allows Australian nationals who have specialty occupations to work in the US. And then there’s the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, which makes available an extra 50,000 permanent resident visas annually. of the world he wanted to explore. While working in the Southeast Asian financial centre, an internal transfer to London was presented and grasped. “I honestly never thought I’d live in multiple cities around the world,” he says. The chance to work in New York came about when the firm’s worldwide CFO made one of his regular London visits. “We discussed several key initiatives that he wanted to roll out worldwide,” English explains. “I had completed similar projects in Europe, so it was a good opportunity to move to New York and work on worldwide issues.” The job wasn’t advertised – not even internally – so there was no competition for it. If English wanted it, the gig was his. Moving from one country to another can be an incredibly stressful and complicated experience. Yet one way to avoid some of the duress is to change jobs within the same multinational company, just as English has done. 8 WITH OFFICES in many international hubs, Weber Shandwick is a major player in the communications industry, handling the affairs of big-name clients such as Microsoft, General Motors and MasterCard. As worldwide director of finance and planning, it’s English’s job to oversee all of the budgeting and reporting for the company. “It’s a great role that gives me plenty of exposure to all of our offices worldwide,” he says. “On a typical day I would speak with several finance directors in North America, Europe and the Asia-Pacific. Managing employee costs in line with revenue growth is the number one priority for our finance group – the CFO and I both task ourselves with [this], which allows the CEO and senior PR executives to focus on growing the business.” While there are opportunities for CPAs to make great money in New York, the cost of living is high. Move there and you’ll be paying federal, state and city taxes. Food and entertainment expenses are typically pricey. Then again, you’ll be exposed to a cultural and commercial environment that sets the pace for everywhere else. “Manhattan is one of the great cities in the world, with something to see and do on every corner,” says English. “Diversity is everywhere – you see bankers, artists and locals who have been here 50-plus years. Everyone has a story to tell.” NET GAINS Visit the US embassy website http://canberra.usembassy.gov/consular/visas/niv/studentwork.html Check out the US Department of State website http://travel.state.gov/visa/immigrants/types/types_1322.html Find out about New York salaries https://www.cpaaustralia.com.au/links?724_21736 How expensive is it to live in New York? Go to http://www.mercerhr.com/costofliving Like to know more about the E-3 visa? Go to http://canberra.usembassy.gov/consular/visa-e3.html The restaurant and bar scene is hard to beat, with each establishment trying to outdo the pack. Unfortunately, you could also say that about the city’s denizens – that many are striving to make a name for themselves, sometimes with little heed for others. “New York is full of people trying to get ahead and stay ahead,” says English. “Therefore, everyone is generally looking out for themselves, and you need to develop a thick skin pretty quickly. People are very, very ambitious and driven. As a result, relaxed friends can sometimes be hard to find.” That said, English does not hesitate to recommend a New York posting for anyone considering such a move. “Working overseas, wherever it might be, will open up your eyes to a whole new world,” he says. “Throwing yourself into a new country WORKING OVERSEAS, WHEREVER IT MIGHT BE, WILL OPEN YOUR EYES TO A WHOLE NEW WORLD RICHARD ENGLISH CPA and culture is a wonderful way to grow and thrive personally and professionally.” English has gained much from the three foreign postings he’s had to date. “Singapore was a wonderful venture into the Asian culture,” he says. “Although the city is very Westernised, it offers some fantastic work and lifestyle opportunities for expats.” London he calls “a grand old city” – one of the world’s most multicultural, and a great central point to explore continental Europe. “I have very fond memories of London,” English says, “in particular meeting and marrying my Dutch wife! “But for me New York has been the greatest city to live in. Every day there is something to see. In terms of energy levels, nothing is comparable with Manhattan.” ¦ REAL BUSINESS ISSUE 3, 2008 GLENN MOFFATT
Issue 1 2009