Plymouth accountant returns from down under

14th January 2019

Freya Hancock in Australia

Bishop Fleming’s Freya Hancock, an audit manager in the Plymouth office, recently completed a secondment with McLean Delmo Bentleys in Melbourne, Australia. Both firms are members of the Kreston international network.

The secondment program provides the opportunity for Bishop Fleming people to work in Australia and in other countries.

[Pictured: Freya Hancock, second from the left, with John Delmo, Tina Polimeni and Martin Fensome of McLean Delmo Bentleys]

Here, Freya reflects on her Australian secondment

2018: it’s a year to remember for me, not least because I spent 15 weeks on secondment in the amazing city of Melbourne, Australia.

The opportunity came about thanks to Kreston International, the global network of independent accountancy firms, of which Bishop Fleming and McLean Delmo Bentleys are members.

I was really excited about my secondment to Melbourne, but underestimated how emotionally challenging the first few weeks were going to be:

  • getting used to being away from family and friends;
  • not knowing anyone in the country;
  • trying to find somewhere nice to live whilst settling into work; and
  • adapting to the cold weather, as it was winter in Australia!

Thankfully it all slotted into place after a couple of weeks.

There was not much time spent in the office as I was out at clients most of the time. This allowed me to become very familiar with the city’s vast public transport system.

I knew it was going to be the company’s busy season and it certainly lived up to that. Some weeks I was visiting a different client every day. My colleagues were all very friendly and it was interesting getting to know them, as many have moved to Australia from other parts of the world – China, India, Malaysia, Philippines and Singapore.

McLean Delmo Bentley’s clients were friendly and interested to learn about me being on secondment from England.

I worked with clients in sectors I’m familiar with as well as those I’ve not worked with before, e.g. a company with mining tenements for gold, a Ladies’ Club, a harness racing company and a book and magazine publisher.

Another interesting element of the work was liaising with a forensic accountant from another firm over a fraud at a client.

Work occupied most of my time during the week, but I made the most of the weekends exploring Melbourne.

The apartment I lived in was in the city, so it was exciting being close to all the sights. There was a lot to see and do (and eat!), including watching Aussie Rules Football games which were entertaining.

Being such a well-connected city, I was able to go skiing for a weekend at Mount Buller, spend a long weekend in Auckland, New Zealand and enjoy a spring weekend in Adelaide.

The highlight was spending the last two weeks of my time ‘down under’ exploring the state of Victoria in a campervan.

The nature of the work overall was similar to that at Bishop Fleming, but there were a few new areas which were good to learn.

The biggest development I’ve seen in myself is increased resilience. Being completely out of my comfort zone, with the initial challenges, I was able to overcome these within a short space of time, and thoroughly enjoyed my time in Melbourne.

For anyone with an opportunity to complete an overseas secondment, grab it with both hands!

With 7 offices spanning from the West Midlands to the South West, Bishop Fleming has 29 partners and over 340 staff in the UK and is ranked 26th in The Sunday Times 100 Best Companies to Work For. Bishop Fleming is a member of Kreston International, a network of independent accounting firms in more than 100 countries.


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