Carolyn Wenger – Financial Controller
Joined Honan: February 2018
A quote capturing your approach to your role
“Luck or success is what happens when preparation meets opportunity” – Roman Philosopher Seneca.
Tell us about yourself
I spent the first five years of my career at Ernst & Young in audit and assurance, working with clients in the Minerals, Energy & Utilities sectors. Having completed the Chartered Accountants program, I moved to London for two years, where I worked in a financial accounting role at Shell London. This was one of the most amazing experiences of my life! After returning to Melbourne, I spent over ten years at Spotless Group Ltd as the Corporate Accounting Manager.
I come from a place of ‘say yes’ and ‘go away and figure it out later’. This approach to new challenges has given me experience across statutory reporting, accounting for acquisitions, and systems migration. In fact, it was my expertise in these areas that that led to me being offered this role at Honan, with my first project being the migration of the financial accounting system to Oracle.
Outside of work, I love spending time with my husband and my two children, who will be off to high school in the not-too-distant future. We enjoy going to the beach and catching up with family and friends.
What does the Financial Controller do?
- I oversee the day-to-day operations of the Finance department across all regions (Australia, Asia, and New Zealand). I ensure Honan meets all its financial and regulatory compliance obligations to maintain our Australian Financial Services Licence.
- Together with the COO, Laurence Basell, and the wider Finance team, we provide timely financial results to the Brokers, Management, and the Board to enable decision making.
- There has been a focus on merger and acquisition activity and the resulting integrations have been keeping us busy!
The world is demanding more data in shorter timeframes and in more formats to make decisions in real-time. There is a convergence trend of finance and operational data, and the lines between finance and operations are blurring. We have moved our systems to open, cloud-based applications, to ensure data can be shared and analysed. This allows the team to leverage data and analytics tools including Tableau and PowerBI. This trend is expected to increase in the coming years, and we are extending the reporting and availability of data.
We see a trend, post-Covid, of staff continuing to want the flexibility of working remotely, and therefore the availability of remote, cloud applications for staff to work anywhere and anytime is critical. This is particularly important in Finance as many roles can be performed remotely and to ensure we can attract and retain the best talent, this flexibility is a must.
What do you find most motivating about your role?
- I genuinely enjoy coming to work and I am very lucky to be supported by a great team who are enthusiastic and willing to learn. Coaching our junior staff and watching their development is a real highlight for me.
- I’m passionate about my work (even though it’s accounting) and I am always striving to make efficiency improvements.
- There is always a new challenge around the corner!
Biggest learning from your time at Honan?
I have never been one for planning my career journey too far ahead – I have felt fortunate to have a great job and raise my children but working at Honan has allowed me to dream bigger. I have since discovered that with the right support to encourage me to grow and have more confidence, my career development opportunities are limitless.
Your core focus for the year ahead?
- Right now, it’s on the year-end audit process!
- Implementation of our new broking platform.
- Embedding enhancements to our reporting capabilities, which will empower all parts of our business.
Recommended further reading?
Patricia Cornwall – “The Kay Scarpetta Series” – crime novels that centre around a fictional, brilliant, forensic pathologist. I discovered these books in my late teens and I am very excited that the 25th book, ‘Autoposy’ will be out later this year. This will be going on my Christmas wish list!