Five minutes with Jo Austin, one of our 30 year firm veterans!

Joanne (Jo) Austin first joined the firm in 1987, straight out of school and looking for work. Initially just a small business with six people operating out of an East Perth house, Jo has been with the firm for 30 years and has seen it grow from six people to close to 100; from East Perth, to Osborne Park, and finally into the Perth CBD.

We caught up with Jo on her 30th anniversary to ask her a few questions about her time with the firm.


What was your first job with the firm and what made you apply for a role with an accounting firm?

Jo’s first role at the firm was as an administrative assistant. Jo needed a job and saw this at the local Centrelink, posted on a job board. She called them and promptly started the job in June, 1987. There were no computers initially, and when they finally got a computer for reports, Jo was the only one allowed to use it. She’s since progressed with technology and has moved from a manual typewriter, to three screens and a laptop.

What do you do now and how has that job evolved?

The biggest change has been to the technology used in the office. As mentioned above, Jo has gone from no technological assistance to a position that requires an almost exclusive knowledge of the software and programs used by contemporary accounting firms.

In terms of how her job has changed, Jo has gone from a teenager collecting lunches for partners to an admin officer that provides a great number of services to those she works with. From reports, to travel arrangements, to collating and various other admin duties, Jo is ready to do whatever needs doing, regardless of whether it technically falls into her job description.

How do you think the (accounting) industry has changed since you first started?

Most obvious to Jo was the professional standards of the industry over the last 30 years. Accounting firms have evolved into a much more refined profession and aren’t the same as they were in the late 1980’s. Having said this, Jo remarks that the industry also seems to have relaxed a bit and the atmosphere is a much more pleasant one.

And again, the technological advances of accounting software have done wonders for the progression of the industry, with paperless offices now very much a reality and all records filed electronically.

You’ve seen a lot of people come and go over the years. What was it about the firm or the work that made you stay?

Jo kept the answer to this one very simple. Not only do the people she works with keep her here and keep her enjoying her time, but she genuinely enjoys the work she does and it keeps her coming back, even after the multitude of relocations and mergers she has experienced.

Tell us about a highlight from your 30-year career?

Today was pretty special!  Hitting the 30 year mark isn’t something that happens every day.  Moving into our new offices when we joined the Moore Stephens network was also a high point.  The offices left me ‘dumb-founded’ and were so different to our offices in Osborne Park.  I thought the new office was so impressive and a great way to start our connection with Moore Stephens.

What do you think is the most important thing you’ve learned in the thirty years you’ve been with us?

The focus for Jo these days is prioritising her work and the need to be able to multitask in a role such as hers.  An outgoing personality helps, but you need to be committed to your work and enjoy what you’re doing. Time management and flexibility are also key assets that Jo has picked up over the years, and attributes these to her growth in her job.

Looking back, is there anything you would have done differently in your career?

Jo is lucky enough to say she would change nothing in her 30 years at the firm. She admits she was nervous when the firm merged with Moore Stephens, but soon discovered that her worries were unfounded and she has since enjoyed her time in the city immensely.

After hitting the 30-year milestone, what are you looking forward to next in your career?

"I hope I’m still happy, still enjoying my job, and I wish Moore Stephens all the success in the world.”
Jo also expressed her desire to see Moore Stephens break into the Top 10 accounting firms in Australia and potentially globally.
From all of us at Moore Stephens, we’d like to thank Jo for the good times she has given to us over the years and we wish her the very best for her future endeavours. We hope to see her around the firm for many years to come!