Date posted: 01/12/2021

Finding your feet: Starting a CA career thousands of miles away from home

We speak to New Zealand-based Raviraj (Ravi) Kuyya CA and Australian-based Ishrat Hasan CA about migrating from overseas and their journeys to becoming Chartered Accountants.

Travelling abroad for university can be an exciting and challenging time. Meeting new people, learning new customs, all while studying and working can be a hugely rewarding experience. For Ravi Kuyya CA and Ishrat Hasan CA their time abroad led them to citizenship.

With the United Nations ranking Australia and New Zealand in the top  20 best places to live, there is plenty of incentive to make the move down under. Many decide to stay. In Australia in 2019-2020, a total of 204,817 people became Australian citizens by conferral, representing over 200 nationalities. And in New Zealand in 2018, 35,737 people were granted citizenship.

A pathway to success

For many international students, financial challenges to migrating and studying abroad. For Ravi Kuyya, CFO at Powerpac Group & Director at Solis Chartered Accountants, making the move to New Zealand was no small feat. His family helped him make the move from Hyderabad in India to Wellington to study in 2011. 

“Dad mortgaged his property and gave me the money. And dad's brother helped me to come to New Zealand,” Ravi said.

Ravi Kuyya
Ravi Kuyya, CFO, Powerpac Group & Director, Solis Chartered Accountants

“It's quite different in India. Education loans are not given to students, they are expected from parents. Parents have to provide property as a security. So, the stakes were so high that you can't fail. That's the biggest challenge.” 

Paying it forward

After obtaining a master's degree in accounting from Victoria University of Wellington, Ravi worked in public practice and became a designated CA. Today, he works as a CFO at Powerpac Group and owns and operates boutique accounting firm, Solis Chartered Accountants. The firm is a small practice with a focus on helping local family businesses succeed.

“My vision was to work with start-ups that don't have much money to spend on compliance. I only start charging when they start making their first revenue,” Ravi said. 

He said his experience of moving to another country and becoming a citizen allowed him to accomplish more in his career, helped him develop crucial life skills and gave him an opportunity to give back to his local community.

Ravi is using his experience to empower the next generation of international students. 

“Being in public practice, I have the platform to train other people. I work with quite a lot of international students. I train people so that they can access accounting tools and programs like Xero.”

A global mindset

The opportunities for career success and development abound on both sides of the Tasman. Making the move from Bangladesh to Australia, Ishrat Hasan, Manager, Audit & Assurance at KPMG Australia, said she developed strengths that she would not have otherwise.

“I genuinely feel that there are certain skills you gain from being someone who has moved regions, geographies, and gone from one particular place to another,” Ishrat said. “That whole experience you gain throughout that process 100% helps you in your professional career.”

“I definitely feel that because I came from a different country, I have been able to develop a global mindset.”

Ishrat migrated from Bangladesh to Australia in 2010 to undertake a Master of Accounting at Macquarie University in Sydney. Ishrat’s love for professional services grew from her studies and she fell in love with the opportunities within the auditing profession.

Ishrat Hasan
Ishrat Hasan, Manager, Audit & Assurance, KPMG Australia

“In audit, you're constantly working with different clients, different teams, you're working with people with different mindsets, cultural backgrounds, which also leads to different types of leadership skills and styles, and teamworking skills and communication skills or styles,” Ishrat said. 

Adapting to change

Ishrat credits the process of coming from a different country and settling in a new one for her relationship management skills and adaptability. “When I go back home the work culture is very different,” she said. 

“When I was working with some of the stakeholders there and talking to some of the partners and even employees, it was initially difficult. But the fact that I was used to adapting and changing my approach as required really helped me.”

Ishrat said she was passionate about her career and the opportunities she has as a Chartered Accountant. “You're at the very forefront of all the changes that are happening. You see all the shifts in the market. You have access to knowledge and can choose the actions of your client,” she said.

For Ravi and Ishrat, migrating abroad and gaining citizenship in the countries they settled in has given them the skills to grow their careers, look at the world from a broader perspective, and provide different solutions to create change.