Date posted: 12/11/2019

From the ground up: How James Watson CA built his career

James Watson CA is an advisor at WLF Accounting & Advisory, but almost had a very different career. James reflects on his journey so far and shares his advice for students embarking on their own.

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Chartered Accountants come from all walks of life, and their diverse experiences can be a valuable asset to a variety of organisations and roles.

James Watson CA, works for financial services firm, WLF Advisory & Accounting, but if it wasn't for a timely conversation with his grandfather, his career could have taken a very different path.

Growing up, James loved spending time outdoors, especially fishing and camping. His love for an active lifestyle was strengthened in high school through his bond with his grandfather, a carpenter who would take James on his jobs to help out. After getting some practical experience under his belt, a career in trades seemed like the natural choice for James.

"I would often work with my grandfather during summer holidays and I always thought I'd go down a similar path to him and become a carpenter. I loved the hands-on work and I knew that I would enjoy the job," James recalls.

However, in his final year of high school James' plan changed. While deciding on his future study options, James' grandfather gave him some advice that shifted his path.

"My grandfather sat me down and told me to go to university to help open up my career options. He said construction would always be there if I wanted it but thought I should explore different possibilities and see what I can do. Then I went to university and loved it. That was it, I was on a different path I hadn't originally considered," James explains.

What sparked his passion for accounting?

While his grandfather was the one to suggest going to university, James' passion for accounting came on its own.

"Funnily enough, I came across accounting by accident in high school. I needed to choose my classes and accounting was one that was available at the right times. But I quickly realised it was a great decision because I really enjoyed it, and it set me up with the prerequisites to study business at university as well," James says.

At university, James completed his undergraduate degree in business and then went on to complete the CA Program, to further his knowledge and future opportunities.

"I saw the CA Program as a smart career move and good qualification to have going forward. It's a widely recognised designation that opens up the possibility of working internationally in the future ," James explains.

From the ground up: How James Watson CA built his career"The CA designation sets you apart from others. It may be challenging at times, but it demonstrates you're ready to see things through from start to finish."
James Watson CA, Advisor at WLF Accounting & Advisory.

Prepared for success

Now an advisor for WLF Accounting & Advisory, James says he loves his job because he can help real people solve real problems. He sees his actions directly creating benefits and joy in people's lives, something he derives great satisfaction from.

"Whether it's working with a business owner or mum and dad investors, I love that I can really make a difference for them. We aim to help our clients understand problems and solutions by explaining things in a digestible way," James says.

James says he regularly draws on his CA Program experience to excel in his current role, and attributes his success to the breadth of knowledge Chartered Accountants acquire by completing the CA Program.

"It has definitely prepared me for success in my role. The best thing about the CA Program is that you study areas you might not work on day-to-day but you still need to know to be effective at what you do. It's also helpful for discovering what areas you want to work in," James says.

"The CA designation sets you apart from others. It may be challenging at times, but it demonstrates you're ready to see a challenge through from start to finish."