Accounting is a rewarding career for many reasons, but one of the biggest is that it sets you up to pursue your business dreams.
This is exactly how New Zealander Saimon Lomaloma approached his career, becoming a Chartered Accountant (CA) while working for an international firm before moving to an accounting role for an oil and gas company. Saimon then decided it was time to move out of the corporate environment and into something that aligned with his personal passions. He started his own company in Wellington, New Zealand, focusing on extreme watersports. Through hard work and dedication, Saimon is in a place where accounting lets him earn good money doing what he loves.
We speak to Saimon on his journey to becoming a business owner and pursuing his passion.
What is your current role?
My current role as Owner of Jetboards NZ encompasses everything that relates to day-to-day business operations, as well as sourcing sponsorships for the business.
How did you get to where you are today?
When I was still at school, I didn't necessarily enjoy accounting, but I knew I was good at it and it came easily. I wasn't entirely sure what I wanted to do career-wise, but it felt like it would be a smart choice to do an Accounting degree. I studied Accounting at the Victoria University of Wellington, and also took some papers in Law. I realised that regardless of whether I wanted to go into an accounting role or not, an Accounting degree would equip me with a financial background and a decent level of understanding of finance that I could apply to whatever career I chose.Nearing the end of my degree, I went for an internship with BDO, and after that, I headed off to the UK for a job with BDO in London.I started Jetboards NZ as a lifestyle business to fill a gap in the New Zealand market as well as allowing me to spend more time doing what I loved. I realised that I had stumbled on a real niche in regional water sports, so I worked to make my passion into my career.
I wanted to do the things I loved and live the life I enjoyed without feeling restricted. Being financially secure, having enough money to do all that - becoming a CA helped me achieve that.
How has being a CA changed your life?
Being a Chartered Accountant provided many skills that helped me achieve my personal goals by giving me a lot of career flexibility. I wanted to be financially secure; have enough money to do the things that I want to be doing, and I wanted to have a lifestyle with my family and the freedom not to be restricted. The CA skills I had acquired allowed me to start my own business, and also gave me the choice to do anything I wanted to do - I didn't necessarily have to stay in a CA firm to achieve my goals. I was thinking to myself, 'if I could be out there doing something that I don't really consider work, getting personal satisfaction out of other people having a good time and being around that positive energy. If I could trade that instead of being in the office, I would'.
What are some of the highlights of your career?
One such career highlight would probably be my CA graduation. During the graduation they had a guest speaker who was a business owner who ran a successful craft beer company. He was a CA and he was describing his story, and I was sitting there kind of like, "Wow, that's so awesome." And then two years later, I ended up speaking to new members in Germany about my story. So, I guess that was a bit of a personal achievement on that sense.
Any advice for those considering following the CA path?
A modern CA has to have a wide range of skills, and to be open to endless opportunities. You have to be agile, a confident decision-maker and adaptable to a consistently changing role. It takes foresight, and the role is likely to become increasingly strategy based.
Note: This interview was conducted in 2015. Saimon Lomaloma CA has since moved on from Jetboards New Zealand.