The CA who started a firm on the other side of the world
Susan Tremlett CA is the founder and Managing Director of Arran Chartered Accountants in Auckland, New Zealand.
Susan qualified as a CA with Arthur Young McClelland Moores in Aberdeen in 1987. She went on to start her own firm after a career spent with some of the biggest names, spanning across the globe.
Susan sat down with CA Magazine to discuss work, travel and taking time for yourself.
Tell us about your career...
I realised early on in my training that I wanted to specialise in tax. In my third year of training I moved to London into the tax function at Arthur Young. I was in the oil tax specialist unit, which had a charismatic partner in charge at that time and I absolutely loved it.
After qualifying I moved to Price Waterhouse in a tax manager role in oil taxation. One of the reasons I became a CA was because it offered travel opportunities, and after a couple of years in the UK with PW I transferred to PW in Auckland, New Zealand, for three years.
I travelled the length and breadth of the country during every holiday and break available, and I had a wonderful time with some great work experiences and opportunities along the way. After that I moved back to London and worked for an oil exploration and production company as the UK tax manager.
After a while the travel bug hit again and I got the chance to move to Bermuda. I worked in the investment department of some of the world’s biggest reinsurance companies and built up invaluable experience in asset management and governance.
During this time I also studied for an MBA through Heriot-Watt Business School, and I loved that experience. After 11 years living and working in Bermuda I moved with my family back to Auckland, where I’ve been ever since. I worked for a couple of years with BDO before starting my own CA firm.
When I came to NZ I threw myself into working closely with CAANZ (Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand) and was elected to council, where I was able to add my knowledge and experience into developing the strategy and future of CAANZ.
What does your current role involve?
Preparing financial statements and tax returns for my varied client base – some singers, actors and entertainment professionals – as well as performing audits and reviews for smaller not-for-profit entities, and childcare centres.
Who do you report to?
Me, myself and I.
What’s the best thing about your job?
Flexibility and not being a slave to 9 to 5.
… and the worst?
Coming up against deadlines when it’s tax filing date.
Proudest moment so far?
I have been awarded a fellowship of CAANZ, a great achievement.
What’s your next challenge?
I’m constantly looking for challenges and opportunities.
How’s your work/life balance?
I have a great work-life balance and enjoy the best of both. I have time for my family and my business.
What do you do to relax?
I love to walk our labrador in the local parks, and am now training our new cocker-spaniel puppy.
What are differences between working in New Zealand and in the UK?
In New Zealand, family life is very important and businesses cater for that in terms of expectations from staff.
How has your training as a CA helped you?
The CA training covers so many different aspects of business that helped me to achieve all the goals I have so far.
What advice would you give a CA looking to pursue this career route?
Study and train hard to qualify, then follow your passion.