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Public Relations Company  
 
MEDIA RELEASE 11 February 2009

It all adds up for women in accounting
According to the Institute of Chartered Accountants in March 2008, 30 per cent of Chartered Accountants in Australia were women and in 1998 there were only 19.7 per cent. As senior members for accounting and financial services firm, Azure Group, Jacqueline Butler and Tanya Derin have seen a shift in the once male dominated industry of accounting.

"When I started in accounting there was very much a boy's club mentality," said Butler, virtual chief financial officer (CFO) for seven of Azure Group's clients.

"Now, even though that mentality still exists to a degree there are more women coming though the ranks and a lot of talent too. I came into the industry during the 1990s when there was a big focus on 'women can do anything' but the reality was accounting was a very male orientated industry.

"Now this has shifted and it is interesting that it has been the bigger accounting firms have led the way when it comes to promoting women to more senior roles.

According to the Price Waterhouse Cooper website, PWC has made the involvement of women in their company a global priority and established a Gender Advisory Council to ensure gender diversity and help women climb the corporate ladder.

"Although it is the mid size firms that are really benefiting from this shift as they tend to be more client-service orientated. Women accountants are generally well suited to a high level of client work because of their communication skills and also a nurturing side that wants to see their clients do well and succeed," Jacqueline added.

"However, there are still many barriers for women in business. The biggest challenge many women face, including myself is re-entering the workforce after having children. While many have the necessary skill set, they require a higher level of flexibility to balance work and family.

"My role at Azure Group sees me working with small to medium enterprises on a one-on-one basis as their CFO, involved in the strategic, planning and commercial aspects of the business. I also get the flexibility I need to balance my family and work schedule which is really important while my children as still young.

Butler has been part of the Azure Group team for three years and is currently a virtual CFO for seven SME clients. Butler started her career in London and trained with Arthur Anderson becoming a Chartered Accountant. She then worked in Latvia and London in a number of different roles before settling in Australia with her husband and two young children.

As a director for Azure Group, Tanya Derin has benefited from the trend for more women to enter the accounting industry.

"I knew very early on that business, commerce and accounting were for me and I never saw any closed doors just because I was a woman. I saw accounting as a way to follow one of my passions, travel, and be involved with the travel industry. I was also really lucky to be mentored by some fantastic women who taught me that I could break through any barrier," said Derin.

At just 25, Derin became a financial controller for Qantas working on projects like setting up Jetstar Airlines. In 2003, in her late twenties Derin became a partner in the newly formed Azure Group.

"Being part of Azure Group, watching it evolve and grow into a successful firm has been incredibly rewarding. I took on the taxation services and wanted to do things different to other firms. I have focused on building a very good tax team who are passionate about what they do and who incidentally are all women," added Tanya.

Unlike many tax accountants Derin saw the need to be very proactive rather than reacting to the client's last financial year.

"It's really important to manage tax rather than just react. At Azure I've set up a number of systems to make sure we sit down with our clients during the financial year to make decisions that will minimise tax, rather than reacting after the financial year is over. It is very systematic so no client misses out.

"I've also set up a system where we scan our client's files and keep them electronically rather than keeping the acres of paper files that most accountants accumulate. They can be accessed more easily because they are indexed electronically and of course take up only a fraction of office space," she added.

Azure Group adopts a non-discriminatory approach to recruitment, focusing on hiring the best person of the job. Women make up 66 per cent of the Azure Group team, with two of the three directors being women.

Azure Group was established in 2002 and since its foundation the company has grown exponentially with annual turnover increases in excess of 40 per cent. In 2008, the company continued to grow by another 20 per cent and they also expanded by opening offices in the Gold Coast.

Azure Group is an experienced chartered accounting firm that provides ongoing service and handles one-off projects for clients. It provides its clients with proactive compliance advice to ensure that a client's tax position is considered throughout the year, not just at tax time.

For more information on Azure Group, visit www.azuregroup.com.au or call 1300 4 AZURE or 1300 429 873.

Released for Azure Group by Dennis Rutzou Public Relations (www.drpr.com.au)
For further information please call Joanna Gitsham or Nicola Rutzou on (02) 9413 4244.

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