Did you know that QAO's staff hail from a variety of diverse backgrounds? We asked Irish-born Alan Flynn, Audit Manager, five quick questions about his work, career and life.
Where are you from?
I grew up in Ireland and was educated through an Irish speaking school in Dublin. I also undertook professional accounting studies through the Dublin Business School. Since leaving school, I have been employed mainly in accounting and finance roles, both in the public and private sectors.
I was employed as an Auditor at the Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General in Dublin for five years, which is a similar entity to the Queensland Audit Office. I enjoyed the experiences I gained there, and this drove me to find a similar organisation in Brisbane. And that is how I ended up at the QAO in 2005.
My wife, Melinda, is originally from Brisbane and we met in Dublin in 1999. I emigrated to Australia in 2003. We now live in Brisbane and have two children, Kian and Ciara.
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned in your current role?
While it’s always important to continue developing your own technical knowledge, the biggest thing that I have learned from working in a stakeholder-focused organisation is that we all need to have effective communication skills to ensure our stakeholders’ needs are met.
My role has required me to lead audit teams, manage programs of work and provide advice on accounting policy and practice. I am required to be a ‘trusted advisor’ in providing advice on key technical matters and a value-adding service to my client base.
The other thing I have learned personally is that I need to be able to adapt to changing circumstances at short notice. This means I have needed to develop good project management skills in delivering a high-quality product to both internal and external stakeholders.
The overriding thing for me is having a strong commitment to deliver quality, responsive and engaging services to my clients. And this is one of the great things I like about QAO—working here you get the sense that everybody who joins us has a valued role to play in delivering such services to our clients. We have staff from all over the world with different cultural backgrounds and experiences, and I have learned so much from what we all bring and share.
What three words would you use to describe your role?
The three words I would use to describe my role are mentoring, value and integrity.
- Mentoring—QAO’s best asset is its people and I enjoy investing time in developing staff through training programs, supplemented by on-the-job training. A key focus of mine is continuing to lead and build on my team’s capabilities through effective coaching and giving them opportunities to contribute to more effective audit processes.
- Value—I add value not just in terms of providing audit services to our clients, but through providing valued insights on how performance could be improved within entities to deliver better public services for Queenslanders.
- Integrity—we continue to demonstrate a high level of personal and professional integrity and deliver outcomes through sound judgment and decision-making, aligning with QAO’s core values of engage, challenge, deliver and care.
What career would you like to pursue if you weren’t an auditor?
If I was not working at QAO, I would like to be involved in any organisation associated with the Special Olympics. I admire the work that people do for the Special Olympics, both here in Australia and worldwide, and it’s something I would like to devote more time to in the future. It’s a cause that is very close to my family back in Ireland. One of the most inspiring sporting events that I have ever attended were the World Games held in Dublin, Ireland, in 2003.
What is your passion outside of work?
My main passion outside of work are my kids and, with Melinda, ensuring that they are given every opportunity to succeed (and enjoy) everything that they pursue. This includes busy weekends travelling to football, cricket and basketball, which I get great satisfaction out of.
On a personal level, I have played a lot of sport, including Gaelic football back in Ireland, football, tennis and squash. One of the most satisfying things I have achieved is completing a marathon at the age of 17. And it’s on my bucket list to complete another one before I turn 50. However, my current activities include running, indoor football and touch rugby.
I have been a supporter of the Liverpool Football Club for over 40 years and used to travel over for games on a regular basis. I plan to take my family over in December to watch a game. I have also followed the Dublin Gaelic football team, and this weekend they won their 5th All Ireland in a row (equivalent to winning an AFL Grand Final). Gaelic Football is an amateur sport in Ireland and I have huge admiration for what those players have achieved and the commitment they give (when juggling family and work commitments just like the rest of us).