Since joining QAO as an undergraduate auditor, Matthew Davies has built knowledge, skills, and experience through working in various teams across the business. He has now transitioned into QAO’s graduate program, and is looking forward to further opportunities to expand his skillset.
We chatted to Matthew about what a day as an undergraduate auditor looks like and his transition into our graduate program.
What do you do on a day-to-day basis as an undergraduate auditor?
During my undergraduate year, I was a part of a performance audit team – these teams are responsible for auditing and writing reports to parliament on whether government programs are achieving their objectives efficiently, effectively, and economically. I was a core member of an audit examining how effectively the government manages invasive species in Queensland, where I was working closely with the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, the Department of Environment and Science, and various local governments.
My day-to-day work at QAO can be very varied. I could be visiting a client’s office to get a better understanding of its practices or preparing briefing notes for meetings with very senior public servants. My main duties involve researching government programs and helping my managers make assessments as to whether these are achieving their objectives.
QAO is a high-tech work environment, which enables our team to work remotely together – whether that means working from home, or checking in with your team while you are in regional Queensland for an audit. QAO is committed to reducing its carbon footprint too – I was surprised when I started that the office was a paperless environment.
QAO is an excellent place to begin your career.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
A great thing about working at QAO is the variety of the work from audit to audit. As we need to be able to make recommendations in public reports, we must develop an expert understanding of the topic as a team for a performance audit. This means that I could be researching, interviewing experts, and discussing invasive biology with my team one week, and examining regional health practices the next. After a few more years at QAO, I will be very good at trivia!
Performance audit teams are typically closeknit teams of 2–4 people, who work together over the course of the audit. However, as the office is very social, I was able to make friends with many colleagues in different sections of the organisation.
I was also included in training sessions and forums with the graduate auditors, where we were able to create a strong support structure for ourselves at work. This network is of great assistance for the little questions we have from time to time when working.
Would you recommend working at QAO, and why?
QAO is an excellent place to begin your career. During my undergraduate year, I was fortunate to have access to numerous professional development opportunities that have quickly skilled me up in performance auditing. Even if you don't have a financial background, QAO provides an ideal platform for growth and learning. With my dual degree in computer science and international relations, I have found QAO to be an excellent fit for my career goals.
What sets QAO apart from other organisations is its whole-of-government scope. This breadth enables you to gain invaluable insights into how the government operates in various sectors. QAO offers a unique vantage point to understand the inner workings of government, making it an excellent starting point for those wanting to make a meaningful impact in public service.
Transitioning to QAO's graduate program was a seamless experience for me. Moving to full-time work allowed me to take on greater responsibilities with the confidence of having friends and experience in the office.
How was the transition to the graduate program?
Working 3 days a week in the undergraduate program, I was able to effectively balance my university studies and work. My best advice would be to communicate with your manager as to when you are busy with university assignments, as QAO offers special study leave for when you need it. The office is a very friendly environment, so if you have any questions about your work, people will be more than happy to help you.
Transitioning to QAO's graduate program was a seamless experience for me. Having worked part-time at QAO for a year, I was already familiar with the organisation's work culture and practices. Moving to full-time work allowed me to take on greater responsibilities with the confidence of having friends and experience in the office.
During my graduate year, I've had the opportunity to expand my skillset by working with the information systems audit team. This has provided me with valuable insights into different aspects of QAO's work and enabled me to share knowledge across teams, fostering the collaborative spirit of OneQAO.