From Traveller to Finance Director: A Conversation with Andre

Man with suitcase looking at a plane leaving from airport

Originally from the UK, Andre's journey to Brunel and Perth is a fascinating one. Learn about Andre's experience working for Brunel for over a decade, his career growth within the company, his day-to-day work as a Finance Director in Australasia and what he values most about working for Brunel.

Andre Giles

Andre is part of a multicultural team at the Brunel office in Perth. “We’ve got a team of 10 unique superstars in the finance department, each bringing their own personality and culture to the way we work, which makes it very enjoyable," he tells us. 

Hello, Andre! As a native of the UK, we're curious to know: What brought you all the way to Perth, Australia?

Thirteen years ago, my wife and I decided to take a break and do some travelling. We started in Southeast Asia and then headed to Australia to visit part of her family. After obtaining working holiday visas, we settled in Perth with the intention of staying for one year. We quickly fell in love with the city, the outdoor lifestyle and the climate (a big thing coming from the UK!). Fast forward 13 years and we are now both Australian citizens and have started a family here. We are proud to call Perth home.


How were you first introduced to Brunel almost 12 years ago?

I was introduced to Brunel by another agency. My first role was as part of a migration team to help set up a new ERP (Navision). After six months, I suppose Brunel noticed my diligence and exactitude in my work and they offered to sponsor me. I was subsequently hired as a Systems Analyst, where I helped oversee the deployment of Navision and the subsequent training of the team.


How were you able to further your career within Brunel?

After working for about 15 months, I had the opportunity to become a Senior Management Accountant in the offshore segment of our business. Since I was already a qualified accountant in the UK, I was familiar with the role's responsibilities. However, this position required me to work in an industry and area that I wasn't familiar with, so there was still a learning curve. I worked in that role for about three years before getting promoted to Financial Controller, where I oversaw the finance function for the entire Australian business. In mid-2017, I was further promoted to Regional Financial Controller, responsible for Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea – which is essentially what I'm doing now as Finance Director.


As a Finance Director, what does your day-to-day work entail?

My wife has posed this question to me before, but I have never been able to provide a concise answer due to the dynamic nature of my role. In essence, I have a dual focus; to ensure that our operations align with our strategic goals, and to maintain the financial health of the business by ensuring profitability and sufficient resources and working capital to meet our objectives. My primary objective is to continually provide valuable insights to the business and facilitate effective decision-making. Additionally, I strive for continuous improvement to streamline our processes. Collaborating with others to drive outcomes takes up a significant portion of my time. Ultimately, in partnership with my team, I play a pivotal role in ensuring that the business operates smoothly.

 

What do you value most about Brunel as an employer?

I would say that the opportunities Brunel has afforded me are what I value the most. After all, if it wasn’t for Brunel, I might not be here in Australia and have the family and friends that I now have. The business has allowed me to travel to different countries where Brunel has offices, giving me a chance to see new places I wouldn't have seen otherwise. They've also brought me into projects where I can add value and make connections with people from all parts of the business. I am grateful for all of these opportunities and don't take them for granted. But if I had to choose one thing that stands out above all else, it would be the people working here. I have made lifelong friends at Brunel, and the fact that many of them have been here for a long time speaks to the positive culture that we have built.

A family posing for a family portret
In his spare time, Andre likes to stay active. "I used to play soccer, but now that I have kids, my focus is definitely on spending time with them," he tells us. "So, we try to go to the beach or the park as much as possible. The great thing about living here is that the weather allows us to be outside all the time, and many of our friends also have families, so there's a lot of socialising."

What has been your greatest memory at Brunel so far? 

Wow, that's a difficult question to answer because there’s been so many. However, I would say my most memorable experience was being invited to the culmination of the Volvo Ocean Race in Scheveningen, the Netherlands, some years ago, where Brunel had sponsored one of the yachts in the race. Putting the seasickness aside, we witnessed part of the race, saw the yacht first hand and even met some of the crew. The atmosphere was off the charts, and I was incredibly proud to see the Brunel brand everywhere, including on TV! It hit home just how big Brunel actually is, something I’ve never experienced before.

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