Published on 28 June 2012
28 June 2012
A business internship at KPMG as part of a University of the Sunshine Coast Accounting degree has launched the career of outstanding graduate Sarah O’Keeffe.
Ms O’Keeffe, 29, of Buderim, now works in taxation services in the Private Enterprise division of KPMG on the Sunshine Coast.
She was offered the job after completing an internship with the leading international firm in the final semester of her USC Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting) last year.
When she graduated at the recent USC ceremony, Ms O’Keeffe was awarded the University Medal with an impressive Grade Point Average of 6.875 out of 7.
It followed numerous awards she received at USC School of Business events during her studies, including the CPA Australia Prize for the best third year accounting student.
“I love my job as I work in a dynamic environment with interesting people, I learn something new every day and I am constantly challenged,” she said.
Originally from Home Hill in North Queensland, Ms O’Keeffe said she was delighted to be able to live, study and now work on the Coast.
“I was daunted (about returning to study) but the lecturers and tutors were so accommodating that I gained confidence in no time,” she said. “I gained many new friends along with the knowledge that I can do anything I put my mind to.”
USC Senior Lecturer in Accounting Dr Peter Baxter said internships linked the University with industry, giving students real-world experience and providing highly-skilled graduates for local employers.
More than 380 students have graduated from the USC Accounting program since 2005, with the majority gaining work on the Coast and in Brisbane.
“There’s still high demand for accountants in the marketplace because every business needs one, regardless of economic fluctuations,” Dr Baxter said.
“A recent survey of 300 Australian chief finance officers and finance directors identified that accounting and finance employers are experiencing difficulties in recruiting suitable staff.
“USC is helping fill the gap with highly-skilled graduates at undergraduate and postgraduate levels, including a Master of Professional Accounting.”
The national survey by specialist recruitment firm Robert Half found that more than three-quarters (79 per cent) of employers found it challenging to secure skilled finance professionals, with finance (31 per cent), accounting (19 per cent), audit (17 per cent) and compliance (11 per cent) as hardest to fill.
— Julie Schomberg