Grab any opportunity that comes around that might stretch you and expand your skills, says Anne-Marie Martin CPA.

She’s served on CPA Australia’s Tasmanian Divisional Council, educates future accountants at the University of Tasmania and sits on various focus groups, yet Anne-Marie Martin CPA didn’t always picture herself with a career in finance.

Travel was where she thought she’d end up. She’d studied Japanese at high school and figured she’d be suited to work as a business translator or a travel agent.

However, upon finishing high school she first undertook a six-month missionary course with Youth With A Mission (YWAM), which included a two-month outreach in Indonesia. It was an exciting experience for the high school graduate who, with her new husband (she married at 18), stayed with YWAM, focusing on unpaid missionary work while picking up random jobs to pay the bills.

They were making plans to start a family when over dinner one night, Martin’s husband looked at her exhausted face and urged her to go to university and study accounting.

I don’t know where he got that idea from. I’d never thought before that moment I should be an accountant.

The suggestion got her thinking. She’d enjoyed the environment of the accounting firm where she had her first job as a receptionist, she had done exceptionally well at small business studies in high school, and loved doing the family budget.

She was pregnant and working part-time with very little money but Martin’s grandfather offered to pay for her accounting degree, opening the door for her to take the plunge.

I think a lot of people don’t do things because they don’t feel they are worthy,” says Martin, “but you can’t be scared to try new things. You have to back yourself.

Read more of Anne-Marie's story here.

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