A world of opportunity: A leap from Australia to the US

Henry Chinchen, RSM alum

Culture RSM alumni

I grew up in Sydney, Australia, and attended Macquarie University to study commerce with a major in professional accounting. I picked an accounting major because while I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to be at that stage, I had always been comfortable with mathematics and finance. I found accounting incredibly interesting, appreciating its mathematical clarity and interpretive problem-solving blend. I knew that accounting would always be integral to business and great foundational knowledge, with many opportunities.

After university, I joined the banking world for a few years before moving into audit at a Big Four firm in Sydney. In early 2018, I moved to San Francisco with my wife, Elizabeth, and during this transition, I ultimately decided audit wasn't the right path for me and started searching for my next step. I reflected on my experiences in the field so far and specifically recalled a relationship I made while still in university. I met a partner at RSM Australia, Patrick Flanagan, who was generous enough to spend time with me as an undergrad, educating me on his experience with business advisory and accounting, as well as his perspective on RSM Australia's firm culture. Although Patrick was from the RSM Australia firm, those interactions left a very positive impression on me regarding RSM globally, so I applied for a role at RSM US LLP (RSM) within the technical accounting consulting team when I moved to the United States. I didn’t know much about technical accounting consulting then; however, I worked on some complex transactions at my previous firm and enjoyed the idea of tackling difficult problems as a team. I could immediately see what Patrick was talking about as I met RSM employees through the interview process and ultimately experienced it firsthand when I decided to join the team.

While working in the RSM San Francisco Bay office, I was involved in the Multicultural employee network group, hosting  Australian Day events to recognize my home country. We brought in an Australian caterer and decorated the common area with the Australian flag and koala bears—a fan favorite! Opportunities like this allowed me to share some of my traditions and connect with teammates through the planning process with whom I still have relationships outside RSM and stay connected through the RSM Alumni Network.

After two years with RSM, a technical accounting manager role opened up with an Australian-owned company based in the United States, Atlassian. I found the opportunity very exciting. It was one of those full-circle moments where I watched the company grow as a student in Sydney. Now I’m at their table in the United States with an offer to play an instrumental role on their team, working on exciting new projects and initiatives. Leaving RSM was a tough decision, but I couldn't pass up the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work with an Australian-owned company while remaining in the Bay Area and gaining that unique perspective and experience in my field. Since joining Atlassian, we've grown the team exponentially, and I've been able to apply the technical and collaboration skills I learned at RSM from a consulting perspective. I regularly use the client and team-building skills I learned and believe they really set me apart. I didn't realize these skills would help me in the industry as much as they have.

Reflecting on my career, I'm glad I moved to the United States and took the leap into technical accounting. If it weren't for RSM's opportunity to dive into the world of technical accounting, I wonder if I would have found the niche I enjoy so much today. 

Want to hear more about Henry’s RSM alum story? Connect with him on LinkedIn. Or, if you’re inspired to find your next role at RSM, explore our openings today.

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