On Thursday, 16 June 2022, Alexandra (Alex) Carvalho of PKF Perth was named Auditor of the Year as part of this year’s Australian Accounting Awards. Alex shares her story of sacrifice and accomplishment.
In 2015, Alex Carvalho’s husband suggested relocation from Portugal to Australia to provide a better life and more opportunities for their children. Alex responded ‘no’. She was not immediately prepared to remove her family from those she loved. However, after some time and consideration, Alex came to the realisation that the move would likely enable a better life for her family and her children. She and her husband then sold their house, their cars, everything, and embarked on the move.
Alex arrived in Perth on a Masters student visa, and completed her Masters in Professional Accounting to achieve CPA status within two years. And despite arriving to Australia with no English speaking skills, Alex passed all six exams and was soon recruited by an accounting firm to re-commence her professional career as an Auditor.
Alex’s tenacity and positivity were recognised by others and within a couple of years she was offered a position at PKF Perth, which she accepted. An instant connection with PKF people and culture meant that she never looked back.
When Alex joined PKF in 2020, she joined a team of eight. She embraced the opportunity and actively took on roles over and above her immediate responsibility to contribute to the success of the team. For example, she started a training program for Audit team members on Friday afternoons, sharing case studies with staff and injecting some humour to deliver an informative and engaging learning and development experience. She made every effort to create a program that was innovative, relevant and enjoyable. Today, the number of staff in the Audit team has doubled.
Alex also made a concerted effort to delight clients, which resulted in more referrals of work. And by building relationships with new clients, through existing connections and through LinkedIn, she was able to contribute further to the growth of the practice.
“Clients really love us,” Alex said.
“And these positive and trusting relationships have resulted in more work for us," she said.
“When I walked onto the stage on Thursday night to accept the award of Auditor of the Year, it was not just me on the stage, I was representing PKF.
“I thanked my husband, my children, and my colleagues. It was not just a personal achievement, but a collective one.
“This is a wonderful reward, which validates my family’s sacrifice.
“I’m not scared of anything anymore, and so pleased with our decision to move to Australia.
“If I were to offer any advice to professionals migrating to Australia, I would say ‘don’t give up, give it all your strength, and you too will be rewarded.’
“And if I were to offer advice to young professionals in Australia, I would say ‘it’s ok to make mistakes. You will learn from them and grow. Work well with your team and thrive. Be enthusiastic, positive, and cease opportunities. Be grateful and don’t give up.’”