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Vishwas Singh CA, BCom: combining a career in finance with service to the community

Vishwas Singh
Vishwas Singh.

Inspired by his upbringing in Masterton, and his family’s Sikh values, including Seva or 'selfless service', from a young age Vishwas has been contributing to his community. Today, he combines voluntary service with his work in the financial sector. He has established neurodiversity networks within his workplaces, he supports students and young leaders, and outside his working hours volunteers for hospitals and charities.

questions and answer 'Q What was your reaction to receiving the award, and what does it mean to you?

Glee, exhilaration and delight! It is an honour to be a recipient of this prestigious award alongside such hardworking and dedicated alums who truly embody the University's values as we take our place in the world.

questions and answer 'Q What have you done since graduation and what are you doing now?

Since graduating I worked at PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers) for more than a year and then made a move to Sydney where I joined Deloitte as an auditor. In addition to assisting with the planning, execution and review of both financial statements and integrated audits for public and private companies, I helped establish initiatives and teams such as Audit Quality and Transformation and the Deloitte Neurodiversity initiative.

Both these groups involved influencing and leading programmes to educate employees on audit quality and neurodiversity. While the audit quality programme assisted in enhancing audit outcomes, the Neurodiversity team aimed to make Deloitte’s workforce more accepting of neurodiverse people and therefore the company itself more neurodiverse friendly.

After my stint in the Big 4 accounting firms, I was scouted by Brookfield Asset Management and established an employee engagement group called Brookfield Next Generation (bNext). This group, comprised of members from all departments and functions, sought to leverage the scale and scope of the company, hosted networking events and provided programming to support career development. The group was viewed by senior management as providing a tangible benefit to both its members and Brookfield and thus was launched in other regions of Asia Pacific following my guidance and mentorship.

As I am a qualified Chartered Accountant, I represent CA ANZ at various education institutes and events, where I interact with students and provide sound career development advice through sharing my own experiences. I also run mock interviews with students in which I provide feedback to support them in pursuing opportunities for employment and progression in their careers. I also take part in panel discussions, as I have a strong desire to help facilitate the dialogue between academia and industry. Outside these roles, I am also involved in a host of committees centred around the development of upcoming leaders, such as Urban Land Institute Young Leaders Group and Young CA.

Furthermore, I volunteer in the community at Mater Hospital and GenU in Sydney. At Mater Hospital, I support the staff at reception and also have ward-related duties. Over the past few months, I have been providing insight to help the hospital digitalise its paper-based administration system so they can improve processes and efficiencies, and ultimately outcomes for their patients.

At GenU, I volunteer for the Letter Project, where I create art pieces that are sent to elderly people in care (many of whom have no familial or community contact) so they can feel a sense of interaction and receive something that brings joy and hope to their day.

questions and answer 'Q What inspires and motivates you to work and volunteer in the areas you are involved with? Do you have plans for the future?

I am deeply inspired by my upbringing in Masterton, a small regional town where my family was the first and only Sikh family at that time. Growing up, it was important for me to incorporate Sikh values into my life, such as Seva, which means 'selfless service'. As a result, I started volunteering in my community from a young age as I believed it was my duty and calling.

Looking ahead to 2024, I plan to continue the work I'm doing and also become a member of the board of a not-for-profit organization that enhances the rights of people with disabilities who are involved in the arts sector.

questions and answer 'Q What were the highlights of your time at Otago, and has it helped you in your career and following your interests?

I am grateful for the academic and non-academic staff who have made an impact on my life. Christina Watson-Mills and Stewart Noguer-Blue from Toroa College were especially instrumental in coaching me and helping me become the person I am today.

Additionally, my lecturers, Dr Rakesh Pandey, Dr Mansi Mansi, Dr Konan Anderson Seny Kan, Dr I M Premachandra and Dr Sam Benjamin, were patient with me as I tried to grasp financial concepts and ideas and provided me with sound career advice. I owe all of my success to these individuals.

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