Accountant at KPMG Australia

Eleven years ago, Maiara Vieira Zaltron arrived in New Zealand and in her words, with only “a few dollars in my pocket and no English at all”. Her dream was to get a degree, but in her home country of Brazil, a good quality university education was too expensive.

Maiara Vieira Zaltron, Accountant at KPMG Australia. Photo: Courtesy of Leaving School Magazine.

Key facts

Career: Accountant
Programme: Bachelor of Commerce
Subjects: Accounting and Economics

On arriving in Auckland, Maiara took a three-month English course and worked as a housekeeper in an inner-city hotel.

“I remember crossing the University of Auckland campus and thinking, ‘If I could ever attend the number one university in New Zealand…’ I dreamed for about six years until I had the courage to enrol in the Business School foundation course.”

After completing the course, Maiara was admitted to the University of Auckland Business School and graduated two years ago with a Bachelor of Commerce with majors in Accounting and Economics. In her final year, she secured a graduate position in BDO Auckland’s audit team, and in February she relocated to Melbourne to work for KPMG Australia as an accountant in their audit, assurance and risk consulting division.

“My job involves performing financial statement audits for clients,” explains Maiara.

Of the courses she took at university, accounting, microeconomics, macroeconomics and critical thinking have proven the most useful in her career so far.

Accounting is the core of my profession and economics helps me understand the environment of my clients and how changes in the economy can create an audit risk. Critical thinking is the backbone of audit; every day I need to apply professional scepticism and I believe this subject helped me to get ahead in the field.

Maiara Vieira Zaltron KPMG Australia

In the short-term, Maiara’s goal is to complete the Chartered Accountant programme, which she is halfway through. Her long-term ambition is to move into forensic accounting and become involved in fraud investigation.

If you know you’d like to study business but aren’t sure what area you want to work in when you graduate, Maiara says not to worry.

In the first year of a BCom, you study core courses that give you a taste for several different areas, such as marketing, accounting, finance and management, and you can choose your majors after this.

She recommends taking accounting, economics and any business-related subjects available at your school.

“Also, get your head around independent learning; university is very different to school. At university, you have to take responsibility for your learning.

“If you are having difficulty, you need to be proactive in seeking help from the lecturers.

“They have an open-door policy and are always happy to assist but they won’t be coming to every student to check if there is an issue.”

Maiara is“forever grateful”for her time at the University of Auckland.

“It changed my life forever, opened up so many great opportunities and changed the way I see life and the world”.

This content originally produced for Leaving School Magazine.