Cover Story

RSM Bird Cameron Canberra: A firm for the future

B2B Editor24 April 2014

RSM Bird Cameron Canberra: A firm for the future

When Garry Lee moved his family to Canberra in 1984 to head up a new office comprising of one accountant (Garry) and two administrative staff, he wasn’t sure how long he’d last.

“Our first month in Canberra, there was something like 23 frosts. The heater didn’t work in my wife’s old Toyota and she got frostbite in her toes,” Garry said.

This didn’t deter Garry and his wife Cathy who have made Canberra their home, raised two children and have taken a one accountant operation ‘above the fish and chip shop’ in Lonsdale Street to over 80 staff in the RSM Bird Cameron Building on
Northbourne Avenue.

As a result in part to Garry’s strong relationship focus to business, this year marks 30 years RSM Bird Cameron has been in Canberra as well as 45 years Garry has been with the firm.

Now after playing a pivotal role in the firm’s development and growth over the years, the accountant is ready for a well-earned retirement.

Garry says that RSM Bird Cameron has worked methodically in building its market profile and reputation in Canberra which has led to new clients and growth of their business.

“I have every confidence in the leadership team and staff at RSM Bird Cameron to take over the reins and continue the high standard of service our clients have come to expect well into the future.”

“Personally, I am looking forward to more freedom to be able to travel with my wife around Australia in our RV. Many people know my love for golf and will not be surprised to hear that the golf clubs will be coming with us,” Garry says.

Frank Lo Pilato, Director Turnaround and Insolvency Division will take over from Garry as Managing Partner and is truly excited about the future prospects of the firm.

“It is a real privilege to be taking over from Garry as Managing Partner in Canberra. His are big shoes to fill but I am up to the challenge,” Frank said.

“Garry has done a fantastic job over the past 30 years in building a business that now employs over 80 people. Growth has created more opportunities for individuals.”

Frank said that Garry’s leadership has led to staff and partnership harmony and that Garry has been a great mentor and role model during his 23 years at RSM Bird Cameron.

“Garry has always been encouraging and provided wise counsel to me over the years. When I first started I was losing staff every six months or so. I approached Garry and he said ‘Frank they come and go – you’ll know when you get the right ones’,” Frank explained.

According to Frank, he took this advice on board and has since grown RSM Bird Cameron’s Turnaround and Insolvency division to be the largest in Canberra with over 20 staff.

As the new Managing Partner Frank says that he is driven by the personal satisfaction of delivering a good service.

“We are trusted advisors to many businesses. We work in partnership with our clients to maximise their potential. We need to differentiate ourselves from our competitors by listening and then following up our words with action. We go the extra mile for our clients,” Frank said enthusiastically, “We don’t take our position for granted. We are privileged to be involved in critical decisions in people’s lives and businesses.”

Frank believes that their excellent staff is the key to RSM Bird Cameron’s ongoing success.

“I will be listening to our staff and engaging them in running the organisation. Our staff and customers are the key to our ongoing success,” Frank outlined.

Creating energy and enthusiasm are at the top of Frank’s priorities.

“I want the staff to bring fresh ideas to work and apply them in the workforce with their clients. If they can see that there is a different or better way to do something – my ears are open,” Frank said seriously.

RSM Bird Cameron is a national full service firm with nearly 1,000 staff and 28 offices across Australia, began as a mobile accounting business with just one staff member, travelling around regional Western Australia providing accounting and taxation advice to farmers and small store keepers.

These humble beginnings and country values continue to flavour RSM Bird Cameron’s philosophy. RSM Bird Cameron, although operating out of Australia’s major capital cities, has maintained its relationships with regional Australia and small to medium business clients.

In addition to its national offices, RSM Bird Cameron has international affiliations with firm networks in the UK, USA and France. The reference to the acronym “RSM” in the firm’s name is a reference to these international affiliations. The RSM international network is the world’s 7th largest accounting and consulting group with associate firms in over 100 countries around
the globe.

Whilst the RSM Bird Cameron Canberra office has the support and expertise of its international affiliates and other national offices, it is staffed by Canberra residents with expertise in and knowledge of the unique Canberra Market.

The success of the RSM Bird Cameron Canberra Office can be attributed to its focus on understanding its clients and their businesses. The firm is aware that a thorough understanding of a client’s industry and business enables its business advisors to provide tailored advice.

Young Han

Accountant – Business Solutions

RSM Bird Cameron has provided me with an environment conducive to bettering myself. The team encourages me to identify where my individual strengths and passion lie. They also
give me a well-structured framework, clear direction and the support needed to develop necessary skills to go beyond my potential abilities. I must say working with RSM Bird
Cameron has given me great exposure to unlimited opportunities to develop my professional career further and I really look forward to working with such a dynamic and positive team into the future.

Megan Andrew

Senior Auditor – Assurance and Advisory

Working with RSM has been both challenging and supportive, beginning as a graduate 3 years ago. I have been exposed to a large array of clients with hands onn training from day one. Although sometimes finding it tough, it was made easier by having a wide variety of friendly staff to offer guidance, advice or to just have a chat and a laugh. Through the support of the firm I have completed my CA and am now a senior auditor. My future with RSM is exciting with the promising possibility of working internationally with one of our many partner firms.

Nafiz Azman

Senior Accountant – Business Solutions

I have been with RSM Bird Cameron for a little under 4 years. I take great pride working for the firm as it’s such an esteemed accounting firm in Australia and across the globe. RSM has provided me with varied opportunities for my professional development and has been supportive of my career aspirations, I am committed to excelling my career within the firm and can
see myself contributing towards RSM’s success and future growth.

Michelle van Lier

Manager – Business Solutions

As a fairly recent addition to the RSM Bird Cameron team, I received an overwhelming amount of support and encouragement from all corners of the RSM team which made settling in a breeze. I believe having a strong and positive culture helps each staff member to achieve the best outcomes, and in turn, provides the best possible service to our clients. In my short
time at RSM the partners and managers have demonstrated the respect and support they impart on every client relationship, and I hope to continue this approach with our SMSF
clients. I feel like I am part of a great (work) family unit and strive to deliver the same positivity and support through everything I do.

Anthony Pickrell

Senior Analyst – Turnaround & Insolvency

I have been with RSM Bird Cameron Canberra for almost 5 years. The key reasons or me continuing to come into work each day are the positive internal views on “life outside of work”, the enormous amount of training options and opportunities available to staff, the huge list of employee benefits provided by RSM Bird Cameron, the vast array of different types of clients that we work with on a daily basis and the team mentality that is present within the office. I am not just a midlevel employee in the office, I am member of the team and I am treated as one.

Frank proudly asserts that ‘our clients enjoy a reliable and innovative service from practitioners who have developed a deep understanding of their business and industry sector’.

RSM Bird Cameron’s focus on the local community is not just in the business sense. They are heavily involved in the support of local charities and community groups.

“We are proud supporters of local charities such as LifeLine Canberra and Snowy Hydro Southcare as well as local sporting teams such as the Canberra United Women’s soccer team.”

“We plan on celebrating the 30th Anniversary of RSM Bird Cameron Canberra as well as farewell Garry Lee at the National Arboretum in late May and hope to see many our clients and contacts who have made our success possible along on the night,” said Frank.

Tel: (02) 6217 0300
Lvl 1, 103 – 105 Northbourne Avenue