Scholar Profile - Steven Chapman PDF Print E-mail
Steven Chapman

STEVEN CHAPMAN

Business Development and Systems Accountant at Latrobe Community Health Service

Awarded a scholarship for CPA Australia's Professional Level Program, November 2012


What sort of work does your organisation do?

Latrobe Community Health Services (LCHS) is a major provider of primary health and support services across Gippsland. The Organisations purpose is to enable people to live healthier, better and longer. The list of services provided at LCHS is extensive; some examples include General Practice, Public and Private Dental, Case Management, Counselling and District Nursing.

Describe a typical day's work.

In general as a Business Development and Systems Accountant I provide financial advice and tools to manage our business to all the managers within the organisation. A typical day’s work for me could include:

  • Assisting in proposals for funding or new business opportunities.
  • Analysing key financial data and providing reports to management.
  • Developing and maintaining our financial system to reduce the administrative burden.
  • Ensuring accounting activities comply with required funding agreements.
  • Monthly/Yearly budgeting and reporting.
  • Assisting in the development of processes for new business or changed business requirements.

What were some of the key learnings from the CPA Professional Level program?

Apart from the traditional duties that an Accountant may have such as monthly reporting, tax, financial administration etc. I learned that the responsibilities and contribution that an Accountant may have to an Organisation has greatly evolved. Accountants today are required to have a broader range of skills and the CPA program builds on that, incorporating other aspects of business such as risk analysis, factors driving change, project management, value creation, ethics and governance just to name a few.

How has it impacted / changed / benefited your role and your organisation as a whole?

The CPA program has helped me to step back and look at the bigger picture rather than focusing on the numbers. Working in NFP it is not the organisation's goal to make a profit, however while working as an Accountant it is hard to see past the financial impacts of a decision. The overall benefit to the organisation or community may outweigh the cost (even if not financially). This is definitely an important concept to grasp as an Accountant in the NFP sector. I have also learned to become an Accountant that will seek out the relevant standard when making a decision or find better ways to do things, not always relying on what may have been done in the past. This ensures that LCHS is always keeping abreast of changing accounting standards and ensuring the processes in place are up to date and accurate.

How did you come to be working in the not-for-profit sector?

It wasn’t something that I sought out; it was just an opportunity that arose at the time I was looking for a new job. In fact I started as a business analyst having only worked full time for one year as a graduate accountant previously, so I was very lucky to be given the opportunity. I have now worked here nearly 4 years and have had many opportunities to advance my career. Working in the NFP sector provides for a great work environment; not only are we working to benefit the community but the organisation is always willing to assist with their staff career wise as well.

What do you feel is most needed to sustain and build the impact of the not-for-profit sector?

Having worked in the NFP sector for a number of years now I have seen many changes to funding agreements that are designed to ensure they get the most out of the organisation. I believe organisations in the NFP sector need to ensure they operate as efficiently as possible to remain sustainable. This can include offering services outside the scope of the funding agreement to ensure there is no idle time, ensuring systems and processes are designed to suit the needs of the funding requirements and being prepared to adapt to new situations. There will need to be some level of transparency in organisations so that funding contributions and donations are made with confidence. I also think that there should be an increased level of engagement between government departments and service providers when planning future changes to ensure the changes are made with an increased level of knowledge and collaboration.

What is something interesting / unique / unusual about you?

I have a sense of humour. I believe this is odd for an Accountant.


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"Organisations in the NFP sector need to ensure they operate as efficiently as possible to remain sustainable."


ABOUT STEVEN:

Steven has worked in the not-for-profit sector the past 4 years as Latrobe Community Health Services' Business Development and Systems Accountant.

Late 2012, ASF awarded Steven a scholarship to attend CPA Australia’s Professional Level Program.

ABOUT LCHS:

Annual revenue / size:

Extra Large - more than $25m pa

Segment of NFP sector:

Health

Operating in:

VIC

Website:

http://www.lchs.com.au/