Accounting and financial services firm HLB Mann Judd Perth is making its own sound investment by focussing on developing the leaders of the future through its mentoring programme.

HLB Mann Judd Business Advisory Partner Litsa Christodulou says that in an increasingly competitive environment in the financial services industry, training and development of staff is key to ensuring consistency for clients and instilling outstanding work practices in the team.

“I am a living and breathing example of the success that comes from supporting your team from within and, along with my senior colleagues, we have created a strong culture where we are proactively developing the next generation of financial professionals,” Litsa said.

Litsa, who has been recently recognised with a national award for her client focus, mentors several staff members in the Business Advisory Services team, many of whom joined HLB Mann Judd as graduates at the beginning of their careers.

“There is a broader discussion about enriching the development of staff, but one of the most effective approaches is to mentor and encourage, rather than just give instructions and criticism,” she said.

Lj Crnkovic who is an Accountant in HLB Mann Judd’s Business Advisory Services division in Perth and Katia Bonser a Senior Accountant in the same team, are two of the firm’s success stories thanks in large part to Litsa’s guidance and tutelage.

“Litsa and the HLB team have helped me right from the very first day by showing their ‘can do’ attitudes and sharing their personal experiences about what they learnt on the job,” Lj said.

“When I started my graduate position, I had no idea what to expect in terms of who I could turn to and who would offer their help and support with all my questions,” he said.

“Having such an approachable mentor like Litsa, provides a sense of support and comfort knowing that I can talk with her whenever required and that there’s never a silly question, she always has time and is willing to sit down and discuss any issue,” Katia said.

Lj says that like a lot of other graduates, he came with minimal practical accounting experience straight out of university.

“University does not fully prepare you for day to day work, so having sit downs and chats with Litsa sharing her experiences is helping me achieve a strong foundation for my career,” he said.

It is well known within HLB Mann Judd that Litsa attributes her success with clients to personalised contact and encourages her team members to communicate with clients in the most direct way possible.

“I feel the approach of contacting clients directly as opposed to sending an email has allowed me to develop stronger relationships and can assist in completing tasks in an efficient manner,” Katia said.

“I think the most important thing I have learnt from Litsa is that to be a great accountant you have to care about your clients and every day I hear Litsa talking to her clients and following up with them to make sure she is attending to their needs,” Lj said.

Both Katia and Lj say their interpersonal skills, confidence and expertise have grown through Litsa’s mindful mentoring and helping them to pay attention to the nuances of each individual client.

“As accountants, our primary duty is to help the client and make sure we can provide them with the most effective service possible – Litsa has shown me that if you are dedicated and you care about your work, you will do what you can to make sure your clients are in the best position they can be,” Lj said.