Farm background dividends

Rural background gives accounting edge


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Combining an agricultural background with accountancy qualifications is paying dividends for young agribusiness professional, Pete Burgess, now with Grant Thornton.

A family farming background was a “massive leg up” for young accountant, now working in Melbourne with a range of clients, from agriculture to food production.

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Pete Burgess, whose family has farmed at Tarrayoukyan and Connewirricoo for four generations, now holds a role as Senior Associate - Audit & Assurance with international tax and advisory firm Grant Thornton.

“I grew up about 100km south west of Horsham, between Hamilton and Horsham, where my family run fine wool Merinos and prime lambs,” Mr Burgess said. 

The original plan was to skill up and return to the land. But the 26 year old ended up studying a Bachelor of Commerce from Deakin University (majoring in Accounting and Commercial Law) and is now a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants - Australia and New Zealand.

 “I’m involved in the food, beverage and agribusiness group, my particular focus is on agriculture and I have a large portfolio of agri clients,” Mr Burgess said.

“I work with pre and post farm gate clients including; irrigation bodies, wool and meat producers, agricultural service providers and food manufacturing and distribution businesses – Grant Thornton provides services from tax and assurance to financial and growth advisory. 

“I find coming from a farming background is a massive leg up when it comes to applying that knowledge professionally,” he said.

“I think I have a really good grasp of what farmers want and how the treat their businesses.”

He has recently been elected to the Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF) Young Agribusiness Professionals (YAPs) committee, after becoming a member about a year ago.

He said he joined after coming back from a six month placement in Dallas, USA.

His time in America had been very valuable in seeing the different scale of operations.

“That gave me great perspective and I took away some valuable insights.”

Mr Burgess said he was enthusiastic about his role with YAPs.

”It’s a breeding ground for young enthusiastic farmers and agribusiness professionals, so I would really like to see us understand what those groups want from the committee, group and membership.”

Mr Burgess said Australian agribusiness could only go one way. “It’s what we do well, there is a growing middle class market in Asia, there is only one way for the Australian commodity bowl, and that is up,” Mr Burgess said.

“I think there are lot of opportunities for those who are on the farm, have a farming background, or are interested in agribusiness.

“Maybe, one day, they want to go back to the farm, but want to upskill and contribute in another aspect of agriculture, before they return.”

FARM VALUE: Pete Burgess, an agribusiness accountant with Grant Thornton, said he was putting his rural background to good use in advising clients.

FARM VALUE: Pete Burgess, an agribusiness accountant with Grant Thornton, said he was putting his rural background to good use in advising clients.

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