Video transcript: Richard Briggs

Transcript for a video featuring Richard Briggs talking about working at Audit New Zealand.

Title: Audit New Zealand logo

[Hamilton City Council building sign and fountain outside council building.]

Richard Briggs (Chief Executive, Hamilton City Council):

I started with Audit New Zealand in 1995, and I worked for Audit New Zealand in a number of roles – around New Zealand – Napier, Dunedin, and ultimately in Hamilton – for 10 years. I got a great opportunity to get my basics, to get my craft right. So I really got to understand auditing, which is awesome in terms of it’s a great skill to have. I got to understand accounting, which is great, but I also had an opportunity to work with some really great leaders. So, in my entire time with Audit New Zealand, I worked with a number of different Audit Directors, Audit Managers, and there was a number of really great leaders there. I learnt a lot from them.

The opportunities as well in terms of working across a number of different sectors as well. And that’s probably where I got my inkling to leave Audit New Zealand. I really enjoyed working in the commercial sector. So, I had a number of different commercial-based clients – port companies, roading companies, electricity companies – that had a commercial bent, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. So, the opportunity to work across a variety of organisations was very worthwhile.

When I was with Audit, I was challenging myself, whether or not I had what it took to cut it in a commercial environment, and it was an interesting aspect because there’s this perception that, you know, auditors aren’t real accountants, you know, some people hold this perception, and there’s a perception that public sector auditors aren’t commercial.

When I stepped into the world with Fonterra, I actually was able to cut it. My auditing skills went a long way. They actually made a huge contribution, and I probably had a really good base in the way I could operate in the Fonterra environment. I had a very good inquisitive mind, very much fact-based, evidence-based, and all that was to do with my auditing pedigree.

And the experience I gained in the public sector gave me quite a high level of integrity when working in a commercial environment, and that’s quite important as well. So, I look back and I think my success in the public sector translated very easily to my success in the commercial sector.

I thoroughly enjoyed working for Audit New Zealand, and I believe that we were making a contribution to the people of New Zealand. I was proud of the work we did. It was important work, and it made a difference.

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