Taking the lead in finance

12 Aug, 2022

Joshua started with Morris Group in 2018 as a Senior Accountant in CLG’s finance team. Over his time, he’s worked across several of the businesses including Northern Escape Collection, CBCo and various Morris Group finance projects, before landing a role with Zap Bi.

Before Morris Group, he started his career with accounting firm, Pitcher Partners, which he says not only gave him a great foundation for building his career in the field, but also gave him some incredible experiences including a six-month secondment to work in San Francisco.

Have you had a leadership role before now? Did you always aspire to be in a leadership position? How did you get there?

Starting in professional services was a great foundation for leadership, because each year you take on more responsibility and there is very clearly defined roles that expand year on year. From a leadership perspective it starts slowly. In your second year you take a role mentoring graduates; in year three you start reviewing work and providing job reviews and feedback; then you step up to managing projects and staff members.

In that time, I was exposed to many different leadership styles – and it was very clear to me the type of leaders and managers I enjoyed and thrived working under and also others that I don’t think got the best out of me. I also participated in leadership training run by external trainers which provided ideas and perspectives on different ways to manage and lead a team.

What’s your approach to leadership? How do you motivate your team?

My approach to leadership is pretty simple – to try and be someone others hopefully will be motivated by. Part of this includes always being respectful to those your work with, but at the same time challenging them to get out of their comfort zone so that they can also succeed, learn and grow. I also don’t believe the same approach to leadership works on everyone. So it’s important to be adaptive and open to change and adjustments to get the best out of everyone.

What do you love about being a leader? What motivates you?

“I think the best thing about being a leader is being able to help influence positive change. That is the main motivator in my work; to constantly try and make improvements, big or small through both personal and team goals,”

Joshua Squillace Chief Financial Officer, Zap Bi Ltd

What are some of the challenges that come with being a leader? Are there particular challenges you face because of the industry you work in? How do you overcome them?

I think one of the most challenging aspects is letting go of control and trying to be across everything. I think it’s essential to do this to ensure the rest of the team continues to get new opportunities. It can be a lot harder than it should be. But in letting go and shifting responsibilities you can show faith and trust in your team which is hopefully rewarded with greater commitment.

What other leaders inspire you? Do you have any role models?

I have always been inspired by the everyday people that are going through a tough time but continue about their life with a smile and positive energy. I think this positive perspective on life really inspires me to be better and do better. An inspiring leader who recently comes to mind is the way Geelong Cats Captain, Joel Selwood, held himself on AFL Grand Final day. I’m no Geelong supporter, but I admired how he went about his celebrations. He would have been well within his rights to make the moment all about himself and his teammates, but instead he accepted his premiership medal and had a brilliant moment with the Auskicker, giving the him his boots and posing for a picture. He also shared special moments with a Geelong water boy who has down’s syndrome. I think these little moments shared with others is what makes him a great leader.

What advice would you give to aspiring leaders?

I think my biggest advice is always look for ways to grow yourself, both personally and in your career. I believe if you do this, opportunities will present themselves.

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