Elected the first State President of CPA Australia outside of Brisbane, Townsville’s own Gerard Byrne has found a rewarding career as a Certified Practising Accountant.
After being elected State President of CPA Australia at the end of last year, Gerard Byrne’s first official function this year was a visit to CPA Australia’s China Head Office.
“CPA Australia has six offices in China and has had a presence in China for over 60 years,” says Gerard, who as well as being State President is a member of CPA Australia’s Global President’s Group.
Gerard’s visit to China early this year is significant to Townsville regarding our Sister City arrangements in China. There are 500 CPA members in North Queensland, 16,000 members in Queensland, and globally 155,000 members in 122 countries. Gerard will be visiting all nine Queensland branches as well as attending state meetings.
“My priorities as President for North Queensland (and Queensland) are small business, employment and investment,” Gerard says.
Having completed his Commerce Degree at James Cook University, Gerard maintains strong links to the university.
“I soon realised that having a Bachelor of Commerce Degree was just a beginning, and if I really wanted to expand my horizons, I needed to do the post graduate Certified Practising Accountant Program,” Gerard says.
“My priorities as President for North Queensland (and Queensland) are small business, employment and investment.”
Gerard funded his studies with a host of part-time jobs including being a postman, Coles shop assistant, hospital orderly and contract cleaner. This experience had a profound impact on his subsequent career choices and community involvement.
After completing the three-year post-graduate program, Gerard accepted a position with the Australian Audit Office in Canberra. Promotion came quickly with a move to Darwin where he worked on major reviews of the Darwin Hospital, Northern Territory Police Service, and Jabiru Town Development Authority.
Further opportunities arose for Gerard, and he moved back to Canberra, and then to Melbourne with the Australian Government, working on project management of major computer and office automation roll-outs.
With his career now well-established, Gerard looked to become more involved in community and volunteer work. He volunteered at community centres and trained as a Lifeline telephone counsellor in Melbourne. Looking for something different, he applied to join the Royal Australian Naval Reserve and went on to serve as a Navy Intelligence Officer in Australia and overseas.
In 2000, Gerard returned to Townsville with the Department of Primary Industries working on community capacity building in rural and remote communities, bringing together his business background as a CPA, and his broader experience working with community and volunteer organisations.
In recent years, he has devoted more of his time to the community sector, serving as Operations Manager, UnitingCare Community, Regional Services Manager, Australian Red Cross and more. Receiving a Premier’s Award for his work on Cyclone Larry Recovery in North Queensland was a highlight.
“Looking back on my career, the important factors in my endeavours have been the relationships I have built up over the years and my willingness to seek out new opportunities and never stop learning,” Gerard says.