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Rachel's story

Rachel McKechnie is an Associate Director in our Specialist Audit and Assurance Services team, based in Wellington.

Rachel's team activities sometimes take place in incredible settings. "I joined Audit New Zealand in 2011 as an Audit Manager.  I had spent a six-month secondment from the Audit Commission with Audit New Zealand in 2006. When this new opportunity came up it didn’t take me long to make the decision, and I’ve never looked back.

"Audit New Zealand has about 280 staff members so you can get to know everyone quite quickly. Our manager and director group regularly comes together for training and conferences - that’s a good opportunity to share and learn. The same applies for other staff groups where training is provided centrally so it’s a good chance to network.

"Unlikely my previous employer in UK, Audit New Zealand has a lot of trainees. For someone who enjoys the coaching and mentoring aspect of our role, this means you have a great opportunity to work alongside and shape the accountants of the future.

"In the UK, I worked predominantly in local government and the health sector. Being based in Wellington, I’m now working most frequently with central government clients but I still get to work across local government, heath, but also in education, and more commercial entities too. This wide range of clients means I’m always learning something new.

"Work can be very busy. The saying “work hard, play hard” is true of Audit New Zealand, and in fact throughout New Zealand. I’ve noticed that arriving at the start of the audit cycle gives staff the best run at getting to know their clients before it gets to crunch time.

"Two years ago I was promoted to Associate Director, Specialist Audit and Assurance Services. Rather than managing audits, I now provide specialist support through to the audits. I also am now engaged directly by clients to provide them assurance services. I enjoyed transitioning into this role. It has been good to broaden my skill-set. I also enjoy being able to front-foot issues and help an organisation get the right approach in real-time.

"I love some of the Kiwi traits: they are a very positive nation and will actively look for the positive in all things. They are also happy to get stuck in and sort something out. And they love the outdoors.

"New Zealand is a truly beautiful country. I have traveled up and down the country exploring what it has to offer. Although I’ve been here five years now I’m still finding new places to visit and explore. There is great diversity from glaciers and mountains to rain-forests to wonderful sandy beaches. Whatever your preference you’d be hard pushed not to find it here.

"The coffee is really very good here – you’ll never be able to drink one in the UK again.

"Some of the costs of living are higher than compared to UK. I find I pay more for things like power, groceries, clothes, rent. But other costs are lower. The cost of meat is cheaper and it's really good quality! The tax rate is lower and there’s no national insurance – but you do pay directly for some things. I would also recommend getting good advice on your pension position when you make the move as the rules have recently changed.

"Unlike most people who move here, my commute time has increased, and so have some of my costs, but in common with many who make the move, I would say my general experience of life is much richer."

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Rachel McKechnie