Kirsten Forrester has a professional background that shows a passion and purpose for making the world a better place. She likes to make things happen and is a tireless champion of financial intelligence in the not for profit sector.
Kirsten has been at AFG since 2009 . She’s a numbers person who continues to be passionate about bringing the numbers to life for people who ‘do good’ in the world.
It was her first salaried job with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that put her firmly in the finance space.
And at 25 she crossed the ditch to Sydney and where she has driven change and had a huge influence as Director of Corporate Services at SDN and Deputy Director at NCOSS, before joining AFG.
Why work with not for profits
Kirsten has a long history of working on projects in the not for profit and government sectors and originally met AFG Founder Morri Young over 20 years ago. She was the GM at Matrix On Board and managed a year-long accounting division restructure project, leading up to the rebrand as Accounting For Good in 2015.
“I’ve always wanted to use my powers for good. Accounting For Good isn’t a not for profit, but the work we do supports those organisations that make the world a better place. I see what we do as valuable to the sector. This is how I can make a contribution.”
A day in the life…
Kirsten makes sure the team is resourced efficiently and sufficiently. She sees her role as a split between working with prospective and current clients and managing the team. Listening and getting to know people is what drives her.
“I love the discovery part. I get to learn about another organisation – there is such a variety. They’re all different but they all do amazing things and are full of passionate people – it’s always fascinating.
I also get to hear about what CEOs are finding difficult or frustrating. We can see the potential of how our accounting services can improve their finances and their financial experience so they get good quality information to make decisions.
With our current clients, I keep in touch and visit regularly… attend their AGMs to celebrate another year of good work … check in that they’re happy … and find out if there’s anything we can do better or differently.”
The third part of Kirsten’s role is working with the team and making sure everything is resourced properly.
She is an accessible CEO and doesn’t like to sit behind a closed door.
“I like to stay amongst the team and know what’s going on. I get to hear client conversations and I see lots of lovely interactions and exchanges within the team. You can’t do that from a closed office.”
Making things easy
A good outcome for Kirsten is when she hears clients say things are better and easier and that they’re getting the financial information they need.
“I got some feedback recently from a client who said things have really improved for them and the changes were fantastic.
Their balance sheet was terrible; it was not clear if they were even solvent.
We improved their systems and everything is rolling nicely. They now have good reports for the Board, that values an independent review.
The CEO now understands his finances and can justify his position – he feels challenged and supported by our Account Manager who he refers to as ‘a bloody gem’!”
For Kirsten that feedback is gold – her team members are supporting their clients effectively and making their lives easier.
“That’s when I know things are working as they should.”
AFG has that something special
The team at Accounting For Good understand not for profits – how they’re funded and the regulatory requirements. So they don’t have to waste time asking basic questions.
“We already know the basics so we can focus on getting to know the organisation. We have a lot of clients with challenges around governance and they have a need for information.
We have a good broad corporate knowledge of the sector and share that knowledge with our clients.
That range of knowledge can’t be achieved with an in-house team. We’re constantly growing our knowledge and we focus on innovation and continuous improvement in everything we do.”
Why is Accounting For Good a great place to work?
“Primarily, it’s because our clients are amazing! And knowing that by doing our job, we can improve things for them.
The team is very dedicated to our clients. We have lots of competing deadlines and reports to produce … I love watching the team collaborate together to achieve a great outcome for our clients.”
Celebrate the wins
The team has a ‘Monday stand-up’ where they gather at the kitchen table. Everyone takes turns to say what they have on for the week, what they’re having trouble with or need help with. What’s going really well…
“Taking a few minutes to talk about what’s on is really great. It’s nice to hear the team talking about the clients – everybody gets to be heard and get exposure. It’s a good opportunity to share and support each other.
We’ve just been through a big audit season. And in the roughly 40 audits this year, we had very few adjustments. That was a big achievement!”
What’s does the future hold for Accounting For Good?
There are nearly 60,000 registered charities in Australia and thousands of Associations. Kirsten wants to use Accounting For Good’s proven processes and best of breed tools to continue to support those organisations to make the world a better place. And she is constantly looking to improve the way they do things.
“A change we implemented this year was to create the role of Customer Service Manager. We want to make sure we’re available to deal with clients’ queries quickly and efficiently. And we want to be more flexible in the way we support them to meet deadlines.
Our CSM will triage the queries and make sure someone is available to resolve any issues. We are really excited about this new service and are delighted to offer a point of difference within the accounting services industry.”