The New Zealand Government has placed audit on the immigration Green List 'straight to residence' pathway which means overseas auditors have the opportunity to live, work and study in New Zealand.
We spoke to Shikha Bagla, who moved to New Zealand in September 2022 from Nepal, about what made her decide to move to Aotearoa and what her experiences have been of transitioning to a new country.
Shikha and her husband enjoying a weekend away in Wellington.
Give us a bit of background about yourself – where are you from and what made you decide to move to New Zealand?
I was born and raised in Kathmandu, and before I left I was working for a leading Nepalese audit firm, managing a team of around 40 people.
At the beginning of last year, I never thought I’d be in New Zealand, it wasn’t really on my radar! But I noticed that I was starting to feel a need for change. I had very little work-life balance and the work I was doing was starting to get quite repetitive. I wanted to explore more international opportunities, particularly in the IFRS space, so that I could apply my knowledge further and explore a new lifestyle
My husband and I got chatting – and decided that for starting a new family, we would want do it in another country with better professional experience and growth opportunities. I saw on social media an opening for an audit role in BDO Gisborne on the East Coast of New Zealand – I got in touch, sent my CV to HR, got an interview with Hayden, our BDO Gisborne Audit Partner, and was so delighted to get an offer!
My parents have always been very supportive and have always encouraged me to follow my dreams, so they were thrilled for me. My husband and I did some research about New Zealand and learnt about the better work-life balance and the people, and it all seemed to fit into place!
How did the transition to New Zealand go?
I’m definitely still adjusting and it was a lot leaving all my friends and family behind, but I am so thankful that I chose BDO. Hayden and Holly (from HR) met me at the airport when I first arrived and took me around Gisborne just to familiarise myself with the city, which made me feel heartily welcomed.
The whole team has been so supportive – when I arrived they had already bought me all the basics I’d need like a duvet and pillows. I felt so touched by all of these small but thoughtful actions and although I miss my friends and family, my BDO team have been so supportive.
My husband also came with me to New Zealand and was fortunate enough to also get a job at BDO in the agri team. He’s a very experienced Chartered Accountant as well so it’s great that he’s also been able to utilise his skills here. And I feel my BDO Gisborne family have fully supported this transition and made the biggest decision of my life worthwhile.
Shikha and her audit team feeding sting rays in Gisborne.
What have been your highlights from New Zealand so far?
I just participated in BDO’s leadership course programme which was amazing – I’ve been working for nearly 10 years and had never taken a leadership course like that. It was great how practical it was so that I could relate it back to real work life examples. What I also like about living in Gisborne is how relaxing my days are - even when I’ve have had a long day at work, just a stroll around the beach with my husband takes me to a happy place. I have always enjoyed water and just looking at the vastness of the Pacific makes my head feel so much lighter.
Also in a strange way Cyclone Gabrielle was also a highlight in that it showed just how supportive BDO is with its people. We had no internet or phone coverage, but Hayden the Audit Partner was able to come by my house with information and to help us stay connected so we didn’t feel cut off. Someone from another BDO office was also able to get in touch with my family back in Nepal to let them know we were okay as our own comms were down. It just really highlighted how amazing my team are – everyone is so understanding and we really accept each other for our personalities, you don’t have to pretend to be anyone else, and we’re always there to support each other.
What are your plans for the future?
I’m just going with the flow at the moment, but I’m really excited to explore my professional growth with BDO, especially now I’ve completed their leadership course. I’m looking forward to exploring more of New Zealand as well with my husband travelling during breaks and hopping on adventures to keep life exciting – we’re both hoping to get NZ residency and we really feel like we’ve got a very good future ahead of us here.
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