Johnetta Lili is an auditor with KPMG, PNG and has been part of The Voice Inc., the Kokoda Track Foundation’s Archer Leaders Program and the Queen’s Young Leaders program.

What do you love about what you do Johnetta? 

I love the work that I do because I get to learn the different ways businesses work in PNG and provide value adding business advice to my clients.

I also get to network with professionals and travel across PNG. This year I had the opportunity to travel to Lumi, West Sepik which is a remote part of PNG. It really made me appreciate how diverse PNG is and also how hard different NGOs are working to preserve the biodiversity and improve the lives of people in that area. Above all I am gaining invaluable experience that I can use in the future.

And how does this role play to your strengths?

It has taught me to be a lot more confident. I would say that generally I am a confident person but with the line of work I do I have to speak with finance managers, CFO and CEOs and this requires me to be confident with my work understanding the entity and the work that they do.

Being an auditor has made me realise a passion for finance. Being passionate about this field motivates me to work harder to gain the experience and understanding I need to perform to the best of my abilities.

What would you say are the top five things that you have learned to be a success at work?

  1. Clearly outline my short/medium/long term goals so that I work towards them everyday.
  2. Keep updated with the news and trends so that I am able to add more value to my audit engagements.
  3. Improve my technical knowledge of accounting, auditing standards and methodology.
  4. Maintain a growing level of motivation. I always feel motivated when I know what my end goals are.
  5. I’ve also been working on teaching and coaching at my jobs. Although I am still a junior accountant it helps me when I coach graduates as I reaffirm my knowledge of the audit processes and how accounts work.

Who do you look to, or what networks do you go to, for inspiration in your career? Where do you go to learn more to progress in your work?

I subscribe to the CFA Institute’s Financial News Brief and Moodys as I have a particular interest in Finance. I also google current trending stories around the world to keep informed.

I look at my Queens Young Leaders network for inspiration, as it is made up of young people who are doing extraordinary things with their lives. This network never ceases to amaze me.

If someone wanted to pursue this career, what advice would give them Johnetta?

It would be to stay informed about the current economic trends so that you are able to implement that in your work.

Never stop wanting to grow and learn, always ask questions and seek opportunities to grow. You can never grow personally or professionally if you continue to perform within your comfort zone, push yourself and ask to work on the hard stuff.

I’d also advise people to set out their short, medium and long-term goals so that they have a picture of the steps they need to take today in order to achieve their personal and professional goals.

Also remember that being in audit/accounting, or any other profession, should never stop you from doing other things. Although I have a job that requires long hours, I’m putting time aside to work on community development work in my home province: Manus. This is something I want for my people and I am working towards achieving it every day.

What was your journey to get here? And where do you see yourself in ten years?

The journey for me was a long and hard one. I did five years of university – it was supposed to be four years but long story short I failed an exam and did not get a placing to complete the 3rdyear in Uni. But I joined an amazing organisation ‘Equal Playing Field’ (EPF) as a site manager during my time away from university and it was the best decision I made.  I met some pretty cool people who gave up their time to transform the lives of people around them. After completing the first EPL program I applied to go back to university and got accepted. I went back to university with new energy and motivation to work harder. Now, looking back at everything that has happened I’m grateful for the experience I had as I would not be the person I am today if I just sailed through university.

I am now an auditor with two years of experience, I’m only starting off my career but I am very motivated to keep learning and growing. I plan to do a Masters in Finance in a few years’ time in the UK. A lot has to happen in order to achieve that goal but I am working on it and it is something I never lose sight off.

I want to gain international work experience in the near future, so I’m planning on gaining the relevant work experience and accreditation to achieve this.

I also want to be working for myself in the next ten years and I believe my experience as an auditor/accountant will be help me get there. I plan to continue to work on community development projects around PNG as that line of work is never complete, there is never an end date, there is always room to improve and transform the lives of people around you.


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