Graduate: Helen Hutcheson
Author of "Simple Money 4 You"
To start on a sad note, I lost my mum to cancer at the age of 17 which influenced my final year at high school. I then got a job and was encouraged to study at night at TAFE in Canberra. I completed my Certificate in Accounting Procedures in 1985 while continuing to work full time and fully supporting myself. My last full time employment was at the Australian National University in the finance and superannuation sections. I enjoyed University life until my first child was born in 1988. After a couple of months off I started accounting work part time working through my new business - Computerised Accounting Systems. I became an MYOB trainer and consultant and continued to run a very successful MYOB business until we moved to Queensland in 2006 - over 20 years!
I have always felt a little disappointed that I was not able to complete a degree and in some way this has held me back. In Queensland I started some MYOB consulting businesses but mainly worked for a Japanese company as group accountant. Remote access gave me the freedom to consider studying again, however the regular demands meant attending classes would be very difficult. I investigated many institutions and courses but felt I would be redoing what I already knew to gain a degree. This is when I was fortunate to discover Southern Cross University and to be told that I may have a different avenue to a Masters rather than completing a degree first - this was a real eye opener and I saw the light. I submitted an application to study a Master in Business Administration and with my experience was granted access to study via correspondence, with exams at the Tweed campus.
Just being accepted was one huge step for me and I was committed to make this work. With no financial assistance I knew I would need to work hard at both the study and the consulting but I was no stranger to work and the rewards would be there. I was already planning to write but would not let myself start until I had completed my study. Overly keen, I started three subjects in my first trimester and struggled but passed - not a good start, but the help I received from Southern Cross was amazing and the support and comments helped build my results and most of all my confidence in my ability to write! I have always been good with numbers but to write a book I would need better writing skills. Trial and error, good and bad assignments, but all helped me learn not only the subject but better writing skills and improved confidence.
I graduated with an MBA in a little over two years in April 2012 and my first book, 'Simple Money 4 You' was published in June 2013. I am very passionate about my book as it reflects my own teaching. 'Simple Money 4 You' is a simple money matters book specifically designed for those who struggle with money (just as I struggled with words, until I studied at SCU). It is the perfect reference book for all students who may be good at words or creativity but not numbers.
I cannot thank SCU enough for the experience of further education, the confidence and skills that I have achieved beyond the course level, without which I would not be a published author. I now plan to continue with a second book and of course the promotion of my first book. However my heart's desire is actually to teach people that numbers and money management are not difficult, the book is only a tool. People only need to understand what is required to achieve success and if I can get my MBA (and you will notice I choose Business Administration and not Finance which would have been easier) then everyone can learn enough about money not to make some of the simple mistakes that too many people are making.
Along with the second book, I will probably complete more books, but will always teach at some level. SCU is a wonderful, supportive learning environment and I am proud to be a graduate from this University.