Walter Lomax, a graduate of Griffith Business School and Manager, Business Restructuring and Strategy at PwC, has been named Young Accountant of the Year (30 years or under) at the 2020 Australian Accounting Awards.
Honoured to receive the award ahead of a pool of nine other finalists, which included a colleague from PwC, Walter said it made all the countless hours and personal sacrifices worthwhile.
“I’ve been at PwC for 3 years and 5 months as a manager in the Business Restructuring Services team and I’ve been very fortunate to work on a very diverse range of files, across multiple industries and with teams from other services lines within PwC such as management consulting, transaction services, mergers and acquisitions and CFO advisory,” he said.
“Having come from a boutique accounting firm on the Gold Coast, PwC has offered me the opportunities to break out of the mould of a traditional insolvency accountant and develop a range of skill sets and a more holistic way of working.
“At 27 I was based in Dalby for six months managing a civil construction firm that was delivering nine projects that collectively generated over $18m in revenue.
“Currently, I’m managing the cash flow of an underground mine that went into receivership just before Christmas.
“At the end of 2019, I was also selected to be a part of PwC’s Digital Accelerator Program, one of 46 out of 8,000 staff globally. As a digital accelerator, I allocate a portion of my time to training in data and automation, including automated data workflows, data analysis, visualisation.”
Walter sets quite a pace, which is also a trait that served him well at Griffith, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce majoring in Accounting and Finance in 2011.
He was a member of Griffith Honours College, created and presided over a Student Guild club, represented the university in netball and rowing at the Northern University Games and studied on exchange at the University of Miami, Florida.
“Through Griffith I was afforded a lot of opportunities, which built a wide array of life skills and personal development”
“Through Griffith I was afforded a lot of opportunities, which built a wide array of life skills and personal development,” he said.
“While on exchange I joined a Fraternity called Lambda Chi Alpha and thus my semester abroad was split between studying and pledging for the fraternity.
“Upon reflection, it was one of the greatest decisions I could have made from a career perspective. The benefits are two pronged. On one hand, we’re seeing more capital from America enter the Australian economy.
“Current examples are Bain purchasing Virgin and Oak Tree Capital funding Blue Sky Investments.
“Being in America and experiencing the culture firsthand helped me build immediate rapport with our American counterparts and potential clients/investors/buyers.
“Secondly, I established strong friendships with some of the members of the fraternity and one works for a hedge fund and the other for WeWork (to name a few).”
Pro Vice Chancellor (Business) Professor David Grant said Griffith Business School (GBS) was proud of all alumni but to see a former student recognised so prominently on the national stage was impressive.
“Griffith has produced many incredibly talented and community-minded alumni who are making a real difference in business,” he said.
“The Business School is delighted for Walter and celebrate this achievement alongside him. We hope it serves as a terrific example of what is possible for all our students in what is the changing future of business.”
Dr Robyn Cameron from the Department of Accounting, Finance and Economics was also delighted to see his efforts rewarded.
“It shows our strength in delivering an outstanding student learning experience and our strong connection with industry,” Dr Cameron said.
“Walter was an engaging student who was always happy to participate in classes and ask challenging questions.
“He also gave back to community both as a student and as a graduate.”
Lomax continues to give back, currently serving as a non-executive chairman at Barayamal, a charity aimed at fostering, building and supporting indigenous entrepreneurs through various initiatives.
He is focused on continuing to upskill in data analytics and automate processes internally within his current team, leveraging off the advances in technology made available to the public.
“We live in a time where we have an unprecedented amount of access to data. And whilst we have ways of capturing data, it is what to do with that data, and what insights that can be drawn from it, that businesses and executives are truly chasing.”