Cassy Titter was working in the shearing industry when she first came to UCOL Whanganui in 2006. She was looking for something new and after her aunty had signed up for UCOL’s New Zealand Diploma in Business, Cassy thought she would try it too.
"I didn't know what I was in for at the time, but after I got a couple of papers under my belt and I got a job at the Whanganui River Māori Trust Board. I found that I was good with numbers and the job increased my interest in accounting and finance, and made me want to study more."
Cassy studied the diploma part time while working fulltime and raising her son.
"I had great support from my whānau to help look after my boy. The UCOL lecturers were really great – they were understanding of my situation and were always on hand to help out with my studies."
Once Cassy finished the diploma, one of her lecturers recommended that she continue with the Bachelor of Applied Management, majoring in Accounting.
"Eventually I want to be a chartered accountant, so it wasn't a difficult decision for me!" says Cassy.
The UCOL degree has professional accreditation with Chartered Accountants New Zealand (CAANZ) and Certified Practising Accountants Australia (CPA Australia) so provides a recognised pathway for those who want to become Chartered Accountants.
Cassy began working fulltime as a Finance and Administration Officer at Ngā Tāngata Tiaki o Whanganui, before moving into a Financial Administrator role at Te Rūnanga o Ngā Wairiki Ngāti Apa. She was able to do her third-year industry project there, which involved transferring the business' accounting records from MYOB to Xero software and digitalizin all the paper records.
Cassy has since risen through the ranks at Te Rūnanga o Ngā Wairiki Ngāti Apa. She worked as the Financial Controller and then stepped into the Group Finance Manager role. Cassy is also an independent member for Te Oranganui audit and risk committee
Cassy says she is able to apply a range of skills and knowledge she picked up at UCOL - even from when she first started studying in 2006.
"In the Information Accounting Systems paper, one of our assignments was on Xero - how to set it up and how to import transactions and invoices. That was really helpful when I was transitioning everything from MYOB to Xero. The Financial Accounting paper helped me know what I was looking for when we had an audit. The Professional Practice paper helped me with CV writing and job interviews - I hadn't had to write a CV in years having worked for the iwi for 11 years."
In the future, Cassy would like to train to become a chartered accountant.