INTHEBLACK July 2020 - Page 16



PROFILES
// M Y B O S S A N D M E
AS TOLD TO NICOLA HEATH PHOTOGRAPHY JARROD BARNES
ALWAYS ADAPTABLE,
ALWAYS COMMUNICATING
Jerome Tymms CPA and Shaun Steenkamp CPA from National Australia Bank (NAB) attribute their
strong working relationship to open communication and being adaptable, while making the most of
their complementary skills in learning from each other.
JEROME TYMMS CPA
SHAUN STEENKAMP CPA
HEAD OF FINANCIAL CONTROL AND GOVERNANCE
FOR GROUP BUSINESS SERVICES AT NAB
I first met Shaun when he was
working for the bank’s group
accounting policy team on the
implementation of the new
Australian Accounting Standards.
I was dealing with him, given
that part of my responsibilities
is looking after our property
portfolio as well as the strategic
sourcing team, and the lease
accounting standard had impacts
on both.
The three words I’d use to
describe my first impression of
Shaun are confident, capable and
thorough. Even though he was
articulate and knew his subject
matter well, when people asked
questions or made suggestions,
he would listen intently before
responding, rather than
necessarily presuming he had it
covered. When he didn’t know,
he was quite frank about it and
would say, “I’ll get back to you”.
I thought he would be good for
the finance partner position in the
enterprise property and strategic
sourcing team, and that the role
would be good for him. It’s a role
that requires a certain level of
technical accounting knowledge,
which he had demonstrated
through the accounting standard
20 ITB July 2020
policy implementation. That
impressed me – I thought I
could use some of that technical
knowledge in the team. The way
he carried himself also gave me
comfort that he could lean into
a more commercially focused,
stakeholder management-type
role. I considered it a good
development fit for him in terms
of his future and the skills he
could build.
He has settled in well. Shaun is
highly organised, structured and
methodical in his work. He is very
good at sharing his knowledge
with junior team members.
He has also very quickly built
strong relationships with some
of the senior stakeholders in the
sourcing and property teams.
These relationships are critical to
him being effective in the role.
Although it’s a strength, his
thoroughness can slow him
down in our fast-paced work
environment. His ability to
turn around that first iteration
quickly is something that he’s
developing at the moment.
We’re both open
communicators. We’re happy
to talk about what’s going
well and what isn’t. That
FINANCE PARTNER, ENTERPRISE
PROPERTY AND STRATEGIC
SOURCING AT NAB
really helps in keeping the
lines of communication open.
Overall, he’s adaptable, and
I’m adaptable too, which is
necessary for the role.
Where we differ is that I
think more freely and will move
from topic to topic fairly fluidly,
whereas Shaun is a little bit more
structured in his thinking. He
manages me well when I have
thoughts across a range of topics
in one discussion.
For me, learning how to check
in with him and coach him in the
right way has been a bit of an
experiment. It’s teaching me to
step back – I don’t necessarily
need to know everything that’s
going on. He’s very capable.
Having been in a commercial
role for a long time, I’m enjoying
getting a refresher from Shaun
in some of the nuances of
accounting standards.
W H AT J E R O M E W O U L D
CHANGE ABOUT SHAUN:
I don’t think I’d change
anything about him. He’ll
develop in his own way.
I first met Jerome two years ago,
when I was the associate director
for group accounting policy
at NAB. I worked closely with
Jerome on a project to understand
how the Australian Accounting
Standards Board’s new leasing
standard would affect the bank.
He struck me then as very detailfocused. He understood what
he was talking about and asked
challenging questions. In that first
impression, he came across as
quite intimidating.
Once the project finished,
he asked me if I was interested
in trying something different
– a role with more commercial
exposure than the policy-focused
roles I’d previously performed.
I said yes, and in December
2019, started working for him
as finance partner in enterprise
property and strategic sourcing.
From the outside looking in,
Jerome appears to be a strict
manager. Once you’re within his
team, his work style is a lot more
relaxed. He likes to say that he’s
not a line-of-sight manager, so he
doesn’t care where I am and what
I’m doing on a particular day, as
long as I deliver the outcomes that
we’ve agreed on. He often talks
Jerome Tymms CPA
(left) and Shaun
Steenkamp CPA
about the 80/20 rule – he knows
there is a time when close enough
is good enough, and he knows
when you need to prepare an
accurate answer.
Overall, he expects high-quality
and very considered work, but
he’s a huge proponent of work–
life balance. My wife had our first
baby in late December last year,
and he’s been very supportive.
He doesn’t mind me working from
home or taking the day off here
and there if I need to. He’s very
accommodating. I have quite a
lot of flexibility to do what I need,
which is quite interesting, because
that’s not the impression I had
when I first met him.
Jerome consistently displays
good judgement.
Being a financial professional,
you get queries from every angle,
but he’s very good at avoiding
knee-jerk reactions. One of his
strengths is deciding what’s
important and what isn’t, and
what needs to be answered to
what degree of accuracy.
He takes a very methodical
approach to managing people’s
expectations of what the finance
function can deliver.
He knows when to step back
and reconsider a problem and look
for a better answer – although it’s
challenging when that happens
very close to when you’re meant
to deliver the final outcome.
W H AT S H A U N W O U L D C H A N G E
ABOUT JEROME:
His 8 o’clock “let’s discuss” emails.
It turns out there are a few people
in his team who joke about the
same thing.
intheblack.com July 2020 21

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