INTHEBLACK July 2021 - Flipbook - Page 32
F O R YA M I L E M O N S A L V E C P A , U N D E R S T A N D I N G N U M B E R S I S A S
INSTINCTIVE AS BEING FLUENT IN A LANGUAGE, AND SHE USES HER
T A L E N T F O R N U M B E R S T O M A K E A D I F F E R E N C E I N H E R L O C A L C O M M U N I T Y.
STORY CAROLINE ZIELINSKI
hen Yamile Monsalve CPA was an
18-year-old student at La Salle
University in Colombia, she got the
chance of a lifetime – a free trip to Australia
and the opportunity to study at an Australian
university for a semester.
Always good with numbers, Monsalve was
in the middle of her bachelor of business
administration degree when she was selected
to attend Central Queensland (CQ) University
as part of the 2004 Peace Scholarship Trust
program, administered by IDP Education
There was only one catch, Monsalve recalls.
“I didn’t speak English, which was a
requirement of the scholarship.”
However, in an act of good grace, CQ
University ended up waiving the Englishspeaking requirement and agreed to extend
her scholarship to include a few months of
intensive English lessons to prepare her for
a semester in Australia.
Monsalve happily agreed and, before she
knew it, she was deeply immersed in the
Australian university experience, culture and
way of living. “I did subjects that I knew I
could use as credit for my business degree
32 ITB July 2021
when I got home,” she says. Yet, before long,
she realised that returning to Colombia would
mean giving up the many opportunities
afforded her in Australia, and she petitioned
to stay. The university agreed to help, but on
the condition she pay her own way.
“I had always wanted to live overseas, but it
always seemed like a distant and unreachable
goal,” Monsalve says.
“Then I ended up in Australia, where the
quality of life is significantly higher than at
home. I had a support group and I loved it, so
I thought, why not give it a shot?”
NUMBERS DON’T LIE
Fast-forward to 2021, and Monsalve is nearly
as fluent in English as she is with numbers.
“I am very passionate about numbers – it is
the one thing I am excellent at,” she laughs.
The 34-year-old CPA, who has held roles
with the Environmental Protection Authority
Victoria and Rockhampton Regional Council
in Queensland, got started in public practice
accounting after she realised that “career
pathways in Australia are greater if you go
into accounting instead of business
“Also, the way I see it, accounting is a more
specific, evidence-driven science. You have
numbers, and the numbers don’t lie – they
always tell a story,” she says.
MENTORS MAKE THE DIFFERENCE
Monsalve now works as an accounting service
coordinator with Bayside City Council, in
Victoria, managing a team of eight and
reporting to the chief financial officer. She
says she could not have advanced to this
point in her career without a series of
mentors who believed in her.
“One of my first mentors figured out what
I hadn’t yet managed to discover for myself
– that I had a talent for systems,” she says.
“So, he started giving me opportunities to
develop in that field, and through that I came
to work in systems accounting for the local
council [in Queensland].”
Monsalve was so good at this role – because
she “was able to see the gap between what the
systems could do and what people needed the
system to do” – that she ended up winning the
2014 Young Finance Professional of the Year
award from the Local Government Finance
Professionals Association of Queensland.