Ash Thompson

Ash Thompson

Insolvency Consultant, Ernst & Young
Bachelor of Business in Accounting and Finance

Ngāi Tai ki Tāmaki

He enjoys being able to make a difference to an organisation, says business alumnus Ash Thompson who recently joined Ernst & Young as an insolvency consultant.

“Understanding the legal aspects of a business and the services provided is so underrated, and I enjoy being within the cogs of a business, making observations and reporting those observations to senior management. It really makes you feel like what you are doing is adding value.”

This isn’t the first time Ash has been able to use his knowledge of accounting and finance to make a positive impact – before joining Ernst & Young earlier this year, he worked as a trust accountant for Haigh Lyon Lawyers.

“In my role at Haigh Lyon Lawyers, I was responsible for trust account and general firm accounting, understanding conveyancing settlements and processing up to $50 million in house sales and purchases a day.”

Finding his path
As much as he enjoys his career now, it wasn’t always clear that his future would be in accounting.

“When I was younger, I didn’t really like accounting because I was good at it and it seemed too easy. After high school I started working in telecommunications; an area I had an interest in but little knowledge. But after five years in that industry, I realised how much I would enjoy developing myself in an area I knew I was good at.”

Once he had decided to study accounting at university, he started exploring his study options and soon decided that AUT was the right university for him.

“I had many friends who had already completed their degrees by the time I was looking at university, and the feedback I got was that AUT was the clear winner. I didn’t really want to sit down and take a three-hour test in a hall with over 100 other students; I wanted a more interactive learning experience where you weren’t afraid to say the wrong answer because you’d learn from it and not feel bad. That’s why I chose to come to AUT.”

Making connections
He still has fond memories of his time at university.

“The highlight for me were the friends I made along the way. It was great seeing people of all ages in my classes, befriending people right out of high school as well as those who had decided to study for a change in career.

“A lightbulb moment for me was in my course on ethics in business. I’ve always been a bit awkward and there were no pre-determined groupings in that class, so straight away there were groups of people that were alike. Then came the group I was in; everyone was so different and yet all of us got along so well. That was the most perfect start to my university experience. We all ended up getting straight As in that course and continued our accounting journeys together.

Ash, who graduated from AUT in mid-2021 and is proud of being on the honours roll for his first two years at AUT, has some great tips for other students.

“Just have fun while you’re at university – you’ll do better when you’re enjoying yourself.”