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From phone operator to running his own show, how this CA made his career happen

Insyt chief executive Darren Wynen says it was his very first role that helped shape the rest of his career in the accounting profession.

My Story Reporter 19 March 2019
— 2 minute read

After becoming a Chartered Accountant, Insyt chief executive Darren Wynen started out his career working on a technical hotline for the National Tax and Accountants’ Association. As a hotline operator he was answering about 30 calls a day from accountants.

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“I used to deal with a lot of questions over the phone – the accountants would get 10 minutes and we’d run them through their queries from there, and I sort of loved it. I loved getting involved in the technical side and ending up going into writing for their papers,” said Mr Wynen.

It was from this role that he then branched into presenting, despite being hesitant initially.

“I told [former chief executive] Tony Jones at the NTAA, ‘There’s no way I’m going to be ever presenting, Tony,’ and the next thing I know, I’m up there presenting my first seminar and I sort of loved it from there and I just enjoyed it.

“The feedback was good – obviously I was a bit green in the early days but I enjoyed it and ended up getting involved in the NTAA Super Schools and I started being co-writer and co-presenter of that series which was one of their flagship superannuation series.”

One of the challenges of his career, Mr Wynen says is conquering his fear of public speaking.

“I always found public speaking to be really daunting and probably still do to some extent so it took me many years of presenting to get used to that I suppose,” he said.

One of the most difficult aspects of public speaking is knowing what people want to hear and to “make sure you hit the mark” he explains.

Mr Wynen also worked with Tax Banter as a senior contract trainer from 2012 to 2017, which helped him to gain a lot of experience with presenting.

“With Tax Banter where I was presenting day in, day out, I just probably learnt to relax a bit more and interact with people so I tend to enjoy it more whereas in the early days it was more daunting than anything.”

After leaving the NTAA in 2008, Mr Wynen moved on to start Insyt, a consulting firm that gave him a platform to develop publications for trustees and advisers.

“Once I got my tax agent license, I started consulting and discovered that I really loved that too, where it was like in the early days of NTAA where I sat on the phone answering questions,” explained Mr Wynen.

“A lot of my days are helping out other accountants and other advisers and I just enjoy the technical side, being able to research and help them out.”

Mr Wynen said the superannuation and tax space has changed considerably over the years, and believes accounting professionals will have their work cut out for them over the next few years.

The small business CGT concessions are one particular area that he believes has become excessively complex and where he would like to see changes to simplify the rules.

“I can understand that the government has got to balance the abuse of the concessions with people structuring their affairs to get their concessions on the sale of shares in a large company, but they’ve got to be counteracted with some common-sense law, and this legislation seems to be overly complex for small businesses,” he said.

Mr Wynen is very positive about the future of the accounting profession and has some key tips for graduates or those new to the industry.

“I think it is a growing space and an exciting space but you’ve got to stay on top of your game.

“You just need to immerse yourself in it and make sure you understand everything about it so you can give the best possible advice,” he said.

From phone operator to running his own show, how this CA made his career happen
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