Thursday, July 18, 2024

Trans-Tasman honour for accounting teacher


Teaching accounting to students as far afield as Zambia, Botswana and Vanuatu has led to a 71-year-old Charles Darwin University (CDU) Lecturer receiving a prestigious award.

Dr Simon Morris (pictured) has been recognised for his outstanding contributions and professional achievements with a Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CA ANZ) Meritorious Service Award.

He is the first member of the CA ANZ Northern Territory branch to receive the Meritorious Service Award since 2012.

The Award recognises the volunteering effort of members who offer their time and skills to give back to the profession, with three awards given a year in each region.

Dr Morris, who has enjoyed teaching accounting for 46 years, said he was “stunned” to receive the accolade.

“It’s lovely and I’m in tremendous shock. It’s lovely being recognised by your peers,” Dr Morris said.

Dr Morris has had an extensive career in the accounting field, becoming qualified with the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales in 1975 – despite his father’s hopes for him to become a medical doctor.

He soon began teaching and in 1984 Dr Morris travelled to Lusaka, Zambia to help prepare KPMG students for the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants exam. The life-changing experience prompted Dr Morris’ passion to help empower and train people in developing countries, working for 10 years in Zambia, Botswana and Vanuatu.

Dr Morris migrated to Australia in 1998, later beginning his academic teaching career at CQUniversity Sydney. He moved to Darwin and CDU in 2005, joined the NT Chartered Accountants Panel in 2007 and worked to promote the Chartered Accountants brand as a global professional accounting qualification.

At 71, this year Dr Morris graduated with a PhD and has no intention of slowing down. Since 2009, Dr Morris has worked to build accountancy capacity in Timor-Leste and plans to use his PhD and the prestige of the Meritorious Service Award to help in his efforts to start an aid-funded project in the country.

“People in developing countries, if we can get them to do simple things like cash flow statements and a basic business plan, to be able to do a simple set of financials, then they can organise their lives,” Dr Morris said.

“Instead of imposing standards from the top we need to build up from the bottom.

“If you can give someone basic accounting skills you can change their world.”

Dr Morris, reflecting on his prolific career, cited his first qualification as the most meaningful in his life.

“When people talk about a PhD being the highest qualification you can get, well for me it was my Chartered Accountant qualification because it enabled me to travel and gave me these opportunities,” Dr Morris said.

“I tell my students the Chartered Accountant program is more intellectually challenging but the rewards after are fantastic.”

Dr Morris will be presented with the Meritorious Service Award at the 2023 Chartered Accountants NT Forum Awards on March 23.

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