At a glance
Dennis Bothma CPA reckons he’s dabbled in just about “every kind of accounting you can think of” over the last decade. Based on Queensland’s Gold Coast, he has spent time doing taxes, offering business services and advice, working for charity and in the public sector, and has been part of a family-run firm with his brother.
However, he always felt that he operated best at work when there was a driving force that went well beyond just balancing the books.
Just before Christmas 2016, about six months into his role as a senior financial officer with Indigenous services group Kalwun Development Corporation, Bothma couldn’t have found a more compelling reason to clock in each day.
“We were the reason why a young mum is still on the planet,” he says. “She was literally about to take her own life and we were able to assist her and get her into a home. Her three young kids still have a mum. It’s the kind of thing that makes you want to go to work.”
Now chief financial officer at Kalwun, Bothma has a real sense of being in a position to make a difference. He admits doing his share of “the back-end boring stuff” at Kalwun, a government-funded co-op on the Gold Coast that provides health, aged care and family support services, including housing. However, he also insists on getting out of the office to see what the issues are on the ground.
Seeking a balance between the numbers and human side of an equation, Bothma engages in a range of activities where he feels he can give back outside of his day job, but it’s not exactly what you may expect.
“My CPA skills and knowledge aren’t being used when I serve up meals in a shelter,” he says. “There’s a lot of people that can do that. Pushing the strategic side is where I can add value.”
After initially working as a volunteer director with grassroots housing organisation Habitat for Humanity, in late 2016 Bothma started the CPA Gold Coast Not for Profit Group. The group meets quarterly and offers professional development services specifically for those in the non-profit sector.
It’s a sector where Bothma feels there’s a knowledge gap, and the need may become more acute with AASB 15 Revenue from Contracts with Customers (based on the international standard, IFRS 15) and AASB 1058 Income of Not-for-Profit Entities coming into effect. These standards will significantly change how not-for-profits report grants and other income.
As a volunteer speaker with CPA Australia and, previously, a program mentor at the School for Social Entrepreneurs Australia, Bothma is more than happy to share his knowledge, and he wouldn’t have it any other way.
“My wife really pushed me to get back into the charitable side of the industry. It gives me a great sense of wellbeing and happiness, so I think she was right.”
CPA Gold Coast Not for Profit Group
The CPA Gold Coast Not for Profit Group runs in conjunction with the CPA Australia Gold Coast Committee to help drive professional development and harness networking opportunities in the sector. The group has already partnered with community support organisation FSG Australia, Crowe Horwath, and the Jellurgal Aboriginal Cultural Centre.