At a glance
By Katie Langmore
Kaveen Bachoo CPA did not have an easy start in his career, but dedication and hard work have enabled a young man from a poor family in Mauritius to become head of the finance team for Glencore’s Zinc Australian operations.
“I was very lucky to be offered a full scholarship to the Australian National University,” says Bachoo, who had been offered a half scholarship to Cambridge University, which he had to decline because his parents couldn’t manage the remaining costs.
Bachoo completed a finance degree, then undertook his CPA studies while doing his honours, giving him a great head start in the job market.
“After studying I wasn’t sure what industry I wanted to be in, so I chose five industries from the ASX [Australian Stock Exchange] and applied to the top company in each,” he laughs.
The 21-year-old soon found himself moving to Queensland for a role with BHP.
“I was nervous about relocating to central Queensland, but since day one at BHP through to my current role with Glencore, I have had a career that has presented me with challenges and has always stimulated my learning and growth.”
In 2016, Bachoo felt it was time to give back to the community and the country that had provided such opportunities. He found a position on the board of Hepatitis Queensland (HQ) and soon stepped in as treasurer.
The role includes chairing the finance and audit committee and setting the financial strategy of the organisation, including assessment of funding, monitoring and governance around the spend, budgeting and planning.
As the first professional accountant on the board, Bachoo redesigned the financial, accounting and reporting systems. “It took a while, but it was great to simplify and streamline it all and get to the crux of what the financial health of the organisation was,” he says.
Bachoo’s hard work didn’t go unnoticed. The team found out about Commonwealth Bank’s Not-for-Profit Treasurers’ Award and nominated Bachoo. “It was a humbling experience to be recognised by the people on the ground,” he says of winning the grant, which enabled the organisation to invest in Xero software.
Surrounded by colleagues passionate about HQ’s cause, Bachoo has come to care deeply for the organisation’s challenge.
“Hepatitis B and C cause 1.3 million deaths per year [around the world] – more than HIV/AIDS – and yet there are so few resources put towards this sector,” he says.
“Despite that, we live in exciting times with the 2016 release of direct-acting antiviral drugs offering a new cure for people living with hepatitis C. It is possible we could see the elimination of hepatitis C in Australia if we all pull together.”
As is so often the case, Bachoo also acknowledges that volunteering for HQ has given him a deep sense of satisfaction.
“The notion of ‘We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give’ could not be more exemplified than it is through the work I witness at HQ.
“When you work with people who have this sort of passion, it’s incredibly inspiring. It really enriches your life.”
About Hepatitis Queensland
Hepatitis Queensland (HQ) is a community-based non-government organisation that represents the interests of people affected by, or at risk of, viral hepatitis.
Through resources, projects, programs and advocacy, HQ provides a holistic response to challenges faced by people directly affected by viral hepatitis and their families, while also impacting public policy and attitudes.