Chartered Accountant Amanda Cox picked the best time to join the West Coast Eagles nine years ago – the team made it to the AFL grand final. And the following year the Perth team won it.
She became CFO of the West Coast Eagles from KPMG where she did her Chartered Accountants program.
She was the first woman appointed to the executive team of the football Club and this was before she turned 30.
The West Coast Eagles now has a turnover of $50 million a year, 120 full-time staff supporting 44 players and 60,000 signed up members.
“I can honestly say no two days are the same here,” Ms Cox says.
She’s involved in human resources, payroll, compliance, risk management and attends meeting with the AFL in Melbourne, goes to workshops on integrity in the game and regularly gets together with other CFOs in the 18-club league.
“As you work in a place your passion grows and there’s nothing more passionate than sport,” she says. “I’m at every home game and I usually get to three or four away games.”
Coming from a family of all girls, there was no emphasis on football when she was growing up.
“I a lot of people know what they what to do when they grow up and I wasn’t one of those,” she says.
“I was an all-rounder, academically good at many things, and one of the subjects I studied was accountancy.
“My parents ran their own business and I always had an interest in business and how everything ticks so I studied accountancy and I excelled at it.
“So I studied a Bachelor of Commerce and you don’t have to pick your major until the second year so I thought that would give me a chance to try a bit of everything.”
She came straight out of Curtin University into a graduate program at KPMG where she did the CA program.
“At the time you’re doing the CA program you don’t think it will apply in later life but it provides you with those skills which stay with you; fundamental skills in accounting, tax audit, management accounting.”
After five years she was starting to think: What’s the next challenge?
“Working for a football club was not even on my radar,” she says.
At KPMG the brother of a colleague got a job working for the other AFL team in Perth, the Fremantle Dockers.
Ms Cox thought: I’d love a job like that.
“The club is a really supportive place to work,” she says. “This is my tenth season and I really love working here. They place a lot of faith in staff and try to develop a career path for them. Professional development opportunities for staff are a priority.”
West Coast Eagles sent her to study general management at Harvard Business School and late to a follow up program.
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by the Institute of Chartered Accountants Australia.