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Business > Pro bono case study
Looking out over the sea of 80,000
people standing in the wings of the
makeshift stage in the middle of the G at the
Melbourne Sound Relief concert in 2008 was
an experience Chartered Accountant Greg
Ziegler will never forget.
“Watching headline act Midnight Oil
launch into Beds are Burning was definitely
a highlight,” he says. “Just being there
was a privilege but knowing that you have
contributed was truly rewarding.”
Given the hours Ziegler and his team
at BSA Partnership provided in support
for the Melbourne concert (including the
work conducted prior and after the concert
itself) “contributing to the night” is an
understatement. The team started work on
the day at 10am and didn’t stop until 2am
the following morning.
Ziegler fondly recalls the whole experience
as “the firm doing its bit for the community”
and being involved in such a major event
represented an opportunity for the firm to
punch above its weight.
BSA Partnership had three weeks to
WANT TO KNOW MORE?
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Financial Reporting. The tool provides
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entities on the most transparent way
of reporting their annual and financial
obligations. To download the tool and
for further information on not-for-profit
reporting visit charteredaccountants.
organise the logistics for the event, including
a host of administrative tasks.
“Short of booking the bands we were
involved in all the financial and administrative
aspects of getting the concert up and
Ziegler readily admits the firm fell into the
work although with clients in the entertainment
industry and one of its partners on the board
of Red Cross Victoria (all profits of the concert
and its sister concert in Sydney went to the
Victorian Bushfire appeal), it wasn’t entirely
unexpected. However, accepting the gig did
come with some risks.
“The biggest challenge was the media
scrutiny,” says Ziegler. “Something that was
very foreign to us and for most small to
The media were particularly interested in
the financial report and the GST treatment
of the event by the federal government, an
emphasis that needed to be reflected in the
report itself. While the work didn’t result in
more clients, Ziegler is quick to point out that
this was not the focus.
“From a reputation point of view, the pro
bono work was priceless. Our clients were
extremely supportive, as were our staff who
took the time out of their day to fit the work
around existing work deadlines,” he says.
“People come to you because they trust
you, your team and the service that you
provide. We proved to the organisers and,
to some extent the Australian community,
that we could be trusted to provide a
professional, transparent, robust and
accountable service through our work on
the Sound Relief concert. The work was
not unlike paid work but in some ways
The Melbourne Sound Relief Concert
was successful not only for the relief fund
(it raised over $7 million) but also for BSA
Partnership who was approached by the
Frontier Touring Company to provide the
same services to the 2011 Flood Relief
concert in Brisbane.
According to the national 2006 Voluntary
Work Survey released by the Australian
Bureau of Statistics (the most up-to-date
data on the subject) 5.2 million people
(34 per cent) of the Australian population
aged 18 years and over participate in
voluntary work, including pro-bono activities.
This equates to 713 million hours invested
into the community, across a diverse range
of activities. Based on the national average
wage this amounts to in excess of $16 trillion
to Australia’s economy annually.
And Ziegler’s advice for accountants
who are thinking about doing their bit?
“The benefit that pro-bono work provides
Australia’s social, financial and business
communities is priceless. Whether it’s
accounting for a national and very public
event like Sound Relief or keeping the books
at your local netball club.”
Indeed pro-bono work underpins many
of the services we take for granted in
Australia and for that reason it is critical
that it continues to be promoted and
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1107SHSCharterA1033.pdf Page 1 13/07/11, 10:37 AM
The 2009 Melbourne Sound Relief Concert
provided a uniquely rewarding experience
for one Melbourne firm.
Story Ben McAlary
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