Margaret Duncan, founder of MDCS Accounting and Consultant at
XPAL Tax and Accounting

Pivotal choice 25 years ago inspires Great Hall donation

Artist rendering of the chandelier in the Great Hall

Margaret Duncan was one of the first graduates of the newly-established University of South Australia in 1991. Almost 25 years later, Margaret and the University both have a lot to celebrate.

Margaret graduated as a mature-age student with a Bachelor of Accounting. At the time, she had the choice of graduating from the South Australian Institute of Technology, or the newly established University of South Australia. Believing that the University was the way of the future, Margaret chose the latter.

“I looked at the future and was very excited by what receiving a Bachelor from UniSA would bring,” says Margaret.

So much so that twelve years later - in 2003 - her youngest daughter kept the tradition alive and wore Margaret’s graduation robe at her own ceremony after completing a Bachelor of Marketing and International Studies at UniSA.

Soon after graduating, Margaret started her own successful accounting business, MDCS Accounting, specialising in rental property and small business tax and accounting services. With over 600 clients the company merged into XPAL Tax and Accounting where Margaret is currently their Senior Accountant, Business Consultant.

When the opportunity arose to donate to the Great Hall, Margaret drew upon her thriving career and her experience at UniSA to select her three words to live by “Opportunity – Success – Vision.” which she is placing on the Chandelier.

“When the opportunity to contribute to the Great Hall project was offered I thought of how it has been almost 25 years since I graduated from UniSA, how the University is also celebrating 25 years in 2016 and how both are occasions that mark my life. I am proud of where UniSA is and where it is going, both in Australia and globally, and I believe that the Great Hall is part of this vision for the future,” says Margaret.

“UniSA opened up my opportunities; I was a mature-age student and a single mother. In allowing me to bring my young children into the lectures and offering flexibility in study, the University opened up the new beginnings for my future.

“When I graduated 25 years ago, the top accounting and finance firms typically were not hiring mature-age graduates. I sought advice from my UniSA lecturers who gave me a list of mid-sized accounting firms to which they recommended I apply. This proved successful and I worked for four years at a mid-sized firm before starting my own business.

“I attribute the success of my business – not only to hard work and dedication – but to the vision that I had for my business: [to be the] provider of specialist tax and accounting services for rental property investors. This focus is one of the pillars of my success,” she says.

Margaret’s advice to new graduates is to be open to all opportunities that arise.

“Take every opportunity that is presented to you as you never know where it will take you. I believe that achieving a university degree is a great foundation for the rest of your life in whatever career path you choose to pursue,” she says.

UniSA is inviting alumni, staff and supporters to make a donation of AUD$1,000 to embed themselves in the DNA of the Great Hall in one of the permanent sculptural features of the facility.

To learn more, or to donate, please visit http://www.unisa.edu.au/greathall

If you're a UniSA staff member please click here to find out more, or to donate.

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