Elizabeth Goodman: an accountant in Tuvalu

When Elizabeth Goodman first heard about the PACTAM2 program, she was intrigued.

“Unlike other programs targeting the larger Pacific island nations, PACTAM2 was focused on the smaller Pacific islands – countries with smaller budgets and economies,” she says.

She was fascinated by the idea of living and working on a remote Pacific island, so when she found out her application for a PACTAM2 role in Tuvalu was successful, she was ecstatic.

“I didn’t have any reservations about the role. I was determined to understand the country, its people, and its government. So far I love living and working here.”

As a Budget Management Technical Adviser working in the Planning, Budget and AID Coordination Department in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, Elizabeth supports her counterparts to oversee Tuvalu’s budget and fiscal management, ensuring that the country’s reserves are managed within the national frameworks and regulations.

“Basically, we look after all the country’s money and determine who gets what in terms of budget allocations,” she says.

She also supports the Treasury department, something that wasn’t included in her original terms of reference but was added in later as the government of Tuvalu identified a need in this area.

Elizabeth is a Certified Practicing Accountant with a Master of Professional Accounting from the University of Southern Queensland and a Master of Business Administration from the University of the Sunshine Coast. She has worked in financial management for more than 20 years in the public and private sectors as well as in non-profit organisations.

She has experience in business administration, strategic management, capacity development and innovation. Prior to her PACTAM2 role she worked as a financial management specialist with Asian Development Bank and GoPNG-funded civil aviation development program in Papua New Guinea.

Now, having worked in Tuvalu for almost two years, Elizabeth has fallen in love with the country and its people. She considers it her ‘second home’.

“Some people said to me: Tuvalu is so small you might find it boring, with nothing to do,” she says.

“Wrong … I’ve had plenty to do and all the experiences have been phenomenal. The people are fabulous. Everything is within distance.”

Elizabeth believes her experience as a PACTAM2 adviser has been extremely valuable and will have a positive effect on her future career.

“It has increased my profile because it has provided me with the opportunity to deliver from a country level. It has been a fantastic opportunity for me,” she says.

To those thinking about applying for a PACTAM2 position, Elizabeth says the main thing is to expect the unexpected and to make do with what you can.

“If you’re not willing to adjust, then this may not be the role for you,” she says.

“But you’ll love it after going through some hiccups … your willingness to adjust means you will enjoy living on a beautiful island nation.”