Fifteen years accounts for a lot

Fifteen years accounts for a lot

​When someone thinks of an Outback Stores employee – they probably think of a store manager, merchandise assistant or training officer. But the unsung heroes of Outback Stores are to be found in our accounts department, providing transparent accounting services for the benefit of locally-owned remote community stores across the country.

Outback Stores recently congratulated two members of our accounts team who have worked with the company for fifteen years.

Louise Edwards and Troy Criddle both started working at Outback Stores in 2008, when the office was located in the Darwin city centre. At that time the company was less than two years old and was servicing eleven communities across the Northern Territory.

Louise says that when she started there were only around five people in the accounting department, and each person looked after 2-3 stores.

“There was more manual work in those days, for example entering the daily sales from dockets, then scanning and saving each receipt,” says Louise.

Shkarra and Matt

Top: Louise Edwards as Finance Officer, 2008
Bottom: Louise and husband at staff Christmas party, 2023

Seeing the company grow over the past fifteen years has been a highlight.

– Louise Edwards

​Troy says that the remote nature of the business contributed to particular challenges for the accounts team in the early days.

“Depending on the mail plane, sometimes there would be a lag of up to two weeks on the mail bags to be inputted manually, which was a big challenge when it came to reporting deadlines,” says Troy.

Fifteen years later and now the company is providing services to 54 communities across the NT, WA, SA, NSW and QLD.  The accounts departments now consists of 21 people, with each accounting officer managing between 4-5 stores. This difference in workload reflects the move to automated systems, which was spurred on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Reflecting on her fifteen years, Louise remembers when the accounts team used to visit communities to help with stocktakes. She enjoyed the opportunity to visit communities during this period such as Groote Eylandt, Bardi, Ngukurr, Beswick, Barunga and Bulman. Another highlight for her has been seeing the growth of the company over the past fifteen years and how it has kickstarted the careers of so many people, such as Troy.

Ashley and Karen in Car Photo

Top: Troy Criddle as Accounts Payable Officer, 2008
Bottom: Troy Criddle as Chief Financial Officer, 2023

Every week is different, so there is always a new challenge that keeps the role interesting. 

– Troy Criddle

Troy Criddle was just nineteen years old and still in university when he first started working at Outback Stores as an accounts payable officer. This year he became the Chief Financial Officer of Outback Stores, realising a personal goal he’d held since high school.

Looking back over his time at Outback Stores, he recalls the particular highlight of his first promotion to accounts payable team leader, when he began managing a team for the first time. He also recalls the satisfaction of merging all three accounting functions in the one role in 2016. Now accounts payable, accounts receivable and cash management are all done by the one person, allowing for clearer communication between stores and the finance team. Troy enjoys the diversity of the work at Outback Stores, and that each week brings a new challenge.

Congratulations to both Louise and Troy for their invaluable contribution over fifteen in ensuring transparent accounting for store directors!

It is thanks to the commitment of our team that Outback Stores is able to deliver on our purpose of maintaining food security to remote Indigenous communities across Australia.

Ashley and Karen in Car Photo
Ashley and Karen in Car Photo
Camping in a swag

Top: Louise Edwards with staff Santa, 2012
Middle: Ellen Fisher, Troy Criddle and Nelson Tavares at staff Christmas party, 2022
Bottom: Kristy Clarke, Melissa Gillis, Louise Edwards and Danya Button at staff Christmas Party, 2023