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Financial Statement Literacy




North West Young Lawyers

CPD Points




by zoom, link and password made available to registrant by email, after approx. 5pm the day prior to event.

CPD Guide: 1 PS

This session is brought to you by Matthew Pawson, Consultant at Rae & Partners, and James Abernathy, Chartered Accountant.


Session Outline

Let’s be honest… when you signed up to do a law degree all those years ago, the last thing you thought you would need to know about is financial statements.  Now, you find that understanding and interpreting financial statements for individuals, partnerships, companies and trusts, is an integral part of what you have to do.  Whether you like it or not, the fact is that financial statement literacy is an important skill for all legal practitioners, at all levels, no matter what field of law you choose to practice in.

In this session we bring in the experts to discuss the key issues for lawyers in understanding and interpreting financial statements.  Former public accountant at Deloitte, now in-house financial accountant for Rae & Partners, James Abernathy, will take you through the important basics of financial statement literacy and experienced commercial lawyer, Matthew Pawson, will discuss how and why this is relevant for lawyers of all disciplines.

Key Takeaways

If you don’t know the top line of a P&L from the bottom line of the balance sheet, or if your debits and credits are in the red or in the black, this session is a must for you.  

From this session you should take away:

  1. Improved technical skills in financial statement literacy
  2. A greater appreciation for when, why and how these skills are important in legal practice
  3. An understanding of the value of working with other professionals, like accountants, in the best interests of the client


James Abernethy is a Chartered Accountant and trusted advisor to small to medium enterprises and high net worth individuals. James commenced his career in accounting in 2011 at the Launceston office of a Big 4 accounting firm where he predominantly worked across the Tax and Advisory team. James has more recently made the move to start his own consulting business.  James’ client base includes businesses from the agriculture, construction, aquaculture, engineering and the legal profession. James advises clients on business improvement, cashflow and tax planning, succession planning and business structuring.  James is also the finance manager and company secretary of the Royal Flying Doctor Service of Tasmania.  James has previously presented to audiences including The Tax Institute, Enterprize Centres and to students studying at UTAS.

Matthew Pawson, Consultant, Rae & Partners, advises on high level commercial transactions, business structuring, governance, corporations law, trusts, tax, wills and estate planning, farming and business succession planning. 

In a career spanning 20 years as a commercial lawyer in Hobart, Launceston and Devonport, Matthew has also served as a Board Member of The Tax Institute for 8 years, including as National President in 2017.  He is a Chartered Tax Advisor and Life Member of the Tax Institute.  He is also a member of the Australian Legal Practice Management Association, the Continuing Legal Education Association of Australia and the J. Reuben Clark Law Society.  In 2019 Matthew was appointed as the Commercial and Corporate Practice course convenor for the Centre for Legal Studies where he teaches commercial law practice.  He has published extensively on legal practice management topics and frequently presents for the Law Society and The Tax Institute on GST and other commercial law topics.



Important notice: These webinars, with any associated recordings and papers (where applicable), are subject to copyright and are provided for the registrant's use only. They (including links) may not be shared. copied, reproduced, adapted, transmitted or otherwise distributed, nor may they be modified or reposted to other sites in any manner.


With thanks to our CPD Program sponsor:



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Type Available

YL - Financial Statement Literacy

Young Lawyer Fee (<5 years PQE)
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STD - Financial Statement Literacy

Standard Fee
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