The congratulations continue to flow here at Receipt Bank HQ – this week for all our incredible partners who were nominated for the Australian Accounting Awards 2018, presented by Accountants Daily. We caught up with the nominees before the awards on Friday to get their thoughts on how to maintain a high standard of work, how to provide real value to clients and what makes their service stand out.
Justin Flavel – Managing Director, Omnis Group
Nominated for: Partner of the Year (Boutique Firm)
“We combine our advice with the visibility and clarity of practical and meaningful performance reports, trend analysis and charts, that help business owners to see the way forward and give them a competitive edge to be successful.”
Chris Mercer (Executive Director), Kareen Paterson (Business Operations) and Aaron David (Director) – Live Real Estate Accounts
Nominated for: Bookkeeping Firm of the Year
“Live is a specialist firm, we only service the Real Estate sector. We don’t pretend to know a little about a lot, we know Real Estate, from start to finish, from the salesperson looking to go out alone, to a business owner looking at acquisition and adding to their multi office/location business. By being able to walk them through each stage of the business cycle, from managing cash flow, to forecast cash flow and management reports, adds a depth of knowledge not readily available to small business owners.”
Amy Riddell – Director, BlueRock
Nominated for: Bookkeeping Executive of the Year
“My top advice is that clients need to really value the bookkeeper because without accurate bookkeeping records, clients do not have up-to-date information to make sound, important business decisions. This can make or break a business, and although they might only pay 30 bucks an hour, they will pay more at the end of the year for accountants to clean up the file. My favourite saying is that if you pay peanuts you get monkeys! And I believe that if you skimp on the bookkeeping you are compromising your business.”
David Cowling – Director, Roberts & Cowling
Nominated for: Partner of the Year, Boutique Firm of the Year
“I think there are three things that keep standards high.
1. Understanding your purpose. Personally, I know my own purpose and our whole team champions the firm’s purpose. When you know this at a fundamental level, it is very easy to maintain high standards because you know that it is the only way to achieve your goals.
2. Culture. Fostering a high performance culture is critical. Fun is a big value of our firm, and we make R&C a place where our people feel they belong.
3. Positive QA procedures. I think everyone knows that QA is important but we make sure our entire team has the ability to contribute to their job in terms of finding solutions to problems the client may not even know they have. It gives us the opportunity to talk to our team about what went well vs what didn’t go so well and convert that to learnings for future work.”
Harry Hoang – CEO & Founder, Tailored Accounts
Nominated for: Executive of the Year, Innovator for the Year
"My advice to provide real value to a client is to become a their right-hand advisor, who can transform financial data into valuable information and contribute insightful suggestions to create wealth and prosperity for the client"
Sonya Jacobsen – Director, Your Bookkeeping Angel
Nominated for: Bookkeeping Executive of the Year
“I focus on offering value for my clients and not being someone who just enters data. Empowering business owners around there finances is my vision and my mission in business, with an emphasis to use reporting to keep them on track with their cash flow, budgeting and forecasting. I also help them to integrate other cloud-based software systems that will work seamlessly with their bookkeeping software to increase productivity in their business. Helping them to become paperless and embrace the new age of technology.”
Megan Faraday-Bensley – Director, Prosperity Advisers Group
Nominated for: Executive of the Year, Firm of the Year, Partner of the Year
“By putting our clients at the core of everything we do, we ensure that our strategies, our solutions and our advice is tailored to what is important to them, at a given point in time. Most clients value a relationship that feels personal to them, especially when you are managing their financial future and wellbeing – just knowing the numbers isn’t enough, you need to really get to know your clients and what is important for them.”
Katie Bryan – Director, Propeller Advisory Pty Ltd
Nominated for: New Partner of the Year
“From the very beginning we chose to adopt a fixed-fee model and to offer services to clients that go far beyond the typical bookkeeping and tax services seen in other firms. We ensure that we meet with or at least speak to all of our clients on a monthly or quarterly basis which we agree is a niche all in itself. We ensure all of our clients are integrated with the top technology add-ons to make their lives pain free.”
James Solomons & Rebecca Mihalic, Directors at Aptus Accounting and Advisory
Nominated for: Innovator of the Year
“At Aptus we provide all our clients a customised service tailor built to their needs. There is no ‘off the shelf’ product that we sell because we understand each client has a different set of needs, wants and concerns.
By ensuring we adopt the best in current technology we are able to keep and consistently improve our high service standards. Products like Xero and Receipt Bank are improving and investing in their features, to offer more functionality and to improve security and reporting. This allows us to leverage technology to provide our clients outstanding service.”
Diane Lucas – Accounting Consultant, Direct Management
Nominated for: Bookkeeping Executive of the Year, Thought Leader of the Year, Bookkeeping Firm of the Year
“we have regular meetings to discuss organisational and industry developments. Having a collaborative environment ensures we all learn from each other and can brainstorm any issues. We also have a clear directive about our ideal client so this helps us to maintain a client base that is enjoyable for all concerned. Working for a client who appreciates our services ensures that we also want to provide the best for them.”
Hannah Hoffman – Marketing Manager, McConachie Stedman
Nominated for: Marketing Program of the Year
“In a service based industry, providing value goes beyond the products you sell. It’s about more than filling in a form and lodging a tax return. True value lies the meaningful service you provide, the time invested in getting to know your clients and having a knowledgeable team on hand to give practical and relevant advice.”
Wallace Ng – Small Business Advisor, Prime Partners Pty Ltd
Nominated for: Boutique Firm of the Year, Rising Star of the Year
“For me personally, high standards are not just about service delivery or compliance, but rather a sign of utmost respect to our colleagues, our clients and our industry. This fundamental philosophy is how I operate and it’s why ensuring high standards comes instinctively.
The combination of proactive training provided to me at my firm, the professionals & mentors I work with that constantly push me, the constantly improving internal processes, the comprehensive checklists, the regular knowledge share masterclass sessions, the industry events I attend, the quality control reviews, the mindset of putting myself in my client’s shoes and “the vibe” (as Dennis Denuto would describe) have transformed high standards into an automatic reflex, habit if you will.”
Meryl Johnston – Founder, Bean Ninjas
Nominated for: Bookkeeping Firm of the Year
“A core element of our marketing strategy is giving our customers an amazing experience. This means doing great work, but also being easy to communicate with and being proactive in the way we work with our clients.
Our customers expect accurate accounts, but they also value prompt communication and reports provided soon after the end of each month.
We have internal review procedures to maintain the accuracy of our work. However our Operations Manager also does a regular sweep of our email accounts to ensure that all client emails are being responded to within 48 hours. Another key metric we track is the date reports are delivered each month across our client portfolio.”
Canio Muscillo – Director, Muscillo Romano
Nominated for: Partner of the Year (Boutique Firm), Boutique Firm of the Year, Business Advisory Firm of the Year, Diversified Firm of the Year, Firm of the Year, SMSF Firm of the Year
“We like to focus on the future of our client’s business instead of looking at a reactionary approach. Our team of accountants work around the clock to deliver great results for our family of clientele.
We are proud of the fact that we can offer our clients a one stop shop. Where we do not specialise in an area we have aligned ourselves with strategic partners who we believe are the best around. This allows us to be able to provide specialist services that are outside the scope of our firm’s capabilities. Our business is our clients and their success.”
Mel Power – Founding Revolutionist, The Revolutionary Firm
Nominated for: Thought Leader of the Year
“We have a strong curriculum map that we step our program members along, and there are many touch points along this journey, with the 1:1 mentoring where we really get to setup goals and then also measure how our "Revolutionaries" are tracking toward the goal they set. Our content is also regularly updated to ensure relevance to an industry in flux. But the key to keeping the standards of the program high is personal connection.”
Michelle Saunders – Managing Director, Cooper Partners
Nominated for: Boutique Firm of the Year, Partner of the Year, Professional Development Program of the Year
“Our service stands out, simply, by being the best. By consistently providing exceptional professional services for our clients, our reputation among the business community distinguishes us from our competition, regardless of their size. Most of our new clients are referred from existing clients or affiliations who have come to realise through their own experiences that our firm delivers exceptional taxation advice to complex issues faced by business owners. We seek to provide strategic and pragmatic tax advice to a niche market seeking specialised tax services.”
Katrina Svancar – Assistant to Managing Director, businessDEPOT
Nominated for: Diversified Firm of the Year, Marketing Program of the Year, Office Administrator of the Year
“At the end of the day, clients want customised advice for their particular situation. So for them, we need to know their business situation and their personal affairs. No one wants a cookie cutter approach to solving a problem in their business. So we always look to customise a solution to their situation which goes back to the ‘You don’t know what you don’t know’ statement saying that if we don’t know the answer, we will not pretend to know the answer to it, we will always pass you on to the right person.”
Tyler Wise – Director, Wise Accounting
Nominated for: Innovator of the Year, Partner of the Year, Thought Leader of the Year
Rather than perhaps looking to offer advice, or waiting for our turn talk, we practise listening. “Hearing what the client wants, needs, the challenges they face and their strengths and weaknesses. Once we have all of this information we are then able to offer complete, actionable and real advice for our clients. By having an ongoing two way relationship with our clients we can assist them in meaningful ways.”
Janina Puttick – Owner and Principal, Maximum Business Solutions
Nominated for: Bookkeeping Firm of the Year
“The Maximum difference is our people – just ask our clients! Gone are the days of quiet bookkeepers you drop your receipts off to and only speak with at BAS time. Our friendly staff are integrated within our clients’ businesses, providing the experience, guidance and knowledge they require on their finances, all year round. We ensure our staff are always visible, approachable and providing a human side to an industry that can often be lost in a world of technology and automation.”
Jessica Rachow – Director, Beaccounted
Nominated for: Young Accountant of the Year
“When you are passionate about wanting the best for your clients, a high standard is not difficult to retain. We also ensure we stay current with technologies and regulations. Having a supportive network of professionals to bounce ideas off across a range of professional industries is also important for a well-rounded approach.”
Caitie Copley – Chief Financial Officer, Accodex
Nominated for: Rising Star of the Year
“I believe in the importance of asking for feedback, and taking on it when it is given. I’m lucky that I work with, and am surrounded by, colleagues and Accodex partners who are so supportive and want you to get the best out of yourself. The feedback is always given in a way that is constructive and beneficial to your growth as a person. I readily take on the feedback that is given to me and implement it as soon as possible.”
Lielette Calleja - Director at All That Counts
Nominated for: Bookkeeping Executive of the Year and Thought Leader of the Year
"Identifying gaps and roadblocks for business owners is one of our strengths. We look for opportunities where we can improve the overall productivity and profit of a business. Self-education is our key. Never stop learning as we are the trusted conduit to business and when it comes to providing real value for clients it is important to take time to understand their pain points and deliver on those."
Best of luck to all the nominees (particularly our Receipt Bank Partners), we can't wait to find out the lucky winners!