Date posted: 4/09/2019 3 min read

Client focus the secret to winning awards

Chartered Accountants come out winners at annual MYOB awards as the profession faces significant change

In brief

  • Awards recognise achievements of accountants, bookkeepers, certified consultants
  • CAs reveal the secret behind their success
  • Word-of-mouth the way to win more clients

Being honest and approachable and having good relationships with clients is part of the success of Atkins & Associates – and possibly also of Mike Atkins ACA winning the MYOB award of Accountant of the Year for New Zealand.

The MYOB 2019 Partner Awards celebrate MYOB-affiliate individuals, practices and partners across Australia and New Zealand.

His business also won the overall award of New Zealand Accounting Practice of the Year.

Mike Atkins ACA (right) with Tim Reed, CEO of MYOB

Mike is very proud of the awards but says even his individual accolade is a reflection of the team as a whole. And a small team it is, with two accountants and four staff. Based in Feilding, located two hours' drive north of Wellington, the firm was launched by his father Stuart in 1987 and Mike has been working with him for 13 years.

Despite the small number of employees, in the past two years the business has grown by 30 per cent to 1250 clients. Mike has been able to manage this increase with the help of  MYOB business software.

The annual MYOB awards recognise the success and achievements of bookkeepers, accountants and certified consultants. "They're great awards to win and hugely appreciated," says Mike. "But they're really for our team."

Much of Atkins & Associates' business comes from word-of-mouth and winning the MYOB awards may increase this potential. "If clients are happy with the job we do for them, their word of mouth is the best form of advertising," Mike says.

Shaun Borg CA, the winner of the Young Accountant of the Year for Australia, sees the accolade as a validation of what he has been doing since starting at Mead Partners in Melbourne in 2008. "It's a little pat on the back," he says.

He became a Chartered Accountant in 2012 and has been a partner for two years. His favourite part of the business is building relationships with clients.

The firm has two arms: accounting and bookkeeping. The other accounting partner, John Pititto CA, put Shaun's name forward for the award, which is for accountants under the age of 35. "I think John nominated me for a willingness to adapt and to listen."

"Winning this award will probably shine more of a spotlight on us. Our emphasis is the client first and our focus is on their needs."

Mead Partners' clients are mainly smaller businesses with a turnover of A$1 million to A$6 million. Two years ago, the firm introduced six-monthly fixed fees for new and older, bigger clients. "It encourages people to call us because they know they will not be charged more," Shaun says.

"We were selective in testing the model because the arrangement doesn't work for all clients, but it has been standard in some bigger firms for some time."

Shaun says he is passionate about accounting and looking forward to the many developments still to come. "The industry is changing significantly, largely because of technology. We were early adopters of MYOB software and have embraced technology to provide better client services. We're doing things now that we wouldn't have dreamt of doing four years ago."

Chartered Accountants and CA firms also featured strongly in the 2019 Xero Awards which recognise excellence among the business and accounting software company's accounting, bookkeeping and ecosystem partners.

The awards' night, held in Wellington on 22 August, featured awards from eight categories including a new one – NZ People's Choice Award where all the nominations came from small businesses.

CAs to fore in Xero Awards

CA firms feature strongly in the latest Xero Awards that highlight the strength and talent within the accounting industry.

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