Date posted: 16/11/2020 3 min read

Episode 5: Talia Anderson-Town on finding a silver lining in a crisis

Talia Anderson-Town CA, Partner at Silks Audit Whanganui, talks to Chartered Accountants Australia & New Zealand Regional Manager, Mike O’Leary, about how her firm responded to the COVID-19 pandemic by fast-tracking a move to paperless operations.

In brief

  • Digital transformation was on the wishlist for Silks Audit, but became a priority in 2020
  • Previous work they’d done to make sure they could operate flexibly made a hugely positive difference to their success
  • Problem solving is now a skill across the business

When COVID hit and NZ went into full lockdown, business changed forever. While the effects of this global pandemic are still rolling out, one thing we know for sure is that many of the old ways of working no longer apply. So how are Chartered Accountants navigating the crisis, pivoting their approach and manifesting plans for recovery?

Talia Anderson-Town CA, Partner at Silks Audit Whanganui, met the challenge head on with a plan for transformational change within the business: create a more efficient and effective workplace by making their operation paperless.

Like many businesses, this digital transformation initiative had been on the firm's 'wishlist', but COVID-19 made it a priority. In the end, it only took seven days to make the dream a reality.

"We learned a lot from COVID and we learned a lot from the lockdown. We learned how to do things more efficiently. We learned to use technology more. We learned to open our minds to potential opportunities."
Talia Anderson-Town CA, Partner at Silks Audit Whanganui NZ.

Taking a flexible approach to solving problems was a focus right across the business. The ability to work remotely meant Silks Audit's staff were set up to quickly respond to new working conditions, both technically and psychologically.

"We had minimal time to prepare, but we always had a contingency plan, which is, we always have the ability to work remotely," says Anderson-Town.

"Our staff learned to work remotely and they learned to become problem solvers."

Find out how Silks Audit transformed their business before and during lockdown to ensure they'd make it to the other side.

"The management and staff at all levels just rose to the challenge. I think, as leaders, what we needed to do was make some fast decisions and create a level of certainty where really there was none, and then empower the staff to get on and do their things."

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