Our goals and our progress so far!

At the beginning of the year we shared what our individual goals were because when we meet with you, we ask you what your goals and aspirations are so we thought it only fair to share ours too! With the EOFY soon approaching many of us take the time to reflect and measure our progress against our set goals. In this article, we do just that! We're keeping ourselves accountable. You can see below what each of our goals was and how we are progressing. As you scroll down you'll see some great achievements and a few excuses [stumbling blocks!] but what's important to note is that we are sharing our goals and research shows that by writing our goals down and sharing them means we increase our chance of achieving them.

Brian McPhail

Catching up more with friends by arranging lunches every fortnight together.
Visiting our daughter in Oxford in July.
Help organise the volunteers for the Presidents Cup Golf in December.

Update - I have not been able to catch up with friends as planned as I have had multiple priorities at work. Have booked the flights in July to visit my daughter and I am in the process of organising the volunteers for the Presidents Cup.

Wayne Durdin

To declutter.
Having recently moved (downsized) I now have boxes of things that I have not seen or used in years & need to decide what to keep, what to donate & what to throw out by April 2019.

Update -I have effectively achieved my goal. I do still have a few “family” items that need sorting & which are out of my control, otherwise, I believe I have achieved my goal.

Matthew Drew

To turn back the clock and run another half marathon by following a 12-week running plan by March 2019.

Update - My training was going well, however, I found my progress was moving slower than I had expected.  I had to reassess my strategy to focus on general health and fitness first to enable me to meet my goal which meant a change in my timeframe.  Unfortunately, a burst appendix put an end to the training for the time being however the goal is still to achieve a half marathon by the end of the year.

Andrew Beltramello

Build a deck in the backyard by July 2019.

Update - Unfortunately I will have to reassess my goal and postpone the building of a deck until next year.

Rebecca Rosario

Increasing the days I volunteer to two days a week next year.
Recommence dance classes once a week.
Connect more with relatives by catching up with them at least once a month.

Update - I volunteer almost regularly twice a week - I am on a team for Alpha which runs for 11 weeks and I do my current volunteer work at Careline once a fortnight. Also in April, I joined the Brotherhood of St Lawrence where I do occasional volunteer work as an urban camp leader. Re-commenced dance classes in May 2019. Have not had a chance to achieve my goal and connect more with the family will focus on it in the next 6 months.

Monika Murti

Design and renovate the laundry area by June 2019.

Update - We have ripped out old cabinets and sink area. We had a plumber come in and reallocate taps and plumbing. We have booked in the plastering to waterproof the walls. Next step is to get a cabinet maker to fit out the laundry.

Stephen Howard

Travel to Italy by July 2019 and win a cricket premiership by March 2019.

Update - We didn’t manage to win a cricket premiership but was selected in my club’s team of the year. Italy trip postponed until 2020.

Lewis Morgan

My 2019 goals are to increase my knowledge surrounding accounting topics and improve my efficiency and accuracy when completing tasks at work.

Update - Since I wrote my last goal I feel that I’ve made great progress in my knowledge, efficiency, as well as accuracy, but I still have a long way to go. I would like to thank the managers and partners for supporting me throughout my time here so I can continue to improve.

Prisca Languila

By saving $200 every fortnight and go back to Mauritius by December 2019.

Update - My savings are on track for the trip in December and have started looking at flights to find the best dates for travel.

Louise Davey

Travel to New Zealand by July 2019.

Update - I have successfully achieved my goal by travelling to the North Islands of New Zealand between ( 19th – 29th of April).

Chathu DeSilva

To get ripped 6 pack abs by September 2019 by exercising at least 4 times a week and by eating healthy at least 5 days a week.

Update - Although I have not achieved my goal yet, progressing towards the goal I have set has made me feel more fit and healthy. I have been going to the gym at least 4 times a week and eating healthy at least 5 days week.

Goals don't need to be complicated, but they do need to be written down, shared and worked towards otherwise they are just a dream!

Do you have a new goal that we don't know about yet that we can help you achieve? Perhaps you know someone who could benefit from our advice and support? Please feel free to contact us.

Secret productivity business

Productivity is more than just doing more with the time you have. Unless what you produce is linked to what you are trying to achieve, doing more in your allotted time frame risks using up your energy on irrelevant activity.

If you’re going to be busy, be busy with a purpose.


Defining your purpose makes productivity relevant and easy. Define your daily purpose (what gets you out of bed each day?) and your long-term purpose (what is the big picture that you are working towards?). Break your purpose down into concrete goals, then into specific action steps. If you do it this way, your everyday actions become filled with meaning, energy and direction.

Here’s another way to look at purpose. What is your “product” purpose and what is your “process” purpose? A product purpose includes the concrete, tangible results you are creating, such as goods and services. Process purposes are intangibles, such as bringing enjoyment, satisfaction, kindness and enthusiasm to the people you encounter. If you wake up every day with this kind of process purpose, you can achieve it every day.

Make sure your big picture is high enough up the chain. For example, you may think that your one business idea is your big picture. Dig a little deeper, and you might discover that it’s financial security for your family. This a helpful because it means that if your one business idea fails to deliver, your big picture is not smashed. It just needs different brush strokes. An incidental benefit of this method is that you can relax a little: you can keep your commitment to your big picture, but you don’t have to hold on for grim death to one method of achieving your goal.

High Participation / Low Attachment

I constantly use the Participation/Attachment model. It’s useful when you want to play big without the stress of all-or-nothing thinking. There are four quadrants in this model. I’ll use an analogy to explain it.

  1. You are watching a football match from the sidelines and you don’t care who wins. This is Low Participation (you are not playing) and Low Attachment (you don’t care about the outcome).
    2. You are a spectator, but you have a $10,000 bet on the outcome. This is Low Participation (you have no influence over the game) and High Attachment (you really care about the outcome).
    3. You are playing on the team, and your entire football career depends on the outcome of this one game. This is High Participation and High Attachment.

This leaves the High Participation/Low Attachment quadrant, which is where you want to play and work. Give your one business idea your best shot but let go of the outcome. There are plenty of ways to achieve your big picture purpose, and you can enjoy your daily process purpose along the way.

Once you’ve got your purpose(s) sorted, keep it simple. Get your priorities straight, then label items on your “to-do” list with A or B. A’s must get done today. B’s get done if time allows. Some B’s that miss out today will become A’s tomorrow.

Getting frustrated when things go wrong or don’t happen in your preferred time frame can be a sign that you are playing the wrong quadrant. Impatience and frustration will not make you more productive. In fact, they can slow you down and impact your judgement. Not to mention your relationships with coworkers, staff and family members.

Keep your eyes on the prize, but slow down and enjoy the journey. Otherwise, what’s the point? After all, if you lose the “game” you’re in, there are always other games, other teams, other sports.

This article was written by Les Watson, The Time Lord.






How can I protect my business in the event of my death?

We believe that protecting you and your business is important which is why we would like to share this article with you. This article was written by Dr Linsday Stoddart.

While it may be a morbid thought, it is important to be prepared for the inevitable. You may have prepared to take care of your family in the event of your death, but what will happen to your small business? If you fail to plan, however, something you spent years building could easily disappear.

What steps and which documents you should have in place will depend on the legal structure of your business. You should also be mindful of three things:

  • Your business succession plan should coordinate closely with your personal estate plan;
  • You must keep both of them up-to-date in order to reflect changes in business, life and law; and
  • This is not a do-it-yourself project. Get some professional help.

Are you doing business as a sole director and shareholder?

The Corporations Act 2001 provides that in the event of the death of a single member and director of a proprietary company, the executor or other personal representative appointed to administer the deceased’s estate may appoint a new director to the company. The director will then have all of the powers, rights, and duties of the deceased director and can keep the company running. Once the company shares are transferred to the deceased’s beneficiaries, they can appoint a new director.

If there is no will, the court may grant Letters of Administration to a family member. That person may then appoint a director, but the risk of delay is substantial and may itself damage an ongoing business. At worst, the company may be deregistered or wound up.

In this situation, the most important document that you must have in place is a valid will that appoints an executor. Supplemental guidance to an executor about the appointment of a director may also be useful.

Are you doing business as a partnership?

Many businesses that begin as sole enterprises eventually become partnerships as the organisation’s need for capital grows. Hopefully, this is done in line with the terms of a formal partnership agreement that spells out what would happen on the death or permanent disability of either partner. There are several possible options. Please contact us for more information about your personal situation.


Goals or Resolutions - what's the difference?

2019 has now clicked over, and we're nearly at the end of the first month! So the question is, did you set any new year resolutions? Or perhaps you set yourself or your business some new goals? What's the difference you might ask! Resolution means a firm decision to do or not to do something. Whereas the definition of a goal is the object of a person's ambition or effort; an aim or desired result. Resolutions don't necessarily allow for actions to achieve them; instead, they are more of a statement.

For so many people resolutions are unmet, long-term, vague, or sometimes unrealistic statements, e.g. I just decided that I’m going to join a gym this year. It’s just too hard to maintain our motivation with this type of statement. This diminished enthusiasm is probably one of the main reasons research shows that more than 80% of New Year’s resolutions are broken.

When we speak with clients one of the fundamental things we are trying to discover is what your goals are not your new year resolutions! By understanding what your goals are in life, business and/or retirement we can start to create a tailored plan to help you achieve those goals.

The word goal has more of a sense of being a specific target that is realistically achievable within a defined amount of time. A goal requires action! A goal, by definition, requires a conscious intention to do something. Sometimes goals can be achieved alone, but most of the time they need some help, planning and advice on the best way to achieve them.

We know that for goals to be achieved they need to have some action steps, be measurable, attractive [otherwise we won't be motivated to achieve them!], specific and have a deadline attached to them.

Every day we ask clients what their goals are; what it is that they want to achieve so we thought we'd share some of our goals with you; goals that you can keep us accountable for! We know that one of the secrets to success in achieving your goals is to share them, so here goes!

Brian McPhail
Catching up more with friends by arranging lunches every fortnight together.
Visiting our daughter in Oxford in July.
Help organise the volunteers for the Presidents Cup Golf in December.

Wayne Durdin
To declutter.
Having recently moved (downsized) I now have boxes of things that I have not seen or used in years & need to decide what to keep, what to donate & what to throw out by April 2019.

Matthew Drew
To turn back the clock and run another half marathon by following a 12-week running plan by March 2019.

Andrew Beltramello
Build a deck in the backyard by July 2019.

Rebecca Rosario
Increasing the days I volunteer to two days a week next year.
Recommence dance classes once a week.
Connect more with relatives by catching up with them at least once a month.

Monika Murti
Design and renovate the laundry area by June 2019.

Stephen Howard
Travel to Italy by July 2019 and win a cricket premiership by March 2019.

Lewis Morgan
My 2019 goals are to increase my knowledge surrounding accounting topics and improve my efficiency and accuracy when completing tasks at work.

Prisca Languila
By saving $200 every fortnight and go back to Mauritius by December 2019.

Louise Davey
Travel to New Zealand by July 2019.

Chathu DeSilva
To get ripped 6 pack abs by September 2019 by exercising at least 4 times a week and by eating healthy at least 5 days a week.

As you can see our goals are very personal to each of us, but there is definitely a common theme or two!

Goals don't need to be complicated, but they do need to be written down, shared and worked towards otherwise they are just a dream!

Do you have a new goal that we don't know about yet that we can help you achieve? Perhaps you know someone who could benefit from our advice and support? Please feel free to contact us.

How to successfully work with family by John Anderson

Working alongside your Father could send some people into a nervous spin but for John Anderson, Advisor, Bell Potter Securities, it is an ideal work situation.

This month we sat down with John, which given he’s just had his first child was an amazing achievement in itself, to learn how he’s managed to work with his Father, Stuart, and what success in business looks like for him. Thank you, John.

  1. John, you work with your Father in the business, that is such a beautiful thing however not everyone could work with a family member. How do you make it work?

Yes, it would appear on the outside that it should or could be somewhat challenging to work together, however, Stuart, and I have had a very positive experience. I am 33 years old, and we have always had a solid and close relationship since I was young which may have stemmed from the fact that we were the only two boys in the family. (I have twin sisters, and therefore Dad and I were always outnumbered). We have always had many common interests especially sport and in particular golf.

When it comes to our professional relationship, it has been a fantastic experience. We are very good at communicating with each other and Stuart is an excellent mentor. Stuart has operated in the share market for the past five decades, and I am very open to learning from his experiences.

  1. What piece of advice has your Father given you over the years that still resonates with you today?
  • Professionally – ‘Invest in yourself’, and the best investment you can make is in your abilities. Work hard, and anything you can do to develop your skills (education) or business is highly recommended.
  • Personally – ‘Go Dees’

It is fair to say the first piece of advice has been far more successful although I haven’t given up hope on the Melbourne FC just yet.

  1. Learning from our older generations is one of the best things we can do both personally and professionally; what are the three top things you have learned from your Father about the way in which to do business with others?
  • Honesty/integrity
  • Loyalty
  • Hard Work
  1. Bell Potter is one of Australia’s largest full-service stockbrokers and a leading advice business; when you are out and about, and people ask you, “What do you do?” What do you say?

I outline what our firm does and what we do individually as Stockbrokers. Bell Potter is a member of Bell Financial Group which is a listed company on the ASX. We offer a full range of services to private, corporate and institutional clients and we pride ourselves on the quality of advice we give. We have access to quality research which covers top ASX listed companies and have expanded more recently into international research. We have a variety of ways of managing a client’s account to be most suited to the client. On top of this service, Stuart is also a qualified Chartered Accountant, and I am a qualified Financial Planner combined with a Commerce degree.  So while we operate as Stockbrokers, we can also offer sound, personal financial advice in a number of areas which provide significant benefit to the client.

  1. What keeps you awake at night [other than your newborn baby!] from a work perspective?

I sleep soundly knowing that I have done the best for my client although a volatile share market does, sometimes, make me toss and turn.

  1. Five years from now, what will your business look like?

Our business will be similar to that of today. Clients will still require quality advice, and we will strive to increase our knowledge, services and accessibility to meet their needs.

  1. Attracting and retaining clients is a crucial priority for any business; what strategies have worked for your company?
  • Honesty
  • Hard Work
  • Client Contact - Meeting our clients face to face- I think its fundamental that we meet face to face with clients, whether it be in the office or elsewhere, I believe we should be in a position to give clients our time, given they entrust us with their money
  1. Bell Potter has had a very long and prosperous professional relationship with McPhail & Partners; what is it about the McPhail’s business and the team that Bell Potter has enjoyed the most?

Bell Potter and McPhail’s have compatible cultures, and we find that McPhail’s excel in their professional, personal and caring approach to clients.

  1. How will technology impact your business?

I welcome the advancements in technology into our business, and it can only enhance our client's welfare. Increased quality and speed of knowledge will if handled correctly, improve advice to clients.

Thank you, John and best of luck as a Father yourself!

Business success tips with Peter Sheppard, HFW Australia

HFW is a global law firm with over 500 lawyers worldwide. Matthew Drew, Director, McPhail & Partners, has worked closely with the Australian business for many years. We sat down with their Country Manager, Peter Sheppard to learn the secrets of a successful law firm.


  1. Peter, the Australian office has doubled revenue in the last five years. That is a tremendous achievement, congratulations. What has driven that revenue growth?

We have experienced strong client demands for us to increase our capabilities in our selected six sectors across all our three offices.

To stay in Australia's highly competitive legal market where you compete with not just boutique firms, but also large international players, it is important to offer a strong value proposition and client-focused service.

Over the last five years, we have focused on growing by recruiting and promoting the right talent, rather than focusing on numbers.  This has enabled us to strengthen our offering in our six sectors.

The firm continues to invest in the Australian practice and our plans over the next 3 to 4 years are to have another period of double digit growth.

  1. Finding the right staff to support that type of growth can be a challenge in Australia. What has been HFW’s recruitment strategy?

To identify the best talent available and give them the opportunity to flourish alongside the best practitioners in the sectors we practice in.

  1. As Country Manager, your role is extremely broad, and I’m sure a busy one. What keeps you awake at night?

I never stop thinking about how to make HFW the best legal practice in the world!

I want our people to be proud of who we are and the work that we provide for our clients.  We encourage our staff to challenge themselves – think of creative solutions for our clients.

We want our staff to actively think of new and innovative ways to deliver the best value to our clients.

  1. HFW is a global law firm. How does Australia perform against the other countries regarding innovation and performance?

We definitely punch above our weight! Our Australian practice is agile and always growing, and our leaders are constantly looking for ways to be creative in an ever-changing industry.

We have collaborative discussions with our other offices and work together to find the best solutions for global and local initiatives.

  1. How do you manage the culture in the Australian office so that it supports the global brand but has a local feel?

We have many of our local leaders sitting on various global boards and business initiative groups within the firm, so we understand the firm's strategic objectives from a global perspective and we can adapt this to our local and regional nuances.

  1. More and more businesses are allowing [and in some cases asking] their employees to work from home. How has HFW responded to this shift in work practices?

I am actually responding to you from home today! We are sensitive to people's lifestyles and are responsive to requests for altered work arrangements.

For example, we have a Sydney-lawyer working remotely from Tasmania.

  1. How does HFW ensure that its employees are engaged and motivated every day?

A mentor of mine once said, "you cannot motivate people, but you can create an environment where people can motivate themselves."

By creating a collaborative culture, rewarding people for their efforts, keeping people informed of what is happening around the firm and ensuring people have the resources they need to carry out their work best, we have created that environment.

  1. How is technology changing the legal profession?

Technology is enabling firms to provide a more effective and efficient way of doing business. It enables us to further help our clients solve their business problems.

  1. Ten years from now, how do you think the landscape will look for graduates leaving university?

I would like to think that the landscape for future graduates is bright as firms keep up with client demands which is allowing people to be more creative by exploring new technologies and alternate methods of service delivery.

This could open up a greater variety of opportunities than we have seen historically with your traditionally conservative law firm.

We would like to thank Peter for sharing his thoughts and insights into business success.

To read more about HFW, click here to visit their website.


The Rise of Part-Time Executive Solutions

The way in which we work is fundamentally changing. Have you noticed?

Roles are changing, reporting lines are changing, technology is driving efficiencies; everywhere you look in business today things are changing. In this article Chris Baring-Gould explains the trend towards outsourcing C-Suite [Executive] functions and what that means to businesses and their future.

  1. Why do you think we’ve seen a rise in outsourced part-time resource solutions?

This is a great question.  The answer, I believe, is driven by society’s constant progress towards sophistication in the way we live and work.  The two key drivers are the increasing use of technology and the specialisation of labour.  Technological progress increases productivity, which in simple term means it replaces the mundane, repetitive work that we humans once performed.  As society and work become more sophisticated, we become specialised provider of skills.

As a result, we find businesses can now acquire specialised human skills for a particular time frame. Skills and specialised labour then, become resources in a “just-in-time” economy that operates continuously, hence giving rise to the trend of outsourcing what is “not core to a business”.  The trend in accounting now is towards “continuous accounting”, not a fast end-of-month close in 1 day, but a financial close every day, so that a business can access its financials in real time and instantaneously.

  1. If a business is interested in offering a part-time resource solution what is the best way to work out the pricing?

There is no such thing as a “right price”, as price settles on the demand and supply of a product or service.  However, there are some common-sense guidelines.  Businesses are also prepared to pay a premium for on-demand quality services.  When you combine an on-demand service with something that is of value to your clients, i.e. your point of difference to others, you can price your service at a premium to market.

  1. What is your advice about managing conflicts of interest between clients, for example, working for 2 clients who are competing with one other?

Be upfront and honest with both your clients and tell them that you cannot advise them in certain areas where conflicts of interest arise.   You may even have to consider declining an engagement with one client in order to protect your integrity and avoid all doubt of conflicts of interest.

  1. What are the benefits to businesses of having access to an external business resource, for example, a CFO?

SMEs, in general, cannot afford full-time CFOs until they become large enough and have the activity and complexity to need one. Our experience at the CFO Centre is that SMEs up to $50 million in revenue turnover do not need a full-time CFO.   A part-time CFO makes financial and business sense to SMEs, as they are getting the experience and skills of a finance executive for a fraction of a full-time CFO.  All SMEs have growth ambitions, and at some stage of their journey, business owners want to exit their businesses at valuations that are many multiples of their investments.  Part-time CFOs can help business owners plan and achieve their business and wealth creation ambitions during this time, provided there is sufficient time to implement these plans.

  1. Can a business outgrow their need for an external resource, for example, a CFO?

Yes, it can.  When a business becomes large and complex and requires an executive to exercise a finance leadership role regularly, this is when you know you’ll need a full-time CFO.

  1. What other functions are suitable for a business to outsource?

In professional services, just about anything, from HR, IT, marketing, legal, and yes, even C-suite executives.  The professional outsourcing trend in America is moving towards the 60% of the C-suite workforce.  Work then becomes portfolio and project-based, that is, you service many clients as a portfolio rather than work for one employer.  This gives the business the flexibility to expand and contract its workforce in line with market conditions.

  1. We’ve seen some fundamental changes recently so what's next? 

This is a hot topic that is currently unfolding.  I believe as professional services providers, we’ll need to become more flexible and sensitive to fulfilling the needs of our clients.   I also believe we’ll need to collaborate with other outsourced professions working on the same client project, which can be challenging for project leaders!  Working from home, or really anywhere, will become the norm.

I believe business will evolve to a “hub” and spoke model – core business at the hub, and spokes for non-core support infrastructure.   Think about your smartphone. If you have an Apple or Samsung, the apps on your phone are created by independent app providers to both Apple and Samsung.  This is specialisation at its best.  Apple and Samsung provide the technological platform (their core business) for the apps to work on their phones.  They don’t have to own the apps or the app providers.

  1. What is your advice to a business that is considering looking at an outsourced solution for their needs? What do they need to look for?

Be clear about what your needs are, and what your “pain points are”.  I have experienced many occasions where business owners struggle to articulate their problems, which is not surprising as they are very close to their day-to-day operations.  As a part-time CFO learning about their business, I learn to be a good listener first, before diagnosing their financial or business problems.  I use a diagnostic framework to help me do this so that when a potential client is describing problems, I have a mental picture of what the issues are and where they reside.  Then, we can have a conversation about how to solve the problems, which is often what the clients want to hear!

Thank you to Chris Baring-Gould, Principal, The CFO Centre



Congratulations Michael and Kylie - Chartered Accountants

Completing any further qualification can be a challenge when you are working full time and have other commitments which is why we like to acknowledge and congratulate our team members on their personal and academic achievements.

This month we dedicate to Michael Durdin and Kylie Ngo; both have successfully qualified as Chartered Accountants. As is the tradition at McPhails, we sat down with both of them to hear their thoughts about business and what success looks like.

Thanks, Michael and Kylie and we wish you every success.


Michael Durdin 

1. What does it mean to be a Chartered Accountant?
After years of studying Accounting through University and the CA program, it feels both rewarding and a relief to be able to be a member of such a highly respected institute within the Accounting industry.

2. You work with businesses every day; what would be three tips you would give to someone who is thinking of starting a business?
- Work hard! Starting a business is no easy task, you need to be prepared to put in the work for the reward!
- Don't be afraid to seek advice from professionals in different fields; knowledge is power!
- and always rememeber that your clients are your first priority, because you won't have a business without them!

3. What is a typical day at McPhails for you?
- Helping clients manage their tax affairs, which usually involves preparing Annual Accounts or assisting with any day to day queries they may have, along with supporting younger staff members with any questions they may have.

4. If we came for dinner at your house tonight, what would we eat and who would have cooked it?
- I'm not very handy in the kitchen myself, so if I were to cook I would probably stay outside and cook a BBQ, but the safer (and tastier) option would be getting my wife Chelsey to cook my favourite meal tacos!

5. How do you explain to people when you are out what your role is at McPhails?
My role at McPhail's is to assist the Partners and Managers by preparing Accounts and Tax Returns, usually for Family Groups involving everything from Companies to Trusts to Super Funds.

6. What are you known for at work?
Work aside, I’m known for my hilarious jokes (although some may disagree) and making donut bets!

7. Do you have any more educational goals for the future? Any more study you would like to complete?
- After studying my whole life from the age of 5, I am looking forward to a bit of a break at the moment, but you never know what study opportunities may arise in the future!

IMG_4628 copy

Kylie Ngo

1. What does it mean to be a Chartered Accountant?
It’s great to be internationally recognised. It gives me access to a range of learning resources and exclusive member benefits. Becoming a CA will hopefully provide me with a platform that will assist me to develop my technical expertise in accounting and communicate technical knowledge with other members.

2. You work with businesses every day; what would be three tips you would give to someone who is thinking of starting a business?
- Knowing your customers – research and identify your customers, think of how to maintain loyal customers and how to reach out to new customers
- Thinking of how your business (service/products) is different from other businesses in the market
- What business structure is suitable for your business? Sole Trader/Company/Trust or Partnership. However, you need to keep in mind that as your business grows and changes, you may decide to move to a different type of business structure.

3. What is a typical day at McPhails for you?
A typical day at McPhails is checking emails and responding to any emails from clients first thing in the morning, doing clients’ tax or BAS work, assisting my clients and colleagues if they have any issues.

4. If we came for dinner at your house tonight, what would we eat and who would have cooked it?
If you came over for dinner at my place, I would offer a traditional Vietnamese cuisine, i.e., spring roll, rice paper roll and Vietnamese beef noodle soup. The “head chef” in my house is my Mom, and I would assist her with the cooking.

5. How do you explain to people when you are out what your role is at McPhails?
I am looking after BAS works for our clients at McPhails. I assist clients who do their bookkeeping with recording their financial records using accounting software (e.g., MYOB, Xero). I also do bookkeeping and tax returns for individuals, partnership, Trusts and companies.

6. What are you known for at work?
Quiet, funny. BAS “queen”. Quite Friendly.

7. Do you have any more educational goals for the future? Any more study you would like to complete?
Being a Chartered Accountant provides an opportunity for self-professional development. I haven’t got a specific educational goals for the future at the moment. However, I would like to continue to develop and gain more professional experience while working. In my spare time, I would like to study another language such as Korean and I hope to achieve this in the next five years.

IMG_4630 copy

Congratulations Michael and Kylie.

Business Succession Planning Seminar

The McPhail's team held a successful client seminar this month which we hope will be the first of many such events over the coming years.

Hosted by our new partner Matthew Drew the topic of this event was business succession planning and we explored some of the business, taxation and legal issues to consider when developing an exit strategy.

Matt’s presentation covered a number of issues that Business Owners need to consider during the planning stages such as understanding your business, identifying where your potential successor may come from and setting your timeframe.

Our guest presenter, Andy Shaw of Robinson Gill Lawyers, then covered off on a number of legal items including the importance of documentation.

However, the highlight of the night was a panel discussion chaired by our very own Rebecca Rosario. Consisting of existing clients, Roger Young, Ian Edgar and John & Michael Davies the panel shared their own experiences having all recently been through the business sale process.  The insights provided by each of the panelists was invaluable and we thank them greatly for being part of the evening.

We would welcome the opportunity to assist you with your own succession plan or if you know of anyone that may benefit from our services please do not hesitate to pass on our details.

We hope to host additional client seminars in the New Year to build on the momentum generated from this one and will provide further details as the planning evolves.

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Success tips for all businesses, small or large

Matthew Addison is the Executive Director of the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers and shares his views and experiences with us. Thank you, Matthew, for your insights and excellent tips for all businesses, small or large.

  1. Many small businesses gain new clients through word of mouth, is that similar for Bookkeepers too?

Professional Services succeed and fail on a number of factors including technical competence but also on the perception held by the client or employer as to the integrity and professionalism (the reputation) of the Service Provider.  The reputation leads to positive referrals or leads to a current client indicating to others that they aren’t happy and hence the external vibe about the provider doesn’t engender positive referrals.  This same positive vibe due to reputation applies to all types of business: be it service, product, wholesale or retail.

  1. How are Bookkeepers maintaining their reputations in this very competitive world?

A Bookkeeper maintains their reputation in the first place by performing their work professionally.  To be professional includes timeliness, it means meeting deadlines, it means communicating strongly and appropriately, it means being competent.

Competence in Bookkeeping has a number of aspects:  it is not just about debits and credits and ledgers, in today’s world it is knowing how the software works or should work.  It is knowing how to achieve best practice and efficient processing using the appropriate software solutions.  It is about knowing the GST law that applies to each set of business circumstances, it is about knowing the Payroll laws (PAYG Withholding, Payroll Tax, Fairwork, HR etc.) that apply.

A bookkeepers reputation is enhanced when they show extreme competence in performing their own areas of expertise and also when they call on other experts to fill the gaps.

  1. How does the technical landscape affect Bookkeepers?

Technology is delivering better tools to the bookkeeping process.  Bookkeepers must endeavor to stay up to date with the latest features available in the software they use.  Software providers report regularly how features they have developed in the last few years are taken up by less than 50% of customers.

Bookkeepers should continually challenge their thinking to adopt new processes and new approaches to bookkeeping based on the improving software.  We are in a world where Machine Learning and the connected world of the internet are providing Data to the bookkeeper.  In the past, we would spend most of our time creating the data and normally as a record of what has already happened.  Today we have the software business tools to create the accounting data at the same time as the business activity occurs, if not as part of the business process.  Bookkeepers should be using bank feeds, OCR invoice technology, sending electronic invoices, using electronic timesheets etc. etc.

  1. In your role as Executive Director of the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers, how do you juggle all the priorities you have on at the moment?

The ICB is involved in many aspects of the Business world, the tax world, the education of bookkeepers, the software.  You are correct in observing that it is a juggle of priorities.

We are privileged to have grown to have nearly 4000 members of our ICB bookkeeping community and 20 members of the engaged team able to achieve momentum, influence, and solutions in different areas either on behalf of our community or for our community.

We have committed to regular output on a number of member based services, therefore these take priority.  We then assess what other involvements will most impact our community and what we can have a significant influence upon.

It is a juggle and we mostly get it right

  1. Managing professional relationships is critical to business success and I’m sure you have seen some mistakes made over the years. What in your mind is the best way to manage relationships to ensure everyone gets the best service and outcome?

Unfortunately, it is an easy answer but not always easy to execute.  It is about communication.  People write emails from their perspective.  Emails are black and white and we read them from whatever perspective we are in at the time.  We don’t have the same background information, we don’t have the same emotion or perspective that the writer may have had so as a reader we interpret it differently.  If the Sender and Receiver don’t spend that extra time checking they have correctly interpreted the message to say what it was meant to say, things can spiral out of control very quickly.

  1. What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given over the years about business success?

Spending time with the people is important.  People being:  your own team, your clients, other influencers on your environment.

  1. If you were given $200, what would you do with it?

$200:  team lunch

$2000:  maybe some external marketing

$20,000:  increase some of the teams hours

$200,000 employ a new person and breathe a little more freely


  1. What are three characteristics that you have seen work well in business?

Articulating the vision and ensuring it is what you do.

Spend time with your people and ensure you are on the same page and enjoying doing it.

Identify issues and spend the time fixing and communicating the journey to fix it.
Thank you, Matthew. You can check out The Institute of Certified Bookkeepers by clicking here.