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.

Under the spotlight with Scott Parham, Accountant

Today, we sit down with Scott Parham, one of our highly qualified and experienced Accountants to learn what being a Chartered Accountant means to him and to see what advice he has for anyone thinking of going into small business in today's world.

  1. What does it mean to you to be a Chartered Accountant?

What CA means to me, is a partnership with one of the world’s leading education providers in accounting. Through this partnership, there will be a need for continuous learning and development in order achieve and maintain the high expectations set by Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand [CAANZ]. I feel this will equip me with the skills and knowledge needed to tackle the problems faced in business today.

  1. Can you please explain what your role is at McPhails and the best thing about it.

My role at McPhails is to prepare and assist partners and managers with the preparation of self-managed superfunds, business accounts and tax consulting. The best part of my role is that I get to work with a wide array of clients from different fields of business.

  1. What's one piece of advice you would give to someone who is starting out in business today?

My advice would be to embrace technology. With the evolution of computer software, this has created many programs that will assist any business owner in ensuring that their business is running at its greatest efficiency. One example of this is an accounting software provider Xero. They have created a user friendly accounting and bookkeeping software that is aimed at providing real time information, through the use of features such as bank data feeds and being a ‘cloud’ based software.

  1. If we came to dinner at your house tonight who would cook and what would we eat?

If you were to come to my house for dinner, both Hannah (my partner) and I would be delighted to be making you a seafood curry laksa. This dish we both love to make as we overload it with prawns and mussels.

  1. What am I known for by the team at McPhails

I am a ‘foodie’. A way I like to start my weekend is by going to a nice café and have a relaxing brunch. My favourite orders are usually a brekkie board or smashed avocado with eggs (could be a reason I don’t own my house).

  1. How would you describe the work that you all do for your clients?

I would describe the work we do at McPhails as a quality service and value adding to the client. This is achieved by the attention to detail and effective communication management required by all staff members. This ensures that the work produced is accurate and available to clients in a timely manner in order to assist in making more informed business decisions.

Thanks, Scott and congratulations on your recent educational accomplishment.

5 Ways to Build a Team of Leaders (While Saving Yourself Some Work)

When putting together a group of individuals to work together on a project, it can seem easy to simply delegate all that you have to do to other people. What this doesn't do, however, is set up anyone else on staff to lead after the leader's departure.

The lack of initiative that comes with passivity may actually be crippling to an organization, especially one striving to grow in multiple, independent departments. Here, then, are 5 great ways to build a team of leaders from within, while encouraging your best employees to move up the ranks themselves.

1. Promote cross-departmental teamwork

Do away with departmental boundaries by creating teams able to work in multiple fields to make the most of your employees' skill sets. When you create these groups, place certain people into leadership-like positions in order to promote their project management capabilities in smaller settings.

2. Give others authority

Letting employees make decisions, rather than simply dismissing them when offered, is actually a great way for people to begin tapping into their problem solving and analytical skills early on, practices that may serve particularly useful when transitioning into leadership roles.

3. Tell your staff about your process

One of the most intriguing parts of leadership is the mystery around it. Few people who aren't leaders actually know how important decisions get made, where the company is planning on going, and how products get decided from start to finish. Being free and transparent with your information shows employees the steps they'll have to take when they try to step in as leaders rather than leaving them blind.

4. Express your passion

When people training to become leaders see how much you care about a team, project, or organization, they're much more inclined to be passionate about the same things--especially if that means maintaining structure and efficient maintenance when they take on leadership.

5. Be clear about responsibilities

Setting clear roles for each person, as well as the tasks they're expected to do, aids in helping future leaders set those exact same roles. In some cases, it may even help them learn how to create new ones, a sometimes necessary step that accompanies a company's growth.

Article written by Peter Economy, The Leadership Guy

Understanding Angel Investing with Russell Stocker

1. What is angel investing?
Angel investing occurs at the start-up phase of a company usually well before revenues are achieved. The investment is considered to be high risk, and Angels probably have the biggest appetite for risk compared to other sources of capital. Industry statistics indicate that one in every ten businesses that are pitched at this stage are considered investible. Ultimately of the investible companies only approx. 30% will deliver a return to the angel investor. Typically Angels will invest in tech start-ups because if they are successful, they can be globally scaled and provide high returns. An Angel investment is made on the basis the investors will exit within a 5-7 year timeframe. Typically Angel Investors have been successful entrepreneurs themselves or have worked for multinational companies and can assist the company with support and advice.

I am a member of Melbourne Angels, and we invest as a syndicate.

2. How do you know if an idea/concept is a good one or not?
It is always difficult to predict because you never really know until its commercialised and tests the market. That can be several years after the initial investment is made. But usually, the starting point is to understand what problem is the entrepreneur trying to solve and how unique is the solution. Other important factors are the size of the potential market and how easily/quickly the business can be scaled.

3. How important is the people factor when you are considering putting together an investment portfolio? Meaning, how important is it to have the right people developing the idea?
At the stage, Angel Investors invest there is usually very little in the way of assets(either tangible or intangible), and often the company is pre-revenue. So the reality is that you are literally investing in the entrepreneur and his/her ability to make it all happen. It's the first prerequisite in deciding to invest. Without a capable, determined entrepreneur/founder the chances of the company being successful are minimal.

4. What type of industries typically seek angel investing and why is that?
Typically we invest in the various tech sectors. Right now we see a lot of entrepreneurs pitching to us from BioMedical (a lot of preventative disease solutions), Online Commerce Platforms(e.g., Uber, Airbnb, etc.) and Renewable Energy solutions. Angel Investors have an appetite to invest in these new sectors because the market opportunities and returns are potentially huge and offset the investment risks.

5. How long can it take investors to see a return on the investment and why?
A minimum of five years and more often than not the companies will fail. As mentioned above we are investing at a very early stage, and often the products are still to be developed let alone launched on the market. Angel Investors get their return when the business is either acquired by a strategic investor(e.g., large Multinationals) or in some cases listed on the stock exchange. You need a lot of patience to be an Angel Investor.

6. Why would a business seek angel investing compared to other more traditional financial service providers?
Traditional financial service providers will simply not loan to companies at this early stage. Early stage companies usually have insufficient fixed assets so have little capacity to provide security.

7. What is the future of angel investing?
Wherever there is a vibrant startup ecosystem, there will always be a need for Angel Investors. One of the keys is for a government to provide a stable policy framework that encourages entrepreneurs and investors to take the necessary risks. That can be in the form of tax breaks and/or grants. It hasn't always been there, but the Federal Government have become more supportive in recent times. Angel investors are becoming more important because other forms of early stage investment such as Venture Capitalists are becoming more and more risk averse.

8. You’ve spent years working between China and Australia, how different are the Chinese to deal with on a professional level?
There are a couple of fundamental differences, but as time goes on and China becomes more and more exposed to the rest of the world, the differences are narrowing. The two things that still distinguish Western and Chinese business habits; (i) in China you normally have to build a relationship first before you can do business and (ii) Chinese will often interpret a written contract as an expression of all that can go wrong and therefore builds distrust between the parties.

9. What’s the best idea/concept that you have seen that has worked?
There are some remarkable solutions being developed at the moment that work on the early detection of insidious diseases and conditions. At Melbourne Angels we have been presented with working solutions to detect the early onset of Osteoporosis, Diabetes and Epileptic fits among them. The various entrepreneurs are working on all the necessary approvals and trials and if successful not only will they become commercial successes but will benefit many many people from avoiding unnecessary suffering.

10. What three words would you use to describe the team at McPhail and Partners?
Reliable, Dependable, Collaborative

Russell Stocker is a valued client at McPhail and Partners, and we would like to thank him for sharing his insights and knowledge with us all. Thank you, Russell.

7 Event Organising Mistakes to Avoid plus more from Jade McKenzie

Jade McKenzie runs a wonderful business. She can help you with your next professional event, inspire you and your team to greatness through to helping you understand how you can be remarkable. As a valued client of McPhail & Partners, we sat down with Jade to learn a bit more about the amazing work she does. Thank you, Jade, for sharing some of your wisdom!

1. What are the seven common mistakes that businesses make when organising a corporate/community event?

1. Not planning in advance – don’t leave everything to the last minute and spread everything out over a minimum of 8 weeks.

2. Not understanding what outcomes you want for your organisation – this will dictate your whole event and give you the best possible chance of achieving them.

3. Not understanding what your attendees want – get this right, and they will be loyal for life

4. Not promoting the event enough – even though you think you have talked about it non-stop, there are still people who haven’t seen it who would love to come

5. Over delivering when it’s not necessary – don’t do gift bags or pack in 15 speakers just because you think that’s how to give value. If it’s not purposeful, don’t include it.

6. Not getting assistance on the day – this is a must, even if you have to bring your partner, mother or best friend to help out! Don’t do it alone.

7. Not seeking professional advice when you need to – if you have blind spots, find the resources you need to ensure that you are not wasting time, energy or money on something that could be solved quickly and easily

2. What are your favourite motivational words that inspire you?

I didn’t come this far to only come this far.

3. How do you remain at the top of your game?

By asking for help when I need it. I never did that before I had a business, but once I had my baby and things got overwhelming, I knew that I had to start asking for help. Once I did, I’ve never looked back, and now I have a team of 6 contractors who help with various tasks.

4. What is the best piece of advice you have been given?

You can be successful being yourself. I never thought I fit in anywhere while I was working as an employee because I was so headstrong and always on the move, but it turns out that was a strength. You can follow your passions while being authentically you in business.

5. Biggest regret in business?

That’s easy – I don’t have any! Good or bad, everything in business is something that you can take, learn from and grow stronger with.

6. What changes do you envisage will occur in business due to our ever changing digital world?

With the way business is going, more and more of our interaction is done online.

This is truly an amazing thing as it means we can reach out and work with more than just a finite number of people in our local area, we can help thousands of people all over the world without leaving the office. Incredible!

In the future, more and more services, educational courses, masterminds, coaching and virtual learning will be done over a screen. And this is something that makes in-person events even more tangible and exciting.

Online business gives us the unlimited potential to find those who need us and foster a relationship with them, and in turn, in person events allow us to bring that relationship offline in all different parts of the world.

This means borderless learning, connection and interactivity and even more opportunities to build a global business with ease.

7. How would you describe McPhail & Partners to others?

McPhail’s is my all-time favourite accounting and financial services firm. They help solo business owners like me take care of all of our tax and accounting needs with ease.

You can check out more of Jade's work here.

Aged Care Services – Consumer Directed Care

More than 1.3 million Australians receive some form of Commonwealth subsidised aged care. Around 300 thousand people are in residential aged care (a nursing home) while more than 1 million people receive a subsidised aged care package in their own home setting.

A major change was made to the provision of Home Care Packages in February 2017. Consumer Directed Care (CDC) was introduced giving consumers greater flexibility with home care packages and more choice about the service provider that delivers the care to them. The transition to CDC has largely been successful. The consumer has been placed into the driver’s seat in making choices about the types of care and services that they wish to access.

But with this increase in consumer control, it is now even more important to have independent advice before deciding on which aged care provider to choose, to understand the quality of care services provided and the costs to you to receive those services.
Liz and Ron Carroll established Aged Care Connect in 2002 to help families navigate through the maze of local aged care services and providers and to understand and negotiate the aged care fees and charges.

McPhails asked Liz and Ron to follow up on their “In the Loop” article in March 2016 and to share their thoughts about the latest CDC changes and the effect that they are having on the aged care consumer.

Home Care Packages

A Home Care Package subsidised by the Commonwealth assists the person who wishes to remain in their own home, whether it’s the family home, an apartment, a retirement community, a granny flat, a boarding house or many other accommodation arrangements.

There are four levels of Home Care Package:

  • Level 1 – to support people with simple care needs.
  • Level 2 – to support people with low level care needs.
  • Level 3 – to support people with intermediate care needs.
  • Level 4 – to support people with high care needs.

While the Commonwealth’s “My Aged Care” service will assess, prioritise, and assign the home care packages – the major change from 27 February 2017 sees Commonwealth funding directly provided to the care recipient in the form of a budget, instead of a subsidy to the aged care provider.

The care recipient can now choose their preferred home care provider and can transfer to different providers at any time – the home care package is transportable nationally. Unfortunately, some providers charge an exit fee to consumers if they wish to use another service provider, the exit fee can be as high as $600.

Once the Home Care Package has been assigned, the consumer has 56 days in which to find a home care provider and sign a Home Care agreement. An extension of up to 28 days is possible where the consumer is finding it difficult to identify a provider.

Home Care Package consumers should be aware of the fee structure, especially any administration, case management or potential exit fees before accepting services for a provider.

There are many important items to consider when choosing a home care provider:

  • Suitability of service that they provide to your family needs?
  • Are they able to adapt to your specific care needs as they change?
  • How frequently will they be able to visit?
  • Do they have a reputation for providing quality services?
  • What are the costs and charges for services, including case management, administration, hourly rates, exit fees, etc.?
  • Will they negotiate how much you pay for the Basic Daily Fee?

Residential Care

We expect that the Commonwealth will roll out the Consumer Directed Care model for Residential Care area soon. This will further increase competition between the residential care providers.

We are currently seeing existing residential care providers trying to differentiate themselves by offering new types of services (medical clinics in the aged care home) and many new residential care providers offering non-Commonwealth subsidised accommodation alternatives.

We are also witnessing some residential care providers introducing new fee categories and higher fees for refundable accommodation deposits and extra service fees.

Our take home messages?

  • Planning and research is important to make sure that you are receiving quality aged care services, either home care or residential care, at a reasonable price.
  • Sharing the task with an experienced and independent advisor who can help you make a more informed decision.

Further Information?

If you would like to discuss your family requirements and the local aged care service providers contact the friendly Liz or Ron Carroll at:

Aged Care Connect pty ltd

Ph: 1300 884 850

Mb: 0400 888 381

10 Misused Words That Make Smart People Look Stupid

We’re all tempted to use words that we’re not too familiar with. We throw them around in meetings, e-mails and important documents (such as resumes and client proposals), and they land, like fingernails across a chalkboard, on everyone who has to hear or read them.

No matter how talented you are or what you’ve accomplished, using words incorrectly can change the way people see you and forever cast you in a negative light. You may not think it’s a big deal, but if your language is driving people up the wall, you need to do something about it.

It’s the words that we think we’re using correctly that wreak the most havoc because we don’t even realise how poorly we’re coming across. After all, Talent Smart has tested the emotional intelligence of more than a million people and found that self-awareness is the area where most people score the lowest.

We’re all guilty of this from time to time, us included!

Often, it’s the words we perceive as being more “correct” or sophisticated that catch us by surprise when they don’t really mean what we think they do. These words have a tendency to make even really smart people stumble.

Ironic vs. Coincidental 

A lot of people get this wrong. If you break your leg the day before a ski trip, that’s not ironic -- it’s coincidental (and bad luck).

Ironic has several meanings, all of which include some reversal of what was expected. Verbal irony is when a person says one thing but clearly, means another. Situational irony is when a result is the opposite of what was expected. O. Henry was a master of situational irony. In “The Gift of the Magi,” Jim sells his watch to buy combs for his wife’s hair, and she sells her hair to buy a chain for Jim’s watch. Each character sold something precious to buy a gift for the other, but those gifts were intended for what the other person sold. That is true irony.

If you break your leg the day before a ski trip, that’s coincidental. If you drive up to the mountains to ski, and there was more snow back at your house, that’s ironic.

Affect vs. Effect

To make these words even more confusing than they already are, both can be used as either a noun or a verb.

Let’s start with the verbs. Affect means to influence something or someone; effect means to accomplish something. “Your job was affected by the organisational restructuring” but “These changes will be effected on Monday.”

As a noun, an effect is the result of something: “The sunny weather had a huge effect on sales.” It’s almost always the right choice because the noun affect refers to an emotional state and is rarely used outside of psychological circles: “The patient’s affect was flat.”

Lie vs. Lay

We’re all pretty clear on the lie that means an untruth. It’s the other usage that trips us up. Lie also means to recline: “Why don’t you lie down and rest?” Lay requires an object: “Lay the book on the table.” Lie is something you can do by yourself, but you need an object to lay.

It’s more confusing in the past tense. The past tense of lie is -- you guessed it -- lay: “I lay down for an hour last night.” And the past tense of lay is laid: “I laid the book on the table.”

Accept vs. Except

These two words sound similar but have very different meanings. Accept means to receive something willingly: “His mum accepted his explanation” or “She accepted the gift graciously.” Except signifies exclusion: “I can attend every meeting except the one next week.”

To help you remember, note that both except and exclusion begin with ex.

Bring vs. Take

Bring and take both describe transporting something or someone from one place to another, but the correct usage depends on the speaker’s point of view. Somebody brings something to you, but you take it to somewhere else: “Bring me the mail, then take your shoes to your room.”

Just remember, if the movement is toward you, use bring; if the movement is away from you, use take.

Bringing It All Together

English grammar can be tricky, and, a lot of times, the words that sound right are actually wrong. With words such as those above, you just have to memorize the rules so that when you are about to use them, you’ll catch yourself in the act and know for certain that you’ve written or said the right one.


This article was written by Travis Bradberry and appeared online in the Entrepreneur.

Inspiring business story - William Wang and World Wire Cables

William Wang's story is inspiring. Arriving in Australia with only $60 in his back pocket, he went on to study an MBA and build an extremely successful electrical cable business, without knowing much about cables at that time! He is now called upon to give interviews and speeches to academics, Government and TV stations. Thank you, William for sharing your story with us and we wish you all the best with your upcoming speeches.

1.You were recently interviewed by Shanghai TV station, What was this about?

The TV interview is for a segment called '1st Economy'. It looks at how Chinese overseas have survived, developed their business and mixed with the community. I am part of the third group of Chinese to arrive in Aus. The first was 500 years ago that would pass through Darwin on route to other South East Asian countries; the second was 160 years ago when Chinese came during the gold rush. We were the first group to arrive by plane and not by boat.

2. In June, you will be one of only two Chinese businessmen invited to deliver a speech at Government House, to the leaders of China and Australia as well as international academics. Tell us about this.

I have been asked to speak about my experience as a Chinese Businessman in Australia, about how I have been able to integrate into the community, the challenges I faced when I came to Australia.

3.How did you build up a successful business?

The Chinese Economic Reform resulted in a lot of deregulation & export was encouraged. There was a lot of private investment in manufacturing factories, so our business had access to state of the art technology and was able to develop high-quality cables such as fire grade, mining, and extra high voltage cables which are highly sought after. This combined with the mining boom and favourable commodity prices from 2006-2014 saw our business grow and really succeed.

4.How did you gain access to the high-quality Chinese manufacturers & why cables?

I came to Australia with USD$60, worked three jobs including weekends while doing my MBA in International Trade - Non-Conventional Trade (Barter & Counter trade), and at the same time supporting my wife and child. Non-commercial trade was similar to the 'barter' system. I worked with AWB and traded with countries such as China, and the soviet union. When I first started, it was initially a barter system, then moved to Letter of Credit as China had little US$. Wheat was traded for other commodities such as minerals. I dealt with a lot of machine tools, and when asked by China as to what commodity I would like to trade, I suggested Cables. As a result, I was given access to high-end manufacturers in China.

5. With no experience in cables you would have had some obstacles to overcome, what were some of them?

Cables come on large reels & when I got my first order for 100m, I had no way of unwinding the huge reel of cables that had been shipped from China or measuring the amount to cut. So I built a machine to unwind the cables. I used wood from Bunnings and bicycle wheels (from the bicycle I used to ride to university) and bought a motor to unwind the reel. I then developed an electronic device to attach to the cable to measure it as it was being unwound. (Please see image below).

6.The world is getting smaller, which industries do you believe will shine in years to come?

Infrastructure is the future. A lot of people in China have applied or are on their way to Australia and are looking to invest. Australia's population was 16 million 30 years ago, it is now 24 million which is almost 50% increase, but infrastructure has not grown at same pace. Shanghai has the same population as Australia, but they have 13-15 underground subways, express railways, and highways. Melbourne has yet to see an express railway. Investing in Hospitals - nowadays even private health insurance can result in wait times and shared wards. There is a lot of catch-up opportunity.

7.You are also quite involved in the community, can you tell us more?

I am the honorary president of the Shanghai and Australian Business Association as well as the president of the Chinese Golf Association. I hear Brian McPhail loves his Golf; perhaps you can organise a game!

Click here for more information about World Wire Cables.



How McPhail & Partners and Housing Loan Group can help you

You might not realise it but these two organisations have been associated with each other for many years and have successfully been helping clients with all their business needs. This month we sit down with Wayne Leslie, Managing Director of HLG, to understand more about how these businesses can help you and to hear some views from Wayne - everything from being Prime Minister for a week through to some good practical finance advice.

  1. Housing Loan Group [a Bendigo Bank franchise in Ringwood, Boronia & Bayswater] and McPhail & Partners have had a long association, why is that?

Our mortgage origination and management business (Housing Loans Group - HLG) for the best part of 40 years was a part of the McPhail & Partners Accounting Practice.

In the late 80’s it was agreed that some changes would be made to coincide with many changes in the Banking and Mortgage Industry.

To cut a long story short, HLG could see many benefits to joining Bendigo Bank in terms of helping clients and the community.

Fast forward two years to 1999 and HLG opened the first of its 3 Franchise Branches.  The Ringwood branch started operations in 1999, Boronia soon followed (2001) and Bayswater opened for business in February 2008.

Both Ross and Brian McPhail sit on the Board of Directors (Ross as Chairman and Brian a Non-Executive Director) of the Franchise Companies ensuring the HLG and McPhail & Partners connection continues.

  1. In three words, how would you describe the difference between one of the big four banks and Bendigo bank?

Three words, that’s a little hard.  Let me put it this way.  We (HLG and McPhail & Partners) understand small business and what business needs from their Bank.  We are small business.

  1. When you are out of work, how do you answer the question, “What do you do for work?”

We own and operate a boutique financial services business encompassing an Accounting Practice, a Mortgage Origination and Management business and operating 3 private franchises of Bendigo Bank.

  1. What is the most common misconception about Bendigo Bank?

I feel that it is viewed as a mum and dads bank.  Far from it.  It is the fifth largest bank in Australia and has a product offering that competes very well with the other banks.  The difference is the people.

  1. Wayne, you have been part of the local community for many years, what is one thing people might not know about you?

I have a passion for “making a difference”.  I love country music, especially songs about this great country of ours.  Two of my favourites are John Williamson and Sara Storer.

  1. If you could give one piece of advice to people who have a mortgage, what would it be?

Be disciplined to pay off non-deductible debt (your owner occupied home loan) to enable the spare cash to be productive in building an asset base.  (this is not advice just a general principle I have).

  1. If you could give one piece of advice to people who own a business, with debt, what would it be?

Always consult experts in relation to your business and debt.  Have the phone number of your accountant in your contacts list.

  1. You know the team at McPhail & Partners extremely well, why do you believe clients use their services [and for so many years too!]?

The McPhail & Partners team are well credentialed, expert in their field and have solid values.  Good people is about good business

  1. What do you believe is the future of banking in Australia?

Banking is a changing landscape and the landscape is changing rapidly.  Customers are in control and they expect to be able to access information and advice at a time that suits them.  Mainly this can be done remotely and via an electronic device.    What we (our branches) need to do is to be able to provide an avenue for the customer (when they want to) to seek and obtain advice as to their individual needs.  Our 3 branches are badged “Banking Solution Centres”.  We need to listen, analyse and provide solutions for what the customer needs and when they need it.

  1. If you were Malcolm Turnbull for a week, what would you do?

Facilitate a meeting of all of the political parties to clearly explain that if we don’t look after the budget problems now, we won’t be able to provide what is needed for our children’s children and beyond. We need to learn to live within our means.

We live in the greatest country on earth, let’s keep it that way.

Thank you Wayne for your candid and wonderful answers.



This month's client interview

Why start your own business? What in the world is an app anyway? How do you survive in a competitive market? These are all questions we put to one of our valued clients, Nick Davies, Founder of Spark Digital here in Melbourne. Our thanks to Nick for taking the time to share his knowledge of all things digital.

1. What motivated you to start your own business?

Throughout my studies and early career, I was interested in learning more about business and entrepreneurship. After returning from a 2.5 years working in web roles in the UK and The Netherlands, I had some people contact me that were after someone that could design and build them a website. I started freelancing in early 2004 and continued in my spare time while working full-time. An opportunity came up to partner with some others on a new website for an extensive corporate and Spark Digital was born.

2. Your business designs mobile apps [along with many other things], while we may all use apps many still don’t really understand what they are, can you explain what they are?

Mobile apps are small computer programs or applications that run on mobile phones or tablets and allow people to get information, be social, have fun or perform micro-tasks. If you have an iPhone or Samsung phone chances are you are using mobile apps every day.

3. As a business owner, how do you juggle the many hats you have to wear?

I find it important to prioritise, delegate, and plan ahead.

4. What is the future of websites? How will they evolve over the next 5 - 10 years?

Over the past four years, websites have become cleaner, more simplified, and straight to the point. The average visitor only spends 1-3 minutes on a businesses website, so you have to establish clarity around your offering, credibility and a call to action fast. 5-10 years is a long time on the web considering devices such as Apple’s iPad are only six years old and the iPhone 10 years old. In the next 5-10 years, I expect to see advances in wearable augmented reality devices, as well as in-car displays that will make businesses re-think how their website can interact with potential customers. For example, voice-driven websites may become more prevalent.

5. Many industries find themselves competing with overseas providers, how do you feel about that competition?

While remote providers can work in some circumstances, for us we find meeting our clients face-to-face and building relationships, along with being able to work collaboratively with our team in the same office is the most effective way of ensuring a great result.

6. You deal with clients every day, what makes a good one?!

A great brief and vision; a willingness to work with experts, however also in a collaborative manner for the best possible result.

7. You work with a cross section of businesses, how do you think small businesses can stand out in today’s crowded markets?

Be clear on what you do, or work with professionals to help you articulate that. Highlight your credibility, and have clear next steps to take with your business.

8. What has been the best piece of advice someone has given you along the way?

There has been a lot of advice along the way! Under promise and over deliver is a great piece of advice we have taken in recent years.

9. Someone gives you $200 to invest, what would you do?

I would invest in further learning - perhaps your greatest asset is yourself, or building assets in the business.

10. In three words how would you describe the team at McPhail & Partners?

Supportive, available, reliable.


Thanks Nick. If you would like to check out Nick and his team's work, please feel free to head over to their website by clicking here. Spark Logo BLUE_OL

Telephone: 03 9898 9221
Fax: 03 9898 0584


Suite 12, 602 Whitehorse Road
Mitcham VIC 3132

PO Box 40
Mitcham VIC 3132

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