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October 2014

July to September is normally the ‘busy season’ for many accountants. We have had an extra busy season these past several months, for all sorts of reasons… some of which we have outlined below.
 
We also recently celebrated our first anniversary in business. On the morning of 1 August 2013, we launched our practice with no clients, no income, and no existing profile within the region.
 
We did possess, however, the following key attributes:

  • A strong confidence in our abilities, a clear understanding of our strengths, and an honest recognition of the boundaries of our expertise;
  • A clear, modern, carefully constructed and positive brand which, we believe, clearly differentiates us from our peers;
  • An energetic, personable and modern marketing plan which measures outcomes and continually readjusts;
  • A clearly defined target market which aims to ensure the practice’s longevity and future prosperity;
  • A willingness to challenge certain standard industry practices; and
  • A desire to maintain active and positive community engagement.


Our first year has been challenging at times, though very rewarding.

We look forward to many more anniversaries to come. 

Andrew


Our Newest Team Member

On 14 August 2014, we welcomed our newest team member, Molly Grace Webb.

Molly is becoming a regular visitor to our office so don’t be surprised if she greets you on your next visit.

Having a baby in the middle of tax season was not ideally planned and we thank everyone who has had to be a little patient with us during the past month or so. As a couple of people have said to me recently, ‘having a baby is a really good excuse… though not one you can use very often’.

September Promotion

As many of you may have seen, we ran a promotion during July, August and September where we offered two good reasons to choose us to complete your 2014 tax return.
  1. We will donate $10 from our fee, for every 2014 personal Income Tax Return to our friends at Aspect South Coast School*; and
  2. Put each new client’s name in the draw to win a $500 Bunnings Gift Voucher**
Our promotion period has ended and we wrote a nice cheque to Aspect South Coast School this week...and made a pleasant phone call to our lucky winner.
 
*Aspect Authority to Fundraise no 2014EV112473
**NSW Permit No. LTPS/14/04532
Wollongong Accountants; Andrew Webb Family & Business Accounting
Do you do financial planning?

I completed my accounting traineeship during the late nineties at a small accounting firm. In those days, financial planning in Australia was in its infancy as a profession, and very few accounting firms had any alliance, formal or otherwise, with financial planners. I spent the next ten years with a very large firm working with listed companies, government departments and multinationals. The biggest change I noted upon my return to a small firm in 2009, was the growth in the financial planning industry and the level of tie-in between the accounting and financial planning industries.


Since commencing this practice last year, I have been asked if I do Financial Planning many times. So much so, that it has been tempting to venture down the path of seeking formal qualifications as a financial planner. I have resisted this temptation however, as I am a big believer in playing to your strengths. I also think it is important to be proficient at one profession, rather than risk being mediocre at two. 

My alternative approach has been to grow a network of capable, local Financial Planners to whom I can refer people looking for financial planning advice. These referrals are based on my judgement as to who I think would be the ‘best fit’ for the individual in question. All referrals are made on a strictly professional level, and no commissions or referral fees are ever paid or received. This approach suits me and means that we are all only as good as our last referral. I use a similar approach when people ask me to refer other professionals i.e. lawyers, lenders, insurance brokers etc.

Not all accountants are perfect and there are a few members of our profession who do the wrong thing from time to time. Thankfully, these examples are infrequent and I think, on the whole, accounting is a well-respected industry. This is driven largely, in my opinion, by the high education standards required to become an accountant. Completing formal qualifications does not automatically make someone more honest or more capable, though it does separate those who are serious about the industry from those who are here for a ‘quick-buck’.

There is a lot of disparity in the quality of financial planners across the industry. I know some very capable, highly qualified Financial Planners…and I have met a few snake oil salesmen. The behaviour of this bottom end of the industry has tarnished the industry as a whole, with plenty of well publicised examples i.e. CBA, Macquarie Private Wealth as well as several local practitioners.

In the past, Financial Planning has been quite an easy industry to get into and minimum education requirements have been very low. Many Financial Planners choose to gain higher qualifications to distinguish themselves within the industry. The Certified Financial Planner (CFP) is the highest professional designation you can earn in the financial planning industry and requires a university degree, minimum work experience, post graduate study and ongoing education requirements. Of the 18,000 planners currently registered in Australia, about 5,500 currently hold the CFP designation.

Most large financial institutions have recently raised their minimum education requirements, largely in face of very negative attention. AMP and each of the large four banks have recently announced upgraded education requirements which will essentially see all new planners required to complete a CFP accreditation, within the next several years. 
Picture courtesy of www.footprintcompany.com.au
Keira Street

The construction of the new GPT shopping centre and Keira Street upgrade is nearly complete, with the centre set to open on 9 October 2014. This will mean no more dodging jack-hammers and workers in fluoro, when visiting our office.

This has been a long process with plenty of interruption to Keira Street businesses. All big developments however come with some short term interruption. Projects like these are great for our city and will provide huge long term benefits.

We think the new centre looks terrific and can’t wait to see inside. This new centre will also include 600 hundred new parking spaces.
2014 Momentum Energy Illawarra Business Awards

We are very proud to have been recently nominated as a finalist in the Momentum Energy 2014 Illawarra Business Awards, in the category of ‘Outstanding New Illawarra Business’.

The selection process involved a written submission and a panel interview, with a 50% weighting given to each section. We were quite happy with our submission in both parts, so it’s over to the judging panel now. The awards night will be held on 24 October 2014 at the IMB Theatre.

Click here to see the full list of finalists:

http://www.illawarrabusinessawards.com.au/home/winners-finalists/
Copyright © 2014 Andrew Webb Family & Business Accounting, All rights reserved.


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