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SMALL BUSINESS ACCOUNTING
GOOD SERVICE ESSENTIAL SERVICES
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New franchisees add 100 new clients to an established business within their first year
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Murli Vasu, Craig Gardiner & Dolly "The reputation of SBA specialists just keeps bringing clients to us."
When a new franchisee takes over an existing business, turnover seems to go either up or down, depending on the quality of the franchisee and the potential of the local market. In the case of SBA’s Murli Vasu and his wife Dolly, both factors came into play. Despite their Albany business having been operating for eight years before they took it over, the husband and wife team have grown it dramatically.
‘We started in February 2016 and by October we’d added 100 extra clients,’ says Murli. ‘The reputation of the franchise as the small business accounting specialists just keeps bringing clients to us. Yes, Albany is a growing area, but we also get a lot of referrals from existing clients,’ he says happily.
Small Business Accounting (SBA) has been a game-changer for New Zealand small business in the last 20 years. By turning accounting into a straightforward service offered through high street locations, the ‘shopfront accountants’ approach has proved durable and highly popular with small business owners, landlords and others who want timely and affordable accounting services without having to pay the big bucks.
Today there are over 50 franchised SBA outlets in New Zealand serving more than 20,000 clients, as well as 23 in Australia and pilot offices in Papua New Guinea and Los Angeles. ‘Many of those franchisees have come from small business backgrounds themselves and have a natural empathy for their clients,’ explains franchisor Adam Parore. ‘Others have escaped the confines of large accounting practices and have seen the advantages of working for themselves closer to home and with Xero-based accounting systems that gain plaudits by the day. Some have gone on to open multiple offices, as it is very easy to build up your clientele with such a tried and trusted system.’
Murli and Dolly are looking at the multi-site opportunity already, having achieved considerable success in just their first year of operation. ‘I have an accounting background, including ten years with an airline in Muscat, says Murli, ‘and Dolly spent nine years as a clinic co-ordinator in the health sector. We wanted our own business, something that would allow us to work together, and when the SBA Albany branch came on the market we felt it offered the best potential.’
SBA Albany had an established client base and the new owners were concerned to keep them all, ‘So we made as few changes as possible. With the same procedures and same staff, only the owners changed and they rapidly accepted us when they realised we still provided the same, excellent SBA services.’
Murli and Dolly soon found the secret to adding extra clients: service. ‘We have strict internal procedures which make a big difference to people,’ says Murli. Our phone is always answered within 3 rings, and client emails are answered inside 24 hours. But above all, we help them manage their businesses better and faster for less money than traditional accountants.’
All this is possible thanks to SBA’s partnership with cloud-based accounting company Xero. ‘This makes life much easier for all parties by automating many of the processes and delivering meaningful data in real time,’ says SBA’s general manager Craig Gardiner. ‘This makes the client/accountant relationship much more about collaboration – you’re talking about financial data that’s hours old rather than months old, meaning more informed decision-making. This enables business owners to spot problems or make improvements faster and so keep ahead of the competition.’
Murli is definitely a fan. ‘Once you have it properly set up, the client can do their coding and we verify and provide the regular reporting and management, all as part of our standard services. It’s even easy to send an e-file to the IRD. Quick, easy and inexpensive. Once we sit down for a short demonstration with a new client, they are pretty quickly sold on what SBA can do for them. Another big advantage is that clients can be on holiday anywhere in the world and the cloud allows them to stay in touch any time they want,’ says Murli.
An SBA franchise costs $48,000 +gst, with an additional $15,000 needed for shop fit-out and other capital investment, and Craig is keen to hear from anyone looking to build a solid business with the top brand in a fast-growing field.
‘SBA franchisees don’t need accounting qualifications, although book-keeping, administration, small business or financial experience is a must,’ says Craig. ‘Together with Xero we’ve opened a new era in the SBA story – one of working collaboratively with our clients using the very best accounting systems to improve the bottom line for all our franchisees.’
The last word goes to Murli Vasu. ‘All in all, the SBA package is a winning one for franchisees and clients alike. Our revenue increased by 15 percent in our first year and I think it is highly possible that with new business coming in all the time we will do that again this year – and every year!’
See this advertorial on page 63 of Franchise New Zealand magazine Year 26 Issue 1
Contact details for Small Business Accounting
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