CCBR Business Review

4 177 Avoca Drive, Avoca Beach | Telephone 4382 1286 Visit our new showroom With the largest exclusive range on the Coast of designer handles, locks, hinges and sliding door tracking, sourced from the world’s leading manufacturers. AUSTRALIA WIDE REPUTATION Supplying luxury home builders for over 35 years • Locksmiths - Locks repaired and re-keyed • Deadlocks supplied & fitted • All types of keys cut • Restricted master key systems • Mobile workshop Covering the Central Coast • All hours service 0412 437 327 CO V E R S T O R Y Jenny Harwood – Harwood Chartered Accountants CELEBRATING THIRTY YEARS in busi- ness this year, Jenny Harwood is a highly experienced local Chartered Accountant, registered auditor and accredited Chartered Accountant reviewer known for her proac- tive, forward-thinking approach. The chal- lenge of working through various scenarios, anticipating the future and putting in place proactive solutions for her clients to mitigate risks and optimise their ongoing financial success drives Jenny every day. Speaking with her, it is clear that account- ing is more than just a profession for her; it’s a passion, particularly helping people, including her fellow Chartered Accountants. As founder and Managing Director of Harwood Chartered Accountants at Erina, Jenny admits that, while she loves the profession, it is a tough industry to work in on the Central Coast because there are so many accountants for the size of the popu- lation. However strategic decisions and out- side the box thinking have allowed Jenny to not only survive in practice, but thrive and continue to grow, despite a period of turbulence following a business decision that taught her the value of charting her own course. Jenny didn’t always aspire to be an accountant, but once the seed was sown, 1990s to give her an extra edge in business. “Completing the MBA gave me another type of education that was different from the technical education I’d had before. The technical side was bread and butter to what we did but the other things I learnt through the MBA was to help clients run their businesses better. I found that invaluable.” Becoming an accredited CA reviewer seven years ago was another strategic move but also a role Jenny has grown to love. Not only does the role allow her to advise clients more proactively and with greater confidence, but she also gains a great deal of personal satisfaction from helping other accounting professionals, all outside the Central Coast to avoid conflict of interest. By 2005, Jenny had built up a successful $2 million plus practice through acquisition and hard work. She was approached by the director of a large multidisciplinary regional firm to join forces. Believing the merger would be advantageous, she accepted, only to discover once on board that she was the only director who had ever built a business from the ground up and this proved problematic. She also found she had little influence over how things were done at the firm, meaning she was unable to offer her clients the proactive service and rapid turnaround she was used to deliver- ing. Three years later, she returned to sole practice. “You either work in that big group atmosphere or you don’t. It wasn’t for me,” said Jenny. It is a true testament to Jenny that she didn’t lose any clients during that period. Throughout the three years, she she knew she wanted to run her own practice and made decisions that would enable that to happen. Returning home to the Central Coast in her early twenty’s after nineteen months abroad with her toddler daughter, Jenny undertook a secretarial course and found herself drawn to the les- sons on bookkeeping. She subsequently completed the Accounting Certificate at TAFE, which gave her a one-year advanced standing towards the Accounting Degree. Completing the degree by correspond- ence, she worked for a few different firms, including Coopers and Lybrand in Gosford and a smaller chartered accounting firm in Umina, Harmer and Cassin, where she was inspired by Daryl Harmer, who she regarded as a role model. After four years gaining all- round experience and her CA and auditing qualifications at Harmer and Cassin, Jenny resigned to start her own practice. “You think you know a lot, but it’s not until you’re actually dealing with clients that your edu- cation really begins,” she said. Right from the start, Jenny maintained the philosophy that, in order to succeed in business as an accountant on the Central Coast, where the marketplace is so heav- ily saturated, she had to be as versatile as possible for her clients. “There are a lot of accountants for the size of our popula- tion, too many in fact. Half the people who have worked for me in the past now have their own firms. In fact, 85% of Chartered Accountants are sole practitioners. We like to run our own show,” said Jenny. She decided to complete an MBA in the late By Phaedra Pym “You think you know a lot, but it’s not until you’re actually dealing with clients that your education really begins.” CENTRAL COAST BUSINESS REVIEW FEBRUARY 2021