CCBR Business Review

5 The Harwood Team: Belinda Henson, Trisha Sullivan, Jenny Harwood and Sarita Bhattarai CO V E R S T O R Y Jenny, adding that it takes five years to train a university graduate. “What we do, particularly our work with small to medium businesses, is really hard. You can’t afford to waste time because you can’t recover the time if you’re not efficient. The knowledge is so broad. Every business is different, so you have to adjust to every business. The Tax Act is very complex. You have to be really competent at what you do and have an eye for detail. My outsourced staff member is very cost effective, but I am not outsourcing for cost. I would much rather have someone in the office.” Knowing that artificial intelligence is the way forward for accounting, Jenny and her team are early adopters of the latest industry technology, which has the added benefit of facilitating the outsourcing of work. Reflecting on the past twelve months, Jenny was full of praise over the generosity had kept the lines of communication open with them, which is why they stuck by her, however many admitted they would have jumped ship had she stayed with the larger firm. Today, Jenny employs a Chartered Accountant who has worked with her for many years, two intermediate accountants (one working remotely) and a receptionist. After recently agreeing to acquire another practice, Harwood Chartered Accountants is now in growth phase. However, Jenny said finding experienced accountants is problematic, which is the only reason she had to resort to outsourcing work. “Finding good people is our biggest challenge, partly because of a lack of education and also because the good people either go to Sydney, start their own practices or opt to work in commercial accounting, which is easy work compared to the work we do with SMEs and high net worth individuals,” said of our government. “It (COVID-19) was a lot to navigate to begin with and it generated a lot of work for us. So far, all our clients have pulled through. I thought our gov- ernment was unbelievably generous. We really are the lucky country,” said Jenny. As for an exit strategy, Jenny said it’s a work in progress. “I may look at retiring in around five years but I’m just not sure how that will play out at this stage. But when I do retire, I will continue doing my quality review work with Chartered Accountants and also the general auditing, as there aren’t many reg- istered general auditors around anymore. That could extend my work life a while, which is great because I really love what I do and helping people. Every client is dif- ferent. It’s like solving a puzzle. That’s what keeps me motivated – there are always new puzzles to solve.” “Finding good people is our biggest challenge, partly because of a lack of education and also because the good people either go to Sydney, start their own practices or opt to work in commercial accounting, which is easy work compared to the work we do with SMEs and high net worth individuals.” CENTRAL COAST BUSINESS REVIEW FEBRUARY 2021

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