Matching intention with execution

In Better Business, April 20227 MinutesBy Roylance WatsonMay 7, 2022

Ensuring that processes and information systems deliver can be frustrating for small businesses, not to mention expensive and sometimes disheartening. We talked to Roylance Watson, an associate at Hamilton-based Vazey Child Chartered Accountants, about a service team she now heads that might line those dark clouds of confusion… in gold.

Truck driving’s not the only career to suffer dire and pessimistic predictions regarding its future relevance. Believe it or not, accountants have also been the subject of the crystal- ball gazer’s naysaying prophecy. It was once said that by the end of 2022, there’d be 17 accountants left – such has been information technology’s effect on the corralling and organising of the digits that bring balance sheets to life. But like truck driving, rather than gloom and despondency, it’s about reinvention.

Proactivity is, without doubt, the mother of opportunity, and Hamilton accounting firm Vazey Child has taken a good hard look in the mirror and asked itself the reinvention question. One of the early fruits of its deliberations is what it calls a systems and services team, headed up by associate Roylance Watson. The team’s role will not just change the way you look at your accountant, but everything about your business, including the way you do it.

Aimed at small to medium enterprises (SMEs), Roylance’s crew isn’t so much interested in counting beans, followed by a pass or fail mark. No, they’re putting their skills into helping you make as many beans as you can… before the end- of-term report. (Sort of like the old UE accredited for those of us old enough to remember.)

“There’s certainly been a massive change looming for some time on how we work with clients and deliver our service,” says Roylance. “What do we want to provide? Who do we want our clients to be? And how do we get there? Our vision at Vazey Child is one of doing business together, helping people reach their goals – business and personal. That thinking led to the idea of being innovative and responsive. From that spawned the systems and services team.”

SME owners know the difficulty of working in and on the business all too well. Often the company’s reason for being came about because of a specific skillset unrelated to business practices, processes, and systems. Being a good truck driver does not mean you are a good mechanic, accountant, or even a manager. Just like you might do for a truck, having a systems and process ‘mechanic’ look over things and give the business a top tune might be a good idea.

“Not a lot of people look at their processes and systems and ask, ‘Why am I doing this?’, and ‘Should I be doing this?’ If you’ve trained as a mechanic, how can you possibly be expected to know about the nuances of business and process? We can value-stream a process and ask if it’s delivering value to the customer. And that is not just your end customer, but you as a customer of your systems and processes, and your suppliers also. In fact, anyone expecting benefit from the task. We ask what the outcome expectation is, and then work back from that.”

The great news is the system services team isn’t pedalling wares. There’s no specific IT system at the root of its analysis. The team looks at what you want to achieve and the tools you have, and begins there. The gap might be your knowledge about getting the best from your current system. If it’s not that, and the incumbent system isn’t up to it, they’ll help select what is right without bias to one product or another.

“Often, if you look at software for your business, you’ll get hounded by developers, whereas we can ask the hard questions and make sure you’ll get out of it what you want to.

“It’s about helping out small businesses, people who just don’t have the time to look at these things in detail.”

Another plus relates to the theme of ‘walk the talk’. Roylance was raised in a small business environment, and outside of her day job at Vazey Child, she runs two small businesses of her own. The team has already put actual runs on the board, with the goal or charter being, ‘Is the customer happy?’ “Using that measure, the team’s been extremely successful. One customer, a vehicle repair business, realised a profit improvement of two and half times against the same period the year before on the same revenue. That came about by simply changing their mindset from one of gross revenue to profit per productive hour.

“Some people still just want a traditional accounting role, but if you’re serious about your business, you need to look further than that.”

And the answer to the big question is? “The initial consultation comes with no obligation and at no cost.”

That being the case, the systems services team at Vazey Child might well be worth the dial-up.

Roylance Watson heads Vazey Child’s System Services Team.

Roylance Watson is a chartered accountant and associate at Vazey Child Chartered Accountants in Hamilton.
Phone: (07) 838 5988