28th October, 2019
For Andrew Pryce, life as an accountant is never dull and the future of the industry is full of opportunity. In this Q&A discussion, Pryce chats with us about all things Rodgers & Co.
Rodgers & Co. Limited is a boutique, Christchurch-based practice that falls into that interesting category of accounting businesses that serve clients from both Australia and New Zealand.
Replicating business across two tax jurisdictions is quite the juggling act. But in speaking to Andrew Pryce, partner of Business Advisory Services for Rodgers & Co., it seems the juggling life is very much taken in stride for him and the team.
And the results are clear. After 30 years in the business and a team that now includes four partners and 17 employees, Rodgers & Co. continues to go from strength to strength. The following is a transcript of our interview with Pryce.
What are the positives and negatives of your job?
Positives: the variety of work, working with different businesses and people, supporting success and being able to help in difficult times. I enjoy getting out to people’s businesses and working with them on their home turf.
Negatives: you feel a sense of responsibility for clients and see their problems as yours. This means that clients going through hard times can be quite tough mentally to deal with. Their stresses become your stresses.
How would you describe your job in a tweet?
Calm and collected. Phone lines open – all go.
What does an average day look like?
It usually starts at the local coffee shop directing some traffic from the iPad. It then moves into the office where it’s then filled with client meetings, external client visits, internal practice administration.
It usually ends by clearing the desk for a fresh start the next day and do it all over again.
Tell us something surprising about your job that people may not know about?
For an accountant, over half the day is spent on non-accounting matters whether it be project managing business processes, running your own practice or being the person people talk to from a social or guidance sense.
For a 20-minute phone call less than half is accounting related. The perks and privileges of being a trusted advisor. At Rodgers & Co., we create lifelong relationships with our clients.
How long have you personally been working in accounting?
I started my career in 2008. So, 11 years.
Has your client base decreased, increased or remained steady over the past 12 months?
Our client base has increased over the past 12 months as we continue to refine our offerings tailored to what the market wants.
We view business as a journey and we’re passionate about people and business and because of that we are seeing more clients wanting to become part of the firm.
We view every client as a client for life.
What are the learnings you’ve gleaned in recent years regarding business advisory?
Advisory is major part of our business model. But to advise we need accurate figures, compliance forms part of creating accurate data to work with.
Advisory is more than just talking about financial data, it’s about general business advisory, non-financial analysis and bringing accountability and the concept of governance to any business.
It’s also about bringing our business networks to the table, so the client gets the best result for any facet of their business.
If large corporate businesses can have all the bells and whistles of high value advice we don’t see why small and medium business can’t either.
What new technologies is your business using and trialling to stay efficient, client-focussed and relevant?
Recently we implemented MYOB Practice Manager, Document Manager and Portal, all of which allow us to keep track of client’s data more efficiently, as well as communicate with clients making approval of documents a breeze and reducing our carbon footprint at the same time.
We’re also starting to use the Microsoft 365 suite of products to support our internal processes and management which include being more mobile.
Are there any finance or accounting memberships that really add value to your business or career?
Institute of Chartered Accountants Australia & New Zealand and NZ Institute of Management. Both professional bodies bring excellent support and training to ensure we are in a position to advise our clients to the highest possible standard.
What prompted you to join the MYOB Partner Program?
We recognise the value MYOB brings to our practice by way of support not only to support external clients but also our own internal practice. Like us, they recognise there’s more to our profession than just numbers, so it’s good to have MYOB alongside us, communicating regularly.
What advice do you have for new members on how they can maximise their membership value?
Create a good relationship with your MYOB representative and communicate often. Talk about your direction and what you want to achieve; they are very willing to support and provide resources to support your journey.
If you have an idea, speak up. MYOB has access to a lot of data, which can assist your strategic decision making.
How do you stay abreast of legislative and technological changes within the industry?
Through our professional bodies via regular training sessions. We’ve a retainer with a tax lawyer which not only allows us to provide top quality tax advice but includes regular training sessions.
We also keep up to date with all product updates over the various software options while reviewing our clients for opportunities to utilise technology in their business.
What are some of the opportunities and threats facing your industry?
Dare I say it (as everyone says it) – but advisory is a huge opportunity. It seems to be a relatively new concept to the external market and as more people utilise the services on offer it will continue to grow.
As for a threat, I think other professions trying to compete in the trusted advisor space presents a clear concern for the industry as a whole.
How have you found hiring and retaining staff over the last 12 months?
We have good staff retention with all of our staff having a long period of experience at Rodgers & Co – this is vitally important for our clients as our relationships are built on trust and having consistent staff helps us be that trusted advisory.
Hiring staff has been difficult – the market requires people with experience and the ability to communicate with clients in various forms on more than just accounting.
We have been fortunate enough to take on some graduates who are showing good intent towards the advisory market and are starting to commence their advisory journey.
Is there something you’ve learning that you wish someone had told you 10 years ago?
It was about 10 years ago I started my accounting career and after four years at University I was on cloud nine and quickly brought to earth. I learned that experience counts for a lot, so it’s important to surround yourself with people that you can learn and develop from.
If you think you will stop learning at any point in your career, think again.
What does success look like to you?
Happiness. If you’re happy and content in life in general, that is success.
What’s one accounting/business buzzword you’re sick of hearing?
Extinction. I went to an MYOB function recently where Tim Reed was speaking. Someone stood up and asked him what accountants thought of him taking their jobs by bringing in these technology solutions. Tim quite rightly pointed out that technology is providing more opportunities for us.
Do you have a secret talent?
No such thing as a secret talent as there are people who always know. I don’t class it as a talent, but people probably don’t realise that, for every task done with one hand I do right-handed, and any task that involves two hands I do left-handed. But I have a knack of swinging the hockey stick in an orderly fashion (which can only be done right handed).
If you could have a special power what would it be?
Fix a stressful situation for anyone at the click of a finger.