Monthly Archives

May 2015


A Whole New World?

May 31, 2015

On a recent road trip to Dubbo Zoo the kids’ Nana thought it would great for us all to visit a museum and show the youngsters a bit of history. After about half an hour into our visit I found this old accounting machine, which really got me thinking about just how much the job has changed!

This ‘bookkeeping machine’ was basically a calculator and printer all rolled into one, built specifically for doing things like payroll and company billing. Machines like this were everywhere from 1900 right up until 1980, when the first computers started to take over.

When I first started as an accountant, we didn’t use these (I’m not that old!) but everything was still very long winded. We used to write up everything in ledgers, reconcile and cross check, and then post a journal to the accounting program.

Today, we use Xero, which basically does all those jobs in a split second.

Xero is a software program that has direct feeds from whichever bank a client uses. Our clients use it in conjunction with us, so it has really changed the way we interact with them. We can now do realtime accounting on a daily basis, and they can access exactly what we can see, all live on their computer or even their phone. I’m always on my phone with clients, analysing what happened last month and forecasting the future.

The software memorises every single transaction. It can match up income and expenditure, and basically reconcile the whole lot for you, just pending your approval! It even suggests where things should be coded and posted to, and gets smarter as you use it.

Xero isn’t the only thing to have changed the way we do business. All our documents and files are now scanned in electronically and stored in the cloud, so as long as I have an internet connection these days I can work as if I’m at my desk in the office – no matter where I am in the world. When I’m out seeing clients, I have a ‘magic’ book and pen that I write up notes with and it scribes it back to my laptop or iPad, which is then easily converted into typed up notes which I can email to clients or staff for the next steps in the project. Makes my life a lot more efficient!

I hadn’t really considered how much the job had changed, until I saw this accounting machine. It’s not even that old, it was first used only three years before I was born! I think the biggest change for me is how much more time I get to spend actually talking to people nowadays, giving them quality face to face time and being able to actively research things for their businesses, instead of being stuck inside reconciling, cross checking and double handling data!


Business, Life, Surfing

The Short Story of The Surfing Accountant

May 31, 2015

It feels like I’ve been surfing for as long as I can remember, even though I didn’t actually start until I was 11. Born and raised in Woolgoolga – or Woopi as the locals know it – my first real surfing memory there is at Main Beach on a red-bottomed single fin surf board. I had to ride my bike down the big hill and then push it back up – not easy when you’re small and carrying a surfboard!

By the age of 13 I was surfing competitively & I won a Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain School Surfing Scholarship just before I turned seventeen. I spent the next three years on the local surf circuit, surfing my way into many finals including first place in the Open Mullaway Surf Classic in 1987!

Throughout my early surfing days I was sponsored by Hot Tuna, Prana Surfboards and Blue Lines Surf Centre, and couldn’t imagine doing much else with my life. However, I was always good at maths at school and when it came to the time to apply for university, accounting was my first choice.

I still surfed as much as I could when I was at uni, and in January 1991, I got my first job as an assistant accountant in an abattoir (nice) in Grafton NSW. Life got pretty busy for a while; I started my own business, and in 2003 Jaylan my son was born. With so many other priorities, surfing just took a back seat, and I stopped – probably without even realising it.

Fast forward about nine years, and a new client came into my accounting office on the Gold Coast. We were having a good chat about life, and surfing came up. I said “Oh, I used to surf” and they said, what do you mean you used to surf?!

One weekend they invited me out for a surf, so I ended up getting my boards out, cleaned one up and got out there amongst the waves. It was like I’d never stopped! I have surfed every week since without fail – huge thanks to my now friends Nam & Devo from Equalize Training Company for getting me back out there.

One of my favourite surfing memories (as a grown up!) is at the Maldives last year, surfing barrelling left-handers for over 4 hours, it was just epic! I want to go back there again soon, it’s the trip of a lifetime but hopefully not just once in my lifetime!

The best thing about being an accountant is seeing clients grow both with their business and personally. When I’m involved in that process it’s very rewarding, and so many of my clients have become good friends. It helps that most of them surf too – I’m not sure if that’s a coincidence or if it’s just how it’s ended up!

I get a real connection with the water and the waves; I just love sitting out there on my board, it recharges by batteries and I get this sense of total freedom. It really helps me to stay balanced and deal with pressures of life and running a business. So, you could say that surfing is now vital to the success of my accounting career – and for that I’m pretty grateful.


Journey to the Gold Coast Marathon 2015

May 3, 2015
half marathon

In late January I was doing some running training with my son and Ross Kingsley, who said “You should come and have a run with the RK Pod; it’s a good group of people! We’re training for the half marathon and of course the full marathon; 42.2kms”

I said,

Far out. That’s a really long way!

But here I am, 3½ months later, and I ran that distance last weekend. We have seven weeks to go until the GC Marathon in July and my goal is to finish it in under 4 hours.

Now, I have done two half-marathons before, both with really poor training (if any at all!). I finished them both in well over 2 hours. Four weeks ago I raced in the GC Bulletin Half Marathon and finished in 1 hour 46 minutes; the training is really paying off.

The camaraderie in the running group is the best part. There’s so much support and encouragement amongst everyone, you just feel so inspired by everyone around you. It’s good that we all get on though – we’re putting in some big distances together now so that’s a fair bit of time we spend together!

The hardest thing about the training is, the training! I wont say any of it is easy. The weekend runs of 35 km have been tough, but my fitness is coming along nicely now. We had been running over 40km a week, which has just jumped up to 55 km. I get up at 3am or 4am at least three times a week to get the runs in before work start at 7 o’clock – it’s bloody cold when you start pounding the pavement at that time in the morning so you have to really want to do it!

I struggled initially with a few injuries, so I backed off and had to just slowly build the distance each week. I went a little too hard at the start – not unusual for me! Stretching and rolling are things I have to do on a daily basis to manage the legs, and learning to look after yourself in this way pre and post running is just as important as the runs themselves.

The actual race is always tough. Last weekend I went out too fast for the first three quarters and then really struggled for the last quarter, so I’ve been really working on my pace setting and strategy.

All this training is in preparation for the GC Airport Marathon on 6th July. I want to complete the 42.2km in under 4 hours. That’s about 5.30 minutes per kilometre – which I think is totally possible!

I’ll keep you posted…