It’s the little things that really mattersponsored
When Motueka-based public accountant Bridgette Pretty found out her client, who owns a motel, was rising at 5am every day to iron linen, she immediately set out to find a cost effective way to outsource this job so that her client could have a better work life balance.
It may seem like a small gesture and arguably outside a traditional accountant's remit, but not to Bridgette, who prides herself on helping people by getting to know all aspects of their business.
"I always like to get out and see my clients and where they work because I believe that is the best way to build a trusting relationship and to gain a great understanding of their business. It was while I was at my client's, that I noticed the ironing. It's these little details that count," she says.
In 2011, Bridgette set up her business Pretty Accounting, one of the first CPA Australia-branded public practices in the country. Growing up on a farm in Murchison, working in her parent's hotel business and having commercial accountancy experience, means she can offer a well-informed and big picture view of anyone's business.
Pretty Accounting is a close-knit team with Bridgette's Mum, Christine, as the practice manager, supported by two accountants and a highly experienced support team member.
She uses a cloud based software system that enables her to work on site with her clients.
"On site, the software allows me to look at the client's assets, review their depreciation rates, and capital purchases versus repairs. This greatly helps clients plan their cash flow, including budgeting for expansion," she says.
Clients will log in to their own accounting package and show Bridgette real examples of challenges they are facing so they can work out stress-free solutions together, she says.
And Bridgette uses 'plain English' to talk to people about their accounts. "There is no point using the technical language of accounting, it just puts people off," she says.
"When I'm in a client's workplace, they relax and open up to me, and this enhances the trust in our relationship. I will often provide the names of support services including legal, employment, finance and business valuation. Having the right support surrounding clients can reduce stress for them," she says.
Through being on site with clients, she gains a greater understanding of their products and services and this means she can talk authentically when speaking with agencies such as the Inland Revenue.
Bridgette encourages her clients to achieve a balance between work and their lives outside of work. She is a regular gym-goer and also encourages clients to exercise to ensure they are looking after their own wellbeing and not just their business.
Given the care and focus that Bridgette shows, she has built up a great range of clients spread across the IT, wine, construction, craft beer, manufacturing, rural, art and other sectors.
And there isn't ever a dull moment.
"A client who owns a Russian fighter plane called 'Full Noise' is threatening to take me flying," she laughs.
For further details on how to become a public practitioner visit cpaaustralia.com.au/yourpractice.