Keeping it in the family

binaire opties systeem For IPA members Linda Holmes AIPA and Peter Holmes FIPA, accounting is in their blood

opzioni binarie seguire trend The quaint surroundings of Beresfield, located 20 kilometres from Newcastle’s central business district serves as the backdrop for Linda and Peter Holmes’ journey. Working as a secretary alongside her father, Peter Wells, in his Beresfield practice, Linda met a young and eager Peter in 1987. In February 1988 the two decided to study accounting together, a decision that would go on to shape their entire professional lives.

After beginning their studies the couple were soon engaged and married in December of the following year, with Linda’s father taking on Peter as a trainee within his practice. “Linda’s father put me on as a trainee at 8.00am on the 8 August 1988 – you’ve got to love the date!” remarks Peter.

binary options trading investopedia In Chinese culture the number eight is widely regarded as a lucky number, often associated with strong intuition, insight, and the gift of being a born businessman. Not only was the date significant for Linda and Peter, but perhaps it was an indication of things to come.

The two worked alongside each other in the practice until April 2000, when Peter left the firm to establish his own business. Linda soon split her duties between practices, working part time with her father, and using a few days each week to help establish her husband’s practice. But eventually, the desire to expand and grow their own business as a couple grew too strong and Linda joined her husband full time, forming what is now PLH Accountants.

Linda and Peter purchased a commercial building in the heart of East Maitland, renting out half of the property to another business as they began to spread their wings. Faced with a bold new challenge, Linda says IPA membership has been vital to providing her with a strong support network to further establish PLH Accountants and give her the confidence needed to tackle this new phase of the business. Peter had long been an IPA member and Linda notes, “the accreditation was something I eventually decided was a necessity”.

After Linda’s father retired the pair took on his practice, tucking it and his clients into their own firm. In most cases, an entire client base shifting between firms would pose a multitude of problems, particularly in terms of relationships and a sense of trust, but for Linda, keeping things within the family has proven invaluable. “Being trained under dad originally, the clients are more comfortable and more than happy to do that [switch over],” she said.

Prior to the acquisition, a brochure was distributed to the entire client base, depicting a roadmap for the changing of hands and what it would mean for business. With each new week, several of the clients would be booked into appointments, where an overview of their respective portfolio and a general introduction was made – a slow and painstaking process, but one that proved vital in maintaining these relationships. Maitland’s word of mouth

One of the most unique aspects of PLH Accountants is a lack of advertising. The firm does not set aside any money for advertising, runs no marketing campaigns, and relies solely on customer satisfaction and referrals to win new business. However, the lack of advertising doesn’t hinder the firm at all, even from attracting customers outside the local area. “We aren’t doing anything. No campaign, nothing at all. We just don’t need it. It’s not just in this area, we have people all over Australia, and it’s just growing,” Linda says.

PLH Accountants caters to a wide array of industries, and offers a vast selection of services, specialising in small business and personal tax. “We have a wide scope of clients, we cover everyone from manufacturing, tradies, architects, and there is a large amount of property within the portfolio,” Linda notes.

As the business itself grows, Linda and Peter are looking to add even more services to their repertoire for prospective clients. Peter adds that “while most of our services have been compliance based in the past, we are now branching out into business advice, particularly since we’ve hired some new faces to crunch the numbers”.

Personality is something that Linda prides herself on, and the straightforward and friendly approach to business is proving fruitful. “With us, what you see is what you get. The impression that we get from people, even in regards to our website, is that people feel more comfortable with us than anyone else. Everything is done with professionalism and integrity, and I think that’s what comes through.”

With another six firms scattered throughout Maitland, it was vital to Linda and Peter to establish their business successfully in a saturated market. An insistence on customer service and a comfortable environment has been paramount. “We’ve had new clients come in and proclaim that they haven’t heard from their accountant in two weeks, just for a single question! Customer service is something that we focus on that they really appreciate.”

Perhaps as a result, PLH Accountants was recognised with the 2014 Gold Award for Excellence in Customer Service at the Australian Business Quality Awards, an accolade lauded by IPA CEO Andrew Conway. “The team at PLH are ideal role models for today’s accounting practices and this significant accomplishment is testament to your hard work,” he said. Family matters

For many, working full-time alongside their spouse would be daunting, but both Linda and Peter say it actually provides more benefits than challenges. “If he’s being a shit I just put him in his room,” Linda says through stifled laughter, before continuing. “No, we have always worked together, and we have been married for what is it now? 27 years coming up? We kind of just soldier together all the way through.” The couple have also raised three boys, making their business accomplishments all the more impressive, partnering parenthood with practice management.

Delegating tasks and areas of expertise is much easier when you’re married to a fellow partner, Linda says. “Peter technically does all the big stuff and I do all of the smaller stuff, all of the rental properties. We like different aspects of accounting, which is great because it complements each other and we can cover the whole box of dice.” Growing the PLH brand

Linda and Peter have recognised the influence of the digital economy, even amongst their suburban surroundings, leading them to shift 80 per cent of their client base onto cloud-based software. In addition, the couple formed a new company under the name PLH Innovate, which “helps them steer the ship”, utilising the latest in MYOB and Xero software to increase compliance and to allow for greater monitoring of business decision-making and KPIs.

The professionalism that is apparent right through the PLH business is indicative of Linda and Peter themselves. “Everything is systemised to the max, everything has a written process to follow, we wear matching uniforms and have a great team culture,” Linda explains.

Future expansion is on the horizon for PLH too, something for which Linda cannot hide her excitement. The couple have taken trainees on in the past, teaching them the ropes, and they hope a fully qualified ccountant will soon join the firm to assist with “higher-level” portfolios and clientele.

Linda and Peter have seen their business  flourish in recent years, saying their IPA membership has only strengthened their  financial position, and given them the tools they need to ensure that they are well equipped to take on these new challenges. It seems a certainty that the PLH brand and the values that it represents will continue to grow, as Linda and Peter have established themselves as personable people who provide a valuable service to their community.

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