We lately sat down with Sonia Connon, a New Zealand-based bookkeeping enterprise proprietor and Reckon advisor to speak about her expertise in beginning up her enterprise ‘Workplace Assistants’, some widespread issues her shoppers are dealing with, and what she’s discovered alongside the way in which.
Hello Sonia, may you inform us a bit about what you rise up to in a traditional week?
Sure, so other than working my enterprise, I’ve a 10-acre property right here outdoors of Auckland and I’m stored fairly busy elevating Suffolk sheep, rising veggies, and working chooks on the farm with my household.
I additionally spend numerous my spare time as a lifeguard on our native seashore Muriwai, which is a fairly harmful seashore, in reality I’ve been a lifeguard there for 36 years now.
I’m additionally a eager aggressive surf boat racer – I really like getting on the market on the surf boats and retaining match. Taking part in hockey in season can be a bathroom ardour of mine. You possibly can positively say I’m a little bit of an adrenaline junkie at coronary heart.
As a enterprise proprietor specialising in bookkeeping and monetary administration for the final 20 years – are you able to inform us how and why you bought into bookkeeping and monetary administration?
I really obtained into bookkeeping by way of a New Zealand organisation referred to as Plunket. In the event you haven’t heard of them, when new moms have a child, Plunket present numerous medical and social help to the brand new mom and their little one by way of providers like well being checks and maternal steerage.
Though the nurses there have been paid by the federal government, I grew to become the president of their volunteer committee which managed funding and helped with their books. My treasurer on the committee ended up going again into enterprise for herself as an accountant. She had seen that my books have been all the time immaculate and requested If I may do some bookkeeping work for her.
From there, in 2001, I made a decision to begin up my enterprise, Workplace Assistants and landed just a few extra preliminary shoppers – lots of whom I nonetheless must today.
Might you inform us in regards to the journey of Workplace Assistants? Did you purposely title it broadly to seize a bigger market than these solely in search of bookkeeping?
Certain, so I selected the title Workplace Assistants from the get-go as I envisioned that I needed to do extra than simply bookkeeping, which is actually the case immediately.
We do bookkeeping, we do payroll, and we do enterprise advisory as nicely. So, we primarily embody a holistic method to caring for companies.
Whereas I’ve had staff over time to assist decide up some slack, hiring employees comes with its personal challenges, so I’m typically a sole operator.
How did the pandemic have an effect on your operations as a small enterprise proprietor?
Sure, nicely, typically talking, I’d work with my shoppers onsite 3 days per week, however clearly with the pandemic, that wasn’t potential.
So, throughout that point every part moved off-site which may be very achievable with the hosted platforms that we have now now.
For me, the pandemic wasn’t a lot of a problem, besides that I work with numerous importers and importer wholesalers. There are numerous supply paperwork required for the importing aspect of issues, so there have been challenges round sourcing these paperwork.
I assume the opposite factor that was difficult was simply being that help individual by serving to shoppers to use for the federal government subsidies that they’re entitled to and being the sounding board for these companies.
A whole lot of the businesses that that I work with have been fighting provide chains throughout the pandemic and making an attempt to ship product out when there was no employees allowed into the companies. It simply put numerous strain on all people. And so, from that perspective, the administrators of the companies have been below numerous stress.
As a result of that strain I tended to be a sounding board for these companies in order that I may help them by way of their challenges and preserve them financially viable. And I’m pleased to report that each single certainly one of my shoppers, managed to work their approach by way of the COVID pandemic and are available out the opposite aspect. In order that’s actually optimistic.
What are a few of the foremost challenges affecting your New Zealand shoppers in the mean time?
Proper now, there are numerous logistics challenges round getting freight and product into the nation. (The price of logistics went up because the pandemic and that hasn’t decreased.)
And naturally, the opposite large one is money circulation!
Money circulation is a big concern as a result of numerous my enterprise shoppers must pay for product upfront (earlier than it will get shipped from abroad producers). Typically it may possibly take as much as 4 months earlier than it arrives in New Zealand and clears customs.
That delay places an enormous monetary pressure on money circulation since you’ve obtained all the cash sitting on the market and it’s not providing you with a return.
Do you end up giving widespread recommendation to your shoppers that you could possibly share? Maybe a widespread enterprise problem that’s solvable?
Completely, so I do numerous common reporting for them and try to help them with taking a look at lowering their money circulation turnaround in order that they’ve obtained cash coming in as rapidly as potential.
That’s our greatest problem – getting that cash in. And fortunately, we appear to be very profitable at that. We additionally deal with debt administration for them and none of my shoppers have overdue accounts which is implausible.
I additionally help shoppers in managing expenditures and ensuring that their spending is managed. I would like to make sure they don’t have any wastefulness and may venture their gross sales too. I mainly want to establish what my shoppers are going to promote within the subsequent time period.
How did you first begin utilizing Reckon and what do your shoppers consider it?
Again in 2002, after getting my enterprise off the bottom, I began getting accustomed to the prevailing accounting and bookkeeping methods and stumbled upon Reckon. I ended up doing a course and have become a Reckon marketing consultant so I may broaden my skillset and higher help my shoppers.
Lots of my shoppers again then have been utilizing some fairly unforgiving and clunky software program, so to have the ability to help them with a spread of superior alternate options was implausible.
As I gained extra shoppers on the way in which, and since I actually appreciated working with Reckon, I ended up changing all of the recordsdata I had in different merchandise over to Reckon.
About Workplace Assistants
We deal with your accounts so you may give attention to the elements of the enterprise you like.
Sonia has been working in bookkeeping and monetary administration for greater than 20 years and is the founding father of Workplace Assistants. She is enthusiastic about serving to individuals each at work and in her spare time.