Small Business Owners are desperate for Support – Xero Awards Winner

It’s been a big six months for Hawke’s Bay business Accountabill. Founder and manager Haylee Wrenn took out the coveted Institute of Certified New Zealand Bookkeepers Bookkeeper of the Year award in 2020, and has just been named NZ Bookkeeping Partner of the Year at the Xero Awards, which were held in Auckland over the weekend.

The Xero Awards recognise the impact accountants and bookkeepers can have on both the financial health and the mental wellbeing of clients, and this year, many of the nine firms awarded trophies on the night had spent time working closely with Covid-affected businesses.

Haylee, who specialises in small businesses and businesses in financial difficulty, says SMEs are crying out for the type of help she offers. “Many of the issues I see stem from small businesses who aren’t pricing their products properly, which later shows up in a lack of profit or inability to pay taxes when they fall due. Often clients are stressed and unable to see the easy things they can do to make big changes in their business. Small business owners are desperate for support, but too often they are paying the wrong people and getting bad advice.”

Haylee says there are plenty of accountants and bookkeepers around but that her service – which augments accountancy advice with pricing strategy, business planning, establishing work-life balance and clearing debt – is different. “I think we make it ok to not know what you are doing!” she says. “Often our clients will say they feel better after chatting to us because they feel like they understand more, or have been reassured. We are very much a strategic business partner and not just an accountant – we hold your hand to ensure you achieve your goals and keep you accountable along that way.”

Accountabill services clients from all around New Zealand, with much of their expertise coming from Haylee’s former role as a debt recovery specialist for the Inland Revenue Department. On the awards night, Xero paid tribute to Accountabill’s “hard-working bookkeeping professionals” and further noted how “passionate” they are in pulling businesses up by their bootstraps. “Haylee has gone above and beyond by offering new services – helping start-ups grow and educating clients on debt management,” they said.

Haylee says she couldn’t believe it when her name was called. “I was completely shocked – the calibre of the other finalists was really high and any one of us could have been on that stage. In my family we celebrate everything together, so when we got home to Napier we had roast chicken for dinner and our youngest son made chocolate mousse for dessert.”

It’s already been a busy start to 2021 for Accountabill but Haylee says there is much more to do. She already offers free educational resources and webinars across a variety of topics through her Accountabill website and coaches small groups of small business clients. “My goal is to continue to grow the Accountabill community,” she says. “There is nothing more exciting, for me, than watching clients support and help each other. We will continue to run our group programmes and grow our educational program with upcoming sessions covering topics such as how to start a business and how to get the best out of your team.”

She also has a strong message for those who think they might need some additional support. “Don’t delay. Give us a call – it’s highly likely that we can help you,” she says. “We might challenge you, but we’ll also get you focused very quickly on where you are and what needs to be done next. It could be as simple as a new cashflow plan, or an arrangement for paying down your tax debt to help you move forward. We act as your complete business support system – as well as simply a friendly ear when you need it.”

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Media Release – Tuesday 16 February from Accountabill