Xero’s epic annual NZ Roadshow has begun! We’re travelling the country through 16 locations across both islands, from Whangarei to Invercargill and several towns in between!

We’re showcasing some of our wonderful partners in the centres we pass through in our Roadshow Profile series. You can check out more of them here, and info about the Roadshow is here.

My name’s Andrea Cunniffe. I’m the Practice Manager for Leslie & O’Donnell Ltd our of sunny Marlborough. I help to look after hundreds of clients across all sectors. Most of them work in the wineries of course, being in the heart of sauvignon blanc country, but we work with people in farming and agriculture, trades and services, manufacturing, retail, and more. I like to think variety is the spice of life, and we certainly have and love it!

I started in accounting more than 30 years ago, when computers didn’t exist on office desks! We used to have to manually code bank statements and write journals before processing them all on a central computer. Clients would turn up with boxes of information to wade through just once a year, and then we’d set to work typing tax returns in triplicate using carbon paper.

Now we have two screens on all our desks at a minimum, and the way I work with clients has changed dramatically. I talk to them about their “now” data – the exact same information they can see, I can see, and it’s all up-to-date and current and relevant. We still do all of the essential compliance stuff, but there are no more boxes of data. Clients can upload their year-end information to us, then we use the data they have processed and work with them to produce annual accounts and tax returns (GST and income tax).   The compliance work has become much more streamlined with technology, which enables us to concentrate on getting to know our clients and working closer with them on the now and planning for the future.

I can work with them from anywhere, whether that’s from my desk in the office, at home on phone, anywhere! That’s thanks to technology like the cloud and software like Xero that means I can access information anytime I need.

My pearls of wisdom for anyone thinking about starting a business are these: get advice, make plans, set goals, and develop a strategy to grow your business.  Most business owners know their business and what they’re selling and making, or what service they’re providing. But when it comes to the financial side of things, they’re a bit unsure about what the important bits are.  You need to build a relationship with your business advisor, like your accountant or bookkeeper, as an essential part of your team.

That’s what I find most satisfying about my work: getting to know our clients, enabling them to work on their business, and helping them to grow.   I love getting to know them and their team and business, and meeting the different needs of each of our clients. He Tangata He Tangata He Tangata – It is the people.

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