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My 30-year experience in accounting and how it became part of my life

As I reflect on 30 years in business, I feel that the years have gone by so fast. I find myself asking, ’was I in a coma and suddenly woke to have my own accounting business all this time?’

It seems, like a challenging blur, followed by a series of beautiful experiences and rewards.

When I decided to start my own business in 1992, Liljana – my amazing wife and best mate – and I had two beautiful young children – Jamie and Natalie.

The family was under significant financial pressure, with minimal income, an average mortgage and interest rates of 19%.

Although we were entitled to government benefits, we refused to proceed down that path as we saw this as an easy way out and not the precedent we wanted to set for our children.

So, where do we go from here? The only answer was up. And the next step was to work out the quickest and most efficient way to build the business.

This was not easy as I was trained to be a good tax accountant and not a business adviser.

I needed an office but could not afford the rent, the only other option was to turn part of our garage, which on occasion flooded, into an office.

This was perhaps not the most professional option but had to start somewhere…

Through letter drops, and calling old friends and family contacts, we soon started attracting minor but sweet clients.

I will never forget the day I was having a meeting with a potential client. As we talked about what I could do for him it started raining very hard and of course, water flooded the office.

We spent at least one hour bucketing the water, we then went inside the kitchen saturated, I gave him some of my dry clothes and a coffee and we finished off our meeting.

I was so embarrassed and apologised numerous times for what had happened. When the meeting was complete, I walked him to his car, he thanked me for the hospitality and told me he liked me as a person and felt he could trust me.

At this point, I was very confused. Was he telling the truth? Or did he just feel sorry for me?!

To date, this man is still my valued client, and we still laugh about this incident.

As time moved on, I realised accounting and tax were only part of the service that was needed, and business advisory was required to complete the big picture.

Providing advisory had given me additional confidence to deal with larger clients which in turn has had a significant impact on the growth of the business.

At this point, I was in serious need of a professional office to cater for the growth and so purchased part of the Corona Building on Hunter Street, Newcastle - where I’ve been operating my business since.

My ambition was to build a business that could provide a complete financial service. This meant we needed to add SMSF (self-managed super funds) Audit, Administration and Financial Planning.

I got my SMSF Audit certificate and next up was to introduce a Financial Planning partner.

This was not easy as at that time financial planners were going through serious scrutiny.

I needed someone with strong financial ability who cared for and respected the client, a team player, one who has self-respect and pride in what they do and most importantly to be there for the long term.

I was very fortunate to team up with Gavin Murray in 2014 and build a very talented team that enables Accounting and Financial Planning to work together in concert.

We can’t be complacent as the world; our industry and technology are all rapidly changing.

Our client’s needs are changing, and we must be in a position to be expecting and ready for such changes.

From a tough start, it has been an amazing journey and most importantly I’ve been fortunate to make many good friends along the way.

If I can pass on my experience to anyone, I would first say, be yourself.

Never stop learning, as knowledge opens many opportunities.

Be kind and be respectful.

Do these and good things will follow.

Larry Urdarov, Managing Director and Accountant

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