Meet the A team
Meet the experts at
Accru Harris Orchard in Adelaide
“Being involved in a small business outside of work means I can bridge the gap between accountant and business owner really well.”
Ainsley has a logical brain and likes things to balance. Coupled with a natural ability for maths (first evident early in school reports!) a career in accounting was always likely.
A straightforward manner is one of Ainsley’s major strengths. Clients appreciate her down-to-earth attitude and ability to explain things clearly. As part-owner of a business outside of work, Ainsley appreciates the day-to-day challenges, stresses and strains that business owners face. It means she cuts to the chase and makes the complex simple.
Her biggest enjoyment is getting a positive outcome where a client doesn’t think this is possible. Often clients present a problem or a situation where they believe the only outcome can be negative. But Ainsley makes it her personal challenge to turn a negative into a positive whenever possible.
Ainsley has had particular success being thrown in at the deep end as an outsourced CFO and is able to hit the ground running in any situation. Her organisational skills come in really handy but it’s really her ability to create immediate empathy with clients that means she is trusted as a safe pair of hands.
“What matters to a client matters to me.”
Accounting was always a natural choice for Andrew given his flair for numbers, and the choice proved to be a great fit. He has gone far in the profession – gaining a wealth of experience resolving many different client challenges.
As someone whose work focus is entirely on supporting clients, Andrew has helped thousands of business owners with all manner of things, like growing their business, buying property, planning retirement and much more. He has exemplary technical skills, including an MBA, along with the ability to form truly productive relationships – clients talk to him 24/7 about all kinds of issues.
Colleagues and clients will tell you that Andrew is generous, empathetic and insightful. He is the person you want in your corner when tricky challenges emerge, and the person who will keep a level head so that those challenges are met and resolved head-on. Over 20 years of running his own businesses give him the deeper insights needed to understand what you’re facing next, and he will be with you if you need to go outside of your own comfort zone, delivering the solutions needed to get you where you want to be.
In a nutshell:
Commercial and collaborative – the opposite to what you might expect from a typical auditor!
“I know clients find audits a hassle at times, so I make them as painless and beneficial as possible.”
Ben is an auditor with a business-owner’s acumen. He loves seeing behind the scenes in a business and applying his business knowledge to come up with simple solutions to often complex problems. It’s not just about adding up the numbers, it’s whether they make sense, and Ben can spot a problem a mile off.
Ben works collaboratively with clients and avoids ‘us and them’ situations, which often create inefficiencies and culminate with a bland report to management. He works hard to acquire a unique and independent understanding of people, systems and processes. Only then can he communicate the post-audit findings, ideas and recommendations that clients value most.
Ben has run his own audit business since he was 28 after becoming one of the youngest Registered Company Auditors in Australia. He is a member of the Chartered Accountants (CA) Trans-Tasman Audit and Advisory Committee, which provides advice to the CA organisation in identifying and addressing strategic issues concerning the audit profession. This lets him give something back to the profession and its stakeholders, but working with clients is always what he values the most.
“I try to make a client’s business journey the best it can be.”
Chris has spent his entire career at Accru Harris Orchard. After joining in 1981, he left to study, and to gain experience working overseas – and then returned to the firm he feels so much a part of.
It’s hard to find anyone more loyal and client-focussed than Chris. He has dedicated his entire working life to helping people, and his major focus at work is to make sure a client’s business journey is a good one. He is also known for rarely being in the office. But for a good reason: he’s with his clients most of the time.
Chris’s unique selling point is empathy. He develops a genuine rapport with clients, and they trust him to do the right thing for them personally and for their business. Not one for surprises, Chris particularly enjoys regular reporting: tracking his clients’ business performance and guiding them along the way to make improvements. Because he gets to know his clients so well, Chris has an in-depth understanding of both their personal and business financial requirements. This all-encompassing view lets him uncover lots of opportunities that are normally quite difficult to spot, such as potential structural changes to the business, and create benefits clients don’t even know are possible.
“I knew very early on what I wanted to do. Accounting reminded me of a huge jigsaw puzzle, and I loved putting things together and getting clear answers.”
It was at University that James really understood and came to relish the complexities of accounting. Entering public practice soon showed him the rewards of working with clients to help them understand what’s going on and why.
His unique selling point could be described as ‘getting’ it quickly. James has a real ability to grasp what clients are looking to achieve. He builds a clear picture fast, making sure that businesses can see the wood for the trees. James loves projects with the potential for great outcomes – going from zero to hero and working closely with clients who want things to be better.
Clients who work with James benefit from seeing the key things they need to protect their current financial position – and to improve their financial lot. It’s all presented well, with clear conclusions. James can demonstrate a lot of success with complex acquisitions, designing transactions so that clients are set up financially. He also produces great tax results by understanding the whole picture and putting cash in the hands of clients.
In a nutshell:
The person you need next to you when you want change.
“I can see what problems need fixing – and then empower people to solve these problems with a whole new approach.”
With a degree in Maths, Jessica has a real handle on the ‘numbers’, and an ability to think fast and spot any business improvements a mile away. While working on anything from business processes to change management, she empowers people so the organisation can improve and take care of itself. Jessica helps to change mindsets, planting the right seeds with tailored training and coaching.
She’s good at all of this thanks to a varied background in small and large-scale reforms that go way beyond the theoretical, with experience in turning teams around under very difficult circumstances. As someone who is analytical by nature, it’s obvious to Jessica what needs fixing in a business, and she gets quickly to the heart of a problem. If you need someone with a diverse background in business and process improvement, operational management, lean thinking, change management, culture and people development, then she’s the person to talk to.
Jessica is a genuine professional, a fixer and a source of support. Everyone knows her as an excellent trainer and mediator, able to spot opportunities for improvement, and empower people to do their best.
“I get the job done, and I do what it takes to get a good result.”
Luke always had a professional career in mind – his enthusiasm for getting started led to him working in an accounting firm before starting University and during his studies. Practicality is one of his major selling points. Luke appreciates that it’s easy to get lost in the technical details of audit, and blind people with science. His ability to remain in the real world means that clients receive work with real clarity and no over-kill.
One of the key goals in any audit is addressing and mitigating risks – Luke uses his practical skills to think around risk carefully, and to present solutions that are easy to grasp. Luke particularly enjoys the challenge of working through new or unusual technical issues, and identifying things the client hasn’t thought about. He likes to impress clients with his keen technical abilities and some fresh thinking. Clients trust him to do the right thing, and consider him as a safe pair of hands.
“At the end of the day, I want my clients to feel secure in the knowledge I will always strive for the best outcome.”
With a double degree in Corporate Finance and Accounting, Rhys’ love of numbers has been apparent for a long time. He understands the importance clients place on their money, and helps them make the most of what they have.
Rhys thrives on the big picture and tackles clients’ challenges head-on, as if they were his own. He analyses businesses thoroughly and draws on his experience with a diverse range of industries in order to provide considered advice.
Clients rely on Rhys during times of change. He undertakes the role of external CFO for several businesses and led Accru Harris Orchard’s largest sale of a client’s business. He appreciates that selling a business is often a once in a lifetime event and does everything in his power to maximise the outcome for his clients.
Known for his approachable and affable nature, Rhys develops close relationships with his clients. He likes nothing more than knowing his clients are happy with their financial position, allowing them to enjoy the good things in life.
In a nutshell:
A lateral thinker who can solve complex problems to benefit clients.
“There’s always a solution – you’ve just got to think laterally sometimes.”
It was natural for Richard to follow in his family’s footsteps and enter the accounting industry, not least because he enjoys going through a logical process to arrive at an answer. Richard has since applied his skills to many scenarios, especially complex tax. He now leads the tax division at Accru Harris Orchard.
Richard’s unique selling point is being able to think outside the box when assessing a business scenario. His biggest enjoyment comes from solving puzzles in a client’s business or tax situation that don’t have an immediately apparent answer: in fact the more complex the scenario the better! Clients benefit from Richard’s tenacity and ability to explore multiple options to solve a problem. They also appreciate his pragmatic and calm nature, particularly in stressful times like an ATO audit.
Richard ultimately sees his role as being one of optimising the tax and financial position of his clients, whilst managing their exposure to risk. At times this can become complex, due to situations clients can find themselves in, but Richard always keeps the end goal in mind and strives to ensure that a positive outcome is achieved.
In a nutshell:
Approachable, and a safe pair of hands with the details that really matter.
“I enjoy light-bulb moments when I can see what’s not working in a business.”
Sam was always good with numbers: he even won the inaugural accounting prize at school. Adelaide being Adelaide, his father knew someone, which meant a part-time accounting job at an early age. That was over 30 years ago.
His unique selling point is creating empathy with clients. Regardless of whether Sam has to give clients positive news, or tell them something they don’t want to hear, he knows it’s important to do it the right way. In particular, Sam knows he’s done his job well when clients’ needs and wants have been understood and specific, tailored advice has been given that reflects their personal circumstances and mitigates risks.
The biggest thing that clients get from Sam is financial security. They can be confident that everything has been dealt with due to great problem solving skills and Sam’s ability to delve into the nitty gritty. Clients get a virtual ‘employee’ with Sam, who works within and alongside their team.
“I put myself in my client’s shoes.”
Sarah’s analytical mind and problem-solving ability led her into an accounting career, which has been spent both in industry and public practice, in Australia and overseas.
Her unique selling point is something of a two-edged sword: asking questions. To clients, this can mean fantastic results – to colleagues it can present a challenge! Alongside her fairly direct approach to business, Sarah is also able to quickly understand a client’s situation and advise how they could be doing things differently. Her greatest enjoyment comes from giving great advice that delivers real-world client benefits. Those working with her will tell you that Sarah is modest too, and will often draw from the experiences of other clients and colleagues to come up with the best outcome.
Sarah is good at putting herself in the client’s shoes. She regularly takes on board their stress, and then seeks to reduce it through the work she carries out.