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SMALL BUSINESS ACCOUNTING
MOST VALUABLE PLAYER

by Small Business Accounting,
last updated 18/09/2017

Plain-talking SBA franchisee understands what small business needs

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Peter Fussell SBA: 'Not being an accountant can actually be an advantage'

Peter Fussell SBA: 'Not being an accountant can actually be an advantage'

Peter Fussell knows a thing or two about money – and business. He spent 17 years in commercial banking with Westpac, then 12 years as a wholesale distributor to the restaurant and hotel market. ‘That was a whoa-to-go operation,’ he explains. ‘I began with zero and built it into a $5 million operation with 18 full-time staff. When I eventually sold it, the question was, “What should be my next step?” 

‘A meeting with Adam Parore of Small Business Accounting (SBA) convinced me that here was something that could interest me, as I’d always enjoyed working at the small business level and even though I wasn’t a qualified accountant I knew a lot about business. So in February 2014 I opened a brand-new SBA outlet in Dannemora.’ 

Peter hasn’t looked back since. Through hard work, determination and impressive time management, he now has 230 clients despite having no full-time staff. In 2016, he won the franchise’s Most Valuable Player award. 

the brand is the driver

So how has Peter achieved such success so fast? 

‘First and foremost, the brand is the driver,’ says Peter. ‘It is the SBA brand that brings people to the door. I’m in Botany Junction, which is a centre for retail, professionals and eateries and just round the corner from a bank. Once awareness came, so did the clients – and once you are eye-to-eye with them, it’s up to you whether they stick around or not.’ 

Peter believes in plain talking. ‘So often I’ve met small business owners who have been to a big accountant and walked out muttering about not understanding a word that was said. Empathy is the key, because so many accounting issues are put in the “too-hard” basket until it’s too late. I have experience in, and passion for, small business, and I can translate the needs into clear language the most accountaphobic owner could wish for. My great satisfaction is being able to add value to small or medium-sized businesses.’ 

enormous advantages

At the heart of SBA’s success – 50 outlets in New Zealand with over 20,000 clients, plus 23 in Australia – lies another thing Peter Fussell is passionate about: cloud-based accounting. ‘SBA has a special relationship with Xero, which offers enormous advantages over the traditional accounting model of dropping off a bunch of receipts and bank statements at the accountant and waiting six months to see how well you have done – or how badly,’ Peter says. 

‘With Xero both my clients and I can be 100 percent up-to-date on their financial position: P&L, GST, liabilities, balance sheet, the whole lot. 

‘We offer a range of services to clients, and with only an hour on Xero each morning I can keep all 230 of them up-to-date with all their transactions from the day before, and run off a set of annual accounts inside an hour. The SBA systems make this a very empowering tool for us as franchisees, and it means business owners can have a snap-shot of their exact financial position at any given point. With SBA, they are never flying blind but can see exactly how everything is tracking month-by-month, year-by-year or day-by-day.’ 

work anywhere, reduce costs

‘Furthermore,’ continues Peter, ‘Not only is it simple to operate but, used properly, it’s not just an accounting package but a business management tool. Being cloud-based means you can access it anywhere with available wi-fi. I have a client in Wellington who reconciles his Xero files as he’s sitting on the train every day. It really gives business owners the ability to avoid being office-bound, and that means they have more time to do what they do best and grow their businesses.’ 

The cloud-based aspect helps Peter another way, too. ‘Rather than having full-time office-based staff, I’m able to keep my overheads down by having contractors who can log in for a few hours when needed to help with throughput. That saves the costs and constraints of having to manage someone on-site.’ 

a broad perspective

‘SBA franchisees don’t need accounting qualifications,’ says general manager Craig Gardiner. ‘What they do need is some of Peter’s passion and experience in small business or finance. The adoption of Xero by all SBA outlets has opened a new era in how we collaborate with our clients, improving client service and improving the bottom line for all our franchisees. It’s a winning formula and our success means we still need franchisees for additional SBA outlets in many areas. We are very keen to hear from anyone with a suitable background.’ 

The franchise costs $42,000 +gst, with an additional $15,000 needed for shop fit-out and other capital investment. 

Peter concludes, ‘My skills are in client relationships and understanding what businesses really need. Not being an accountant can actually be an advantage, as I was discussing with a client recently. Without criticising, accountants can be a bit myopic, whereas I have a much broader perspective. With the SBA tools I can stand back from the scene and add value in many different areas. If you have those skills and understand the fundamentals, you can succeed in SBA. After all – I have!’   

See this advertorial on page 37 of Franchise New Zealand magazine Year 26 Issue 2

Contact details for Small Business Accounting

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advertiser info: franchise business opportunity

industry business & commercial investment $45,000 + gst number in NZ 53 and globally 80 FANZ member yes
contact Adam Parore telephone email find out more listing funding info

advertiser info

industry business & commercial email phone
investment from $45,000 + gst
FANZ member no
number in NZ 53
number globally 80
contact Adam Parore

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