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An Adelaide practice thrives on software and property syndication read full article
…"Who wants to know about $65 tax returns? Not us," he says. "We want clients willing to give us their first call, listen to our advice, guide them on business improvement, and in turn generate high profitability for ourselves."…
Buy your ticket to freedom from compliance work read full article

…Among marketing tools successfully used by his accounting firm are Focus for Results … moving from $2500-a-year compliance work to $15,000 in consulting fees.

Telemarketers reel in big, new clients read full article
…They have coupled their personal marketing with use of the Focus for Results business-needs analysis program and offer a free one-hour interview. This has led to fees of up to $15,000 from single clients...
Break-up paves the way for a growth spurt read full article
…Among marketing tools successfully used by his accounting firm are Focus for Results … moving from $2500-a-year compliance work to $15,000 in consulting fees...

Business Review Weekly
Break-up paves the way for a growth spurt
By Tony Thomas

The Melbourne suburban practice Hansen & Co has leapt to high-growth status after splitting from Greenfield Fox Hansen 14 months ago. Partner Harold Hansen, 50, says fees at his Glen Waverley firm have grown 52% to $775,000 in the past year and $1.1 million is budgeted for this year. Staff are up from seven to 11 and he is considering appointing a marketing specialist before the end of the year.

The firm is allied in marketing and strategy with the Melbourne office of Marc Bruce's Focus Partnership (Hotline, July 6). It is another example of a partnership splitting up over whether to adopt Results Accountants Systems' templates.

"The main reason I broke away was to do a lot more business-development consulting," Hansen says. "I did not want to continue with a compliance-based practice. I have also set up a separate entity, Home Loan Planners, to help clients refinance their mortgages on better terms."

Home Loan Planners has grown in 16 months from one staff member to 20, including five full-time and 15 authorised agents who work full-time selling the company's products. Most are women. The company started when Hansen was running information nights, which a former Esanda executive and personal-development trainer, Peter Berlowitz, attended. Berlowitz admired the product and wrote a business-structuring and marketing plan for Hansen.

Berlowitz says: "Our agents are like franchisees, but without the franchise fees. Most families have no financial goals except paying off their mortgage over 25 years. They get their disposable income each week and, in a word, dispose of it. We aim to change their whole outlook."

Hansen says: "Through innovations like securing a line of credit, with all deposits swept into it, we can get a client huge savings in interest and shorten the loan periods by many years. We are finding the financing work excellent for average household clients who used to just come in for annual tax returns." Non-clients who visit the separate loan entity are offered a free one-hour consultation on any topic with Hansen's accounting firm. "We are picking up two or three new clients a week," he says.

Hansen has been interested in mortgage refinancing work since 1994, but says his then partners could not agree to invest the time and technology needed to create the business.

Among marketing tools successfully used by his accounting firm are Focus for Results; a strategic alliance with leadership motivator Russ Wylie; and strategic planning at $7000 for a one-and-a-half-day session, run for two business clients so far, with another two pending. The fee includes "early yardage" help for a month to ensure quick gains to key performance indicators. Hansen aims to convert these clients to continuous business monitoring programs at $2750 per month. Hansen says that multiple alliances are valuable because keen new clients are willing to take on all services offered, moving from $2500-a-year compliance work to $15,000 in consulting fees. Client benefits are not just in profits but in better lifestyle, he says.

Hansen began practice at St Kilda in 1973 with a partner, Bob Fox. Their firm grew to six partners by 1987, when Hansen and Fox split, with two partners each. Hansen rebuilt his firm to five partners by 1995. A sixth partner, Mechelle Lughermo, joined later.

Greenfield Fox Hansen became three firms after last year's split. In July 1997, it had six partners and 14 staff. Founding partner Hansen took six staff to form Hansen & Co. Two months later, three partners, including Lughermo and three staff, left the other firm and formed Greenfield Partners. The remaining two partners retained the name Greenfield Fox Hansen and five staff.

Hansen now rather regrets that he did not secure rights to his own name in the original firm. He says the parting with the old firm was reasonably amicable although he felt somewhat disadvantaged by the settlement. "I'm happy now to get on with my life," he says.

Accountancy week is edited by Tony Thomas

From Australia's Business Review Weekly magazine,  © 1998 BRW Media, October 5, 1998.