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