Powerline - Autumn 2015

My Say with Philip Saal

Three years ago, I wrote an article for this newsletter regarding the political environment and the volatility at the time. Today not much has changed at all, except it is the opposite parties involved. At the Federal level, we have conflict over who should be leader - nothing has changed here, except the argument is now with the LNP and not the Rudd/Gillard show. At the State level, the debate is over which party should lead and what sort of majority, if any, should they have. Politics is always a good starter if you want to conjure up feelings of emotions from friends or colleagues - best left alone I say!

If there is uncertainty with the leaders of our country or State, how can people expect business and consumer confidence to be high? Consumer confidence is actually measured as an index and reflects how optimistic or pessimistic consumers are with respect to the economy. The idea is that if consumers are optimistic, they will tend to purchase more goods and services, inevitably stimulating the economy.

According to the ANZ/Roy Morgan’s weekly consumer confidence index fell 1.7% (17th February 2015) to its lowest level since August. Now I am not saying that this is directly related to the uncertainty with our political leaders, but it does play on the minds of individuals.

This is no different to the work place or your individual businesses. It is therefore important to seek the support of others, to help plan through the uncertainty or challenges we may face in our businesses. Our business has prided itself on creating strong relationships, so that you can feel the confidence to engage us, if you need the support, in what is a challenging economic environment.

Toowoomba accountants take national community award

Toowoomba’s leading accounting and financial services firm, Power Tynan, has been recognised for community engagement in the 2014 Australian Accounting Awards.

The firm won the “Community Engagement Program of the Year” award against competition from large and small accounting firms across Australia. The awards are promoted by the AccountantsDaily online newsletter and international software company Reckon.

The award recognises the firm’s activities through its Charitable Trust as well as a scholarship program that offers young people the opportunity to both study at university and work full time with Power Tynan.

“These programs are part of our way to give back to the community that supports us so well,” said Power Tynan CEO Paul Hilton.

“We are grateful for this award. I believe it is a reflection of the way we work as a team in our involvement with our community as well as service to our clients. Our staff make the decisions about the charities we support.”

As well as these major programs, the firm and staff are involved in a range of community activities in the region. For the past two years Board members have committed to the “Hang Ya Boss Out To Dry” fundraiser, 19 male staff raised more than $7,000 during last year’s Movember event and staff are involved directly by participating and volunteering with some of the charities supported by the Charitable Trust.

“We encourage other businesses both in our region and across Australia to become more involved with their communities,” said Hilton. “I hope our success in the Accounting Awards will influence many accounting firms - both large and small - to be more involved with structured charity and community programs.”

Since it was founded in 2010, the Charitable Trust has provided a total of more than $100,000 in funding to a wide range of charities in the Darling Downs from the Toowoomba Hospice, to the Royal Flying Doctor Service, the Cancer Council, the Starlight Foundation, Beyond Blue and many more local and national organisations.

The scholarship program lifts the university fee burden from successful young people while providing full-time work and a salary while they study at university part time. Already four accountants have graduated through the Power Tynan program and another nine are currently studying and working with the firm.

First-hand experience in Flying Doctor donation

The iconic Royal Flying Doctor Service has gained vital new equipment through a donation by Toowoomba’s leading accounting and financial services firm, Power Tynan.

The firm has handed a cheque for $5,000 to RFDS Partnership Coordinator Carolyn Bowes at a brief ceremony in the firm’s head office.

“This is a wonderfully timely gift,” said Ms Bowes. “Two of our aircraft in Queensland urgently need new equipment and this will provide the funds.”

Justin Still, Executive Director at Power Tynan, handed the cheque to Ms Bowes.

“I have seen the amazing work of the Royal Flying Doctor Service first hand,” he said. “I was brought up on a cattle property near Longreach and four of my friends are alive today due to the rapid response and quality care of the RFDS.”

Each year the RFDS conducts more than 290,000 patient consultations, helping more than one person every two minutes. Although they do receive some Federal and State Government funding, they rely on fundraising initiatives and donations to help keep their aircraft flying and to purchase vital medical equipment.

“In Queensland we need to raise about $10 million each year from donations and legacies,” said Ms Bowes. “The demand for our services continues to grow each year, so these funds help purchase and medically equip our 19 aircraft so that we can deliver the finest care to the furthest corners of Queensland.

“For example, this donation will help us replace syringe pumps aboard one of the aircraft at Brisbane and one at Charleville. This vital piece of equipment needs to be replaced regularly and each syringe pump costs $2,400.

“Syringe pumps are used almost daily on our aircraft and at primary health clinics for dispensing and flow control to deliver, for example, pain relief and fluids.”

The donation came from the Power Tynan Charitable Trust and the Morgans Foundation.

As most Australians know from school history classes, The Royal Flying Doctor Service began as the dream of the Reverend John Flynn. He saw the plight of outback families when sickness or injury befell them. In May 1928 the Australian Inland Mission Aerial Medical Service (later renamed the Royal Flying Doctor Service) was opened in Cloncurry, Queensland.

Today, RFDS owns a fleet of more than 60 highly sophisticated aircraft. The Service operates 22 bases across Australia which form a strategic network to support the delivery of quality health care to regional, rural and remote areas.

“Our pilots fly the equivalent of 25 round trips to the moon every year,” said Carolyn. “Every day our doctors and flight nurses tend to about 770 people and transport more than 100 of them.

“Every private and corporate donation helps us stay in the air. We are truly grateful to the Power Tynan Charitable Trust and the Morgans Foundation.”

Staff Anniversaries - Autumn 2015

A few of our staff members have recently celebrated their Power Tynan anniversaries. Andrew Crestani and Brooke Shatte have been with the firm for five years, while Brad Hancock and Toni Jackson celebrated ten years with Power Tynan.


Andrew Crestani

  1. Date & Place of Birth
    10th August, Stanthorpe
  2. Education
    Stanthorpe State High School, B.Com (USQ), Diploma of Financial Planning (Kaplan)
  3. Hobbies & Interests Anything to do with sport, especially football
  4. When did you start working at Power Tynan?
    I started in February 2010 as part of the Scholarship Program
  5. Why did you apply for a job at Power Tynan?
    The Scholarship Program was a fantastic opportunity, and I was lucky enough to be successful.
  6. Why do you enjoy working at Power Tynan?
    Power Tynan has a great team culture and provides an enthusiastic environment to work in.

Brad Hancock

  1. Date & Place of Birth
    23rd January, Toowoomba
  2. Education
    Toowoomba East State School and Downlands College
  3. Hobbies & Interests
    Occasional bike ride or run but mainly dinner and drinks with friends
  4. When did you start working at Power Tynan?
    10th January 2005
  5. Why did you apply for a job at Power Tynan?
    After I left school I was actively involved in sport and was pursuing that as a career, however that changed and it was time for me to look for other opportunities, and Power Tynan was it.
  6. Why do you enjoy working at Power Tynan?
    The people at Power Tynan really make the place. I love working in a fast paced environment with clients as our number one priority.

Toni Jackson

  1. Date & Place of Birth
    8th May, Waimate NZ
  2. Education
    Bachelor of Commerce, CA
  3. Hobbies & Interests
    Gym, running, photography
  4. When did you start working at Power Tynan?
    28th February 2005
  5. Why did you apply for a job at Power Tynan?
    My boyfriend (now husband) had moved to Stanthorpe the year prior, and after 12 months of a long distance relationship, we decided that one of us had to move…that ended up being me!
  6. Why do you enjoy working at Power Tynan?
    I enjoy the work, but really love the people I work with and working in a small community.

Brooke Shatte

  1. Date & Place of Birth
    14th July, Stanthorpe
  2. Education
    I attended St Joseph’s School Stanthorpe for both Primary and Secondary. I have completed a Bachelor of Commerce (majoring in Accounting) at USQ and am currently studying CPA.
  3. Hobbies & Interests
    After purchasing a house with my partner, my hobbies of late have included renovating and spending time in the garden. My other hobby is playing Ladies League Tag for the Stanthorpe Gremlinettes.
  4. When did you start working at Power Tynan?
    I started working at Power Tynan on the 1st February 2010 – my first year out of high school.
  5. Why did you apply for a job at Power Tynan?
    In my final year at school, I did a week’s worth of work experience at Power Tynan and enjoyed it thoroughly as I had a brief exposure to the diverse services the firm offers. Then, upon hearing of the scholarship program, I had an interview with Amanda and Gilda and expressed my interests in working for the firm and studying accounting part time. Although I did not take the scholarship program, I was successful in applying for a job in the Stanthorpe office.
  6. Why do you enjoy working at Power Tynan?
    I enjoy working with a team of motivated and friendly people who support and encourage me both professionally and personally. I also enjoy being able to build relationships with clients and being able to help and guide them through their tax obligations.

Donation helps homeless youth to a happier Christmas

Amanda Dalton & Justin Still

A group of homeless young people in care at The Haven support house in Toowoomba had a happier Christmas because of a timely donation by Power Tynan’s Charitable Trust and the Morgans Foundation.

Together they donated $5,000 just prior to Christmas last year. The Haven Manager Amanda Dalton said: “This amazing generosity could not have come at a better time.”

Ms Dalton said that The Haven Association relies upon private donations to provide many of its resources for young people.

“The Christmas holiday period can be one of stress in families and we have strong demand for all of our services,” she said.

“Some of our young people have nowhere else to go at Christmas so The Haven will provide some gifts and celebrate the day with them in the house."

“We receive government funding but that does not stretch to any services beyond the basic running of the house we maintain for homeless young people.”

The Haven Association maintains a purpose-built six bedroom house on the outskirts of Toowoomba with an additional two bedroom cottage, providing total accommodation for up to eight young people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

“Aged between 16 and 18, the young people come from a variety of backgrounds and circumstance,” said Ms Dalton. “It might be family breakdown, an unsafe environment, abuse or neglect that causes them to be without shelter. We provide transitional residence to help them get on their feet again.”

She said The Haven teaches the young people life skills and support to engage with and complete their education and help them transition back into the community.

“They learn how to cook, they are required the keep the house clean, to shop for food,” she said. “We have a compulsory savings program so they learn some money management skills and eventually we help them find accommodation in the community, whether it be private rental or public housing. Of course, the best outcome is if we can help them and their families to be reunited.”

Justin Still, Executive Director at Power Tynan, said the firm operates its Charitable Trust from donations by staff and clients.

“We have been able to gift more than $100,000 to local charities since the Trust was founded in 2010,” he said.

“The Power Tynan Charitable Trust receives many requests for help. Our staff decide on the charities we help. They have ranged from the Toowoomba Hospice to CareFlight, the Rural Fire Brigade, Lifeline and many more.”

Honour for our latest graduate

Kristelle McCleverty displays her Distinction certificate after graduating last year

Our own Kristelle McCleverty has been recognised in the National Accounting Awards, taking the honour as Australia’s Accounting Student of the Year.

Kristelle graduated from the University of Southern Queensland with a Bachelor of Commerce degree (with Distinction) late last year.

She joined Power Tynan straight out of school under the firm’s scholarship program.

“I had an interest in accounting even at school,” she says. “It was a thrill to be chosen to join the Power Tynan scholarship program.”

It has been a big year for the 21-year-old. As well as the award, completed degree and settling down to work as an accountant, Kristelle has also bought her first home along with sister Sammi.

Sammi is also going through the scholarship program with Power Tynan.

“It was an amazing year. I achieved all my early life goals,” says Kristelle. “And now I’ve bought a new car from savings!”

But 2014 was simply the next step in her career.

“Now I’ve got my head down again beginning study for my CPA accountancy qualification,” she says. “That will be another three years of study.”

“I am also saving to travel. I would like to spend some time in America - particularly sampling the various cuisines of that country.”

“I am so excited about the future. I would encourage anyone with a career in mind to find a business that offers these kind of scholarship and mentoring opportunities. You will be years ahead.”

Client Corner – Pink Poppies

Each quarter we interview one of our clients to get an insight into their business.
This issue we spoke to Lucille Jensen of Pink Poppies in Stanthorpe.

When did your business commence?
We started the planning in June 2008 and, after securing premises and renovating, we opened our doors in November 2008.

What does your business do?
With the support of my husband Michael, we operate a retail gift and homewares store. We had a vision to bring a modern contemporary store to our regional town of Stanthorpe.

What makes your business successful?
You can measure success in a lot of different ways. Your accountant may measure it by the growth in your figures, your customers by having the products they want to buy. We looked for the gaps in our market and for product offerings that weren’t already in this marketplace. To us, success isn’t purely about making a profit - it’s about the work/life balance and the enjoyment that you have working in your business. Our business success has been built on a loyal base of customers that actually enjoy shopping with us. I really enjoy sourcing the stock and seeing the happy smiling faces when you hand over a beautifully wrapped gift. Success can be measured by something as simple as a small child telling you that Pink Poppies is their favourite store in the whole world!

What has been your biggest achievement to date?
Being able to show continued growth in our sales when the retail market has been struggling over recent years. We offer a free gift wrapping service, and with the help of customer donations and our business matching these donations, we have provided around $12 000 to local organisations to assist with their community work.

What is one piece of advice you would give to someone starting up a business?
The biggest key is to plan - you know the old adage, “if you fail to plan, you will plan to fail”. Take the time to research the industry you are looking at venturing into. Use the Government resources that are available for information on industry modeling. Look at what your competitors are doing and try to make a point of difference. Take advice from the professionals you should surround yourself with: your solicitor, accountant, bank manager, business coach, and join your industry association. Always be honest and act with integrity in your business dealings. Treat your staff well, use praise and train them so they have confidence to sell your products or services.

How do you relax from the pressures of being in business?
I enjoy spending time with my family - we have two teenage boys so parenting can be challenging at times! I love to cook and enjoy downtime in my garden.

Staff Spotlight - Autumn 2015

AFG Hall of Fame

On Friday 5th December 2014, Dan Cuthbert and Judy Chapman from our Leasing & Finance team attended the annual Australian Finance Group (AFG) Professional Development and Awards Evening on the Gold Coast.

Dan proudly accepted an AFG Hall of Fame award on behalf of the firm.

The award is presented to those members who have shown 10 years of loyal support to AFG and is a testament to the great relationship we have shared.


Power Tynan Christmas Party

Staff of Power Tynan took part in a Hollywood Murder Mystery for the 2014 Christmas Party, held on Friday 5th December at the Empire Theatre in Toowoomba. The night was packed with fun activities, with everyone vying for a win in order to gain clues to assist in uncovering the ‘murderer’.

 


Christmas Wonderland

On Monday 15th December 2014, members of the Toowoomba office volunteered at the Christmas Wonderland held in Queens Park, an event which raises much needed funds for three major local charities: Lifeline Darling Downs & South West Qld Ltd, Toowoomba Hospital Foundation and Toowoomba Hospice.

Power Tynan volunteers each year at Toowoomba’s Christmas Wonderland to help celebrate Christmas within the Darling Downs community. The staff love the interaction with patrons at this event, and it is yet another way for us to have fun outside the workplace.

The event was a great success, with the weather being a lot kinder than it has in previous years! Our team look forward to participating again this year.


Careflight Visit

On Wednesday 18th February, members of our Toowoomba team had the opportunity to take part in a tour of the RACQ Careflight hangar. It was an ideal way to learn firsthand about the RACQ CareFlight emergency medical and rescue helicopter service operation, which relies heavily on the community’s support, with donations and sponsorship making up almost half of its vital funding.


Wedding Bells

Love is in the air in Toowoomba! Congratulations to Justin Still, who married his partner Elspeth on Friday 2nd January, and Hans Gruenfeld, who married his partner Natalie on Friday 6th March. We wish both Justin & Elspeth and Hans & Natalie all the very best for their future together.

Best wishes also go to Ashley Leighton, who is sporting a lovely new sparkly number after her partner Jake popped the question at the beginning of February!


Congratulations!

Many of our Power Tynan staff members undertake studies while working full time. Well done to all those who have passed their most recent subjects, and a special mention must go to those who are set to graduate:

  • Andrew Crestani of our Toowoomba office, who was also our 2010 scholarship recipient, will graduate with a Bachelor of Commerce majoring in Finance
  • Brooke Shatte of our Stanthorpe office will graduate with a Bachelor of Commerce majoring in Accounting
  • Kathryn Sainsbury of our Toowoomba office will graduate with a Bachelor of Business/Bachelor of Commerce majoring in Accounting & Administration Management.

Congratulations must also go to our junior administration assistant Zoe Kay, who has been elected as School Captain for 2015 at St Joseph’s School Stanthorpe.


Stanthorpe Australia Day Triathlon

The Stanthorpe Australia Day Triathlon is a community event, organised by volunteers such as our very own Dan Cuthbert. This event has been running for four years, and continues to grow in popularity, focusing on encouraging people to just ‘have a go’. There was also a duathlon option available to juniors, because not everyone wants to ride a bike.

The weather this year was perfect, which is a nice change after two very ordinary years!

Overall the event was quite a success, with only a few minor incidents, including some of the kids taking a wrong turn, and the garbo deciding to drive through the closed course and roads to get to the wheelie bins!

 


2015 Scholarship Program

As you may be aware, the Power Tynan Scholarship Program has been in place since 2008. The Scholarship is available to Grade 12 graduates, providing an opportunity to study a business degree (part-time) at USQ while working for our company on a full time basis. We pay the individual’s HECS fees for all successfully completed subjects. The obvious advantage to the scholarship winners is that they have their course fees paid and are in a position where they can apply their knowledge practically and receive valuable on-the-job mentoring and training.

Our 2015 scholarship recipients are Caitlin Ruthenberg, Mitchell Jones and Sarah Ray, who commenced their employment with Power Tynan at the beginning of February. We extend a warm welcome to these new faces and hope they enjoy their time working within our firm.


Walker Wayland Auckland Conference

As an Independent member of Walker Wayland Australasia Limited, a network of independent accounting firms, staff members of Power Tynan attended the team conference held in Auckland from 26th to 28th February. The theme of the conference was ‘Brave’, featuring sessions on energy management and motivation, the power of networking, and bringing out your inner super-hero!

The staff also had the chance to let their hair down at networking events such as the WWA Minute to Win It competition, as well as the closing dinner at Marvel Grill on Wynyard Wharf.


Baby News

Our Toowoomba office has welcomed two little pink bundles of joy into the world, and only a day apart!

Congratulations to Liz O’Shea and her partner Rich on the safe arrival of Caitlin Melanie White, born on Thursday 26th February - weighing in at 9 pound 2! - and to Marsha Kronk and her husband Zac, with Ellie Isabella Kronk arriving on Friday 27th February, 8 pound 6 and tonnes of black hair.

Both mums and bubs are doing well, and we can’t wait for these new recruits to pop in for a visit!


Stanthorpe Social Club

Our Stanthorpe staff recently held their first official social club event, being fish and chips in the park on a Saturday afternoon. Partners and children were invited to attend, and a great time was had by all!


Pride of Workmanship Award

Morena Howard of our Stanthorpe office recently received a Pride of Workmanship award from the Stanthorpe Rotary Club.

Our firm nominated Morena for this award as she is a very valued employee of Power Tynan who has been with us since 2000. Morena is conscientious and professional, taking great pride in her work. She is a team player who is always willing to lend a hand.

Our organisation depends on the efforts of our staff to provide the best service to our clients and Morena definitely fulfills this objective.

Congratulations Morena on this fantastic achievement!