The opportunity to start their own business from scratch − and to experience the quintessential New Zealand beach lifestyle − led this professional Kiwi couple from London to Mangawhai.
A decade on, Lyndsay and Adam Strong’s chartered accountancy practice is thriving and the family is thoroughly grounded in the local community.
Lyndsay says: “Our peers were settling in big cities, working for large companies. But we wanted our children to grow up here with the sun, sand and surf.”
Lyndsay’s family bach in Mangawhai was a major draw card. It allowed the couple to try the move before committing fully, and with Auckland only one-and-a-half hours away they could easily get their ‘city-fix’ when they needed it.
“Coming from London, that’s not a bad commuting time,” Lyndsay says.
Settled in Mangawhai they each embarked on their own venture of self-employment. Lyndsay started the chartered accounting practice and Adam was a partner in a building company for several years before joining her. They realised that combining their talents would be advantageous in establishing one business while also raising a family.
Looking back on those early years, Lyndsay says that self-employment is not for the faint-hearted.
“It required a lot of hard work and dedication to get the business up and running. But we knew that the international experience we had amassed between us gave us a really sound, broad base. In a semi-rural location like Mangawhai, you need to be able to apply your skills to all sorts of problems.”
Lyndsay isn’t your typical ‘public practice’ accountant. She started there, then switched to large companies, travelling the world and working for some major corporates including Forestry Corporation, Fletcher Forests, Axa and Aviva (the second-largest insurance company in the world at the time), Barclays Fund Managers and in private banking.
Adam, highly motivated, started his career in chartered accountancy so has come full circle having worked extensively in the manufacturing, freight, banking and construction sectors with high profile companies such as Unilever, Mainfreight, Tait & Lyle, and Barclays Bank.
That was ten years ago.
Adam and Lyndsay now value the great relationships they have with their customers and the community, and love the place in which they have chosen to immerse themselves.
Their customers cover the spectrum from traditional farming, olive and wine growing, to aquaculture, construction, retail and wholesale, importing, hospitality, professionals, services and maintenance roles, rental and investments. Some 80 per cent of their customers are business-people from local towns, while the remaining 20 per cent are from throughout New Zealand and overseas.
Questions they are commonly asked − aside from those about tax compliance − relate to land and property transactions; starting, buying or selling a business; moving to or from Australia; accounting software and systems; debt management with IRD; ACC; employment; trusts; and structuring business affairs.
Strong Chartered Accountants offer the full spectrum of accounting services with particular expertise in giving advice, taxation and accounting systems. They pride themselves on the fact that their breadth of knowledge, practical approach and broad business backgrounds mean that customers don’t have to rely on ‘city based’ firms to get specialist advice.
Over the past year they have implemented some exciting changes to the business.
“We like to do things simply. Having said that, we’ve also embraced innovation and technology and now qualify as a modern practice.”
Despite new technology they still rely primarily on good old hard work and two key values: honesty and integrity.
“Systems like Xero can really change your relationship with your accountant and the way you interact.”
There are opportunities to use technology to improve profit and they are all for that.
They are highly skilled, experienced professionals. Over the past ten years they have focused on building a sound base to their accounting practice and with the changes they have implemented over the past year to be ‘best of breed’ they now look forward to the next chapter in their story.
The Strongs have a great sense of pride through being involved with a number of organisations in the community. This includes voluntary work on annual reviews for non-profits, compiling non-profit accounts, coaching sports teams, being part of groups that have achieved some significant projects and most recently for Lyndsay, as a Board of Trustee’s member for Mangawhai Beach School.
They both agree: “It’s an important part of enjoying where we live and contributing to our community.”
VALUES: Hard work, honesty and integrity are the foundations of their business say Lyndsay and Adam Strong.