Husband and wife, Eli and Wyndi Tagi, started WE Accounting with a vision – to build an accounting firm that could take the pain out of running a business and help clients focus on their business goals. Director, Wyndi Tagi, says:
“That’s why we called the firm ‘WE’, it’s about building relationships with clients and helping them focus on the things they love to do – and not spending hours on the manual tasks associated with tax and compliance.”
8 years on, WE is a fast growing accounting and business advisory firm, with offices in New Zealand and Samoa.
We spoke to Eli and Wyndi to find out how they have optimised their business processes to give them the time and resources to focus on client relationships and advisory services.
Growing the business
From the outset, Eli and Wyndi knew that for any small business, ‘cash is king’ – and understood that the way they took payments could determine their cash flow position.
“We decided to offer monthly payments, to make sure we had some predictability over the cash coming in,’ Eli says.
Initially, WE offered automatic payments, allowing clients to set up monthly payments from their account. Though automated, Eli and Wyndi soon found that this meant they were heavily reliant on clients to initiate payments on time. Wyndi explains:
The problem was, we were left waiting for the clients to set up the payments and any variable charges or add-ons had to be manually updated by the client as well. This was a pain for us and more hassle for our clients.”
After 6 months in business, Eli and Wyndi started to look at Direct Debit, to help them take control of payments.
They accessed Direct Debit through their bank but the processes involved were still very manual. Eli says:
“Once it was up and running, Direct Debit worked but the process was still so manual. We had to keep a printer in the office because it was all done by paper forms in the post – and it could take over two months to receive the first payment.”
Eli and Wyndi agreed that Direct Debit was still the best way to collect the payments but knew there must be a more efficient way. They discovered GoCardless via LinkedIn and decided to get set up with the GoCardless for Xero integration, as soon as it was available in New Zealand:
It was just so simple – we were already using Xero so the integration was a really big plus. We can get clients set up in minutes and we know that’s it – our payments come in on time and are automatically reconciled against invoices.”
“All of our new clients are paying by GoCardless, and we are working on moving all existing clients over as well. The team is saving 5 - 10 hours a month on admin already – this will likely double as we get more clients paying by Direct Debit,” Eli adds.
Solving client problems
After building a solid tech stack for the firm, Eli and Wyndi wanted to invest the time saved into building out their advisory offering – and thinking about new, innovative ways they can solve problems for their clients. Eli explains:
“My experience working with small businesses is that the owners are full of good ideas but their processes are holding them back. We want to enable our clients to make these ideas a reality, and grow their businesses – rather than spending time on manual tasks that can be done more efficiently by technology.”
These advisory services start from very early communications between WE and their clients. For example, choosing to only work with clients who are using, or agree to start using their preferred accounting software, Xero.
“We have a team of Xero specialists and work with our clients to show them the benefits that it can have for their businesses. By specialising in one software we can recommend the best way to use it and the best add-on apps to meet the specific needs of each client,” says Wyndi.
Once clients are onboarded, WE work with them to recommend other apps that can help their business run more efficiently – even hiring a dedicated member of staff to look at new, innovative solutions. This includes recommending GoCardless, Wyndi says:
“We’re seeing a lot of clients moving to subscription based and recurring revenue business models so we would recommend they use GoCardless. It’s fully optimised for recurring payments – they’ll get paid on time and reduce hours spent on payments admin.”