At a glance
Liz Moore FCPA, CEO of Melbourne-based Bluebird Accounting, believes “financial happiness” means different things to each of her clients. It could be the ability to afford a holiday, not worrying about any surprises from the taxation office, retiring early or taking a career break to spend more time with the kids.
As to how Moore herself defines professional happiness, “it’s bringing in that ability to be financially happy and secure that can relate back to your lifestyle and knowledge”, she says.
“Clients know that we’ve got their back, and that we’re honest and transparent in the dealings that we have with them, so that anything isn’t a small question or a silly question. They can still come to us and ask us and feel secure in where they are sitting financially.”
A meaningful difference
Moore started on this path when she was studying for her bachelor of commerce degree at La Trobe University, and then started working in public practice at a small Melbourne firm.
Having initially assumed that she would join one of the Big Four firms, she quickly discovered that she preferred working with individuals and small and medium-sized businesses.
“I really enjoy helping people, because you hear their stories and you also have the opportunity to make that meaningful difference to their life, through empowerment of knowledge,” she says. “Rather than seeing that one section of the ship, you get to see the whole ship, so I really enjoyed that.”
At the age of 25, and after obtaining her CPA qualification, Moore started her own practice, named Count My Beans. She expanded her client base from individuals to trusts and companies. Eventually, Moore’s husband Julian Shimmin – also a CPA – joined the family firm.
The two merged their client lists and shifted responsibilities, as Moore worked flexibly while looking after the couple’s two young children. Shimmin was now a director and Moore the CEO, with their skills complementing each other well: “He’s very strong in the technical side, and I’m very strong in the client management side.”
In January 2014, the firm became known as Bluebird Accounting, a moniker Moore says denotes happiness. Bluebird focuses on small to medium-sized businesses – particularly consultancies – because Moore says she understands their challenges, and consultancies appreciate the value she can bring beyond tax and compliance services.
“We have that sort of relationship where they know that we have their back unconditionally, and they know that we have that higher value to them.
“It just makes that working relationship really good, because we are on the same page, and they know that we are there just to help them,” she says.
Moore hopes that, in the future, the firm will significantly increase the proportion of consultancy work, with services such as business planning, strategy and proactive management.
In the meantime, Bluebird Accounting is growing rapidly, and Moore expects to be adding two or three new staff members each year to the current staff roster of six.
Learning how to cope with the challenges of rapid growth, particularly in finding people to fit the culture, is serving as a good test case for Bluebird’s clients into the future.
One piece of advice
“Be kind to others, and be kind to yourself. When you display the kindness to others, or yourself, you create opportunities to learn and grow in so many different ways.”