‘Wise Advice’ for surviving COVID and beyond
We sat down with managing director of Wise Advice, Brad Golchin, to learn all about his business journey and how Aider helps him run a smarter practice
Brad is a CPA with an extensive background in accounting, business, training, and IT who believes in looking beyond the numbers to help his clients. He started Wise Advice in 2005 with a love of technology and a love of people. For him, advisory is about helping people succeed at what they do best.
The challenges of 2020
Brad witnessed first-hand how COVID-19 impacted small New Zealand businesses. Brad says some clients were particularly hard-hit, like those in the events and tourism sector. “We also saw an increase in stress levels around how to manage cash flow, particularly from our customers in the hospitality sector,” says Brad. However, looking ahead and helping his clients with timely and practical advice helped all his clients stay afloat during the challenges of 2020. Brad is proud to say that Wise Advice didn’t lose any clients.
While some businesses struggled, others thrived. Brad says that for clients who were already set up with eCommerce, sales went through the roof. The difference was they could easily leverage the flexible, remote-friendly processes they already had in place, like contactless and online sales systems.
Providing advice around technology and integrated software systems is a big part of the work Wise Advice does:
“When you see a business suddenly grow fast, that growth comes with its own set of challenges. There are so many decisions to make and business owners can’t always get new staff, so having the right technology is vital. Here at Wise Advice, we help our customers make smart decisions before they make the wrong one.
“As a trusted business partner we help source the best technology solutions to fit our clients’ business needs, like Xero, Receipt Bank, FlexiPayroll, Aider, Loaded Reports and Microsoft BI to name a few.”
Risk Management in COVID-19 times
Risk management all of the sudden became an urgent priority for many business owners in 2020. Brad identifies these four lessons
#1 Anything can happen – prepare and plan for unforeseeable risks
#2 Invest in yourself through business education: the basics of running a business, setting up a budget, identifying your most valued customer, or how to get started with an Instagram profile are a great starting point
#3 Keep an open mind and keep up to date with new technology so you can embrace–not fear–new ways of doing business
#4 Time has value — do whatever you can to cut out the busy work
“People – small business owners especially – came face-to-face with the reality that the unexpected is possible. These days, online sales will make or break their business. Using technology to sell your services is the new norm. People are happier ordering online, more so than six months ago.”
Another key consideration, Brad says, is business operational continuity. Cloud software is how everyone is operating and Brad urges his clients to have access to their entire business files from anywhere at any time.
“When we went into lockdown, businesses whose files were not hosted in the cloud were lost and their operations ground to a halt. Having your business secure in the cloud is important for safety reasons, the insurance of backups, and for customer convenience. Your laptop or mobile can get stolen, but your files can’t if they’re stored in the cloud. COVID was a big wake-up call for many about the risk. Technology exists to support you, so why take an unnecessary risk? It’s all about planning for a rainy day.”
Wise Advice was COVID-19 ready
Brad is a self-described ‘tech geek’ and so runs a technology-led business. This meant that even as the country went into lockdown, it was business-as-usual for Wise Advice. Being tech-focused meant that Wise Advice was ready to help their clients move the way they operate. Brad knew that as pressure mounted on their clients, communication would be critical for minimizing panic.
“We always have communication channels open with regular updates and newsletters, even before COVID hit. But during lockdown, we were communicating every second day. We continued to create video messages and content to give our clients peace of mind.”
If anything, COVID demonstrated that the right technology can ease efficiency, security, and business continuity. Technology is an investment in the future growth and scalability of a business – something that Brad is particularly passionate about telling his clients.
Especially with the emergence of AI tools, Brad knows that technology will continue to help him and his clients work smarter and more efficiently. His team knows that technology is just one piece of the puzzle. Yes, it’s great for saving time and automating administrative tasks, but the human advisory element is still critical.
“My role as an accountant is to talk to my customers about their needs and to continue to give them that human touch. Accountants work with numbers and it is so important for us to really know our customers. As an accountant, I need to build deeper human connections to find the root of the problems so I can give the best advice.”
“Managing cash flow is a reality for all businesses, big or small, and the wrong advice can destroy a business of any size. My clients trust me to see the bottom line – and technology impacts the bottom line of every business today. Understanding technology helps me give my clients great advice and be their trusted partner. ”
If you are already a Xero accounting customer, discover how Aider can help your accounting practice evolve. Talk to us today at firstname.lastname@example.org.