Our clients come from many industries and every single one requires a unique approach.
In 2019, GeersSullivan helped the Stephen Michael Foundation set up the financial and governance infrastructure that has seen this not-for-profit grow from five staff and a single funding stream to a multimillion dollar operation with over 30 staff.
We are exceptionally proud of the role we continue to play in ensuring the Stephen Michael Foundation can provide even more disadvantaged WA kids with their amazing programs.
The Stephen Michael Foundation was established by the South Fremantle Football Club to help disadvantaged youth become valued members of their communities. It is named after one of WA’s most prominent footballers, Stephen Michael, who is a great role model and the foundation’s actively involved patron.
The Stephen Michael Foundation runs sports-based wellbeing, education, leadership, training and employment programs in metropolitan and regional communities. Research has found that sport helps to increase school participation for those who are disengaged and experiencing challenges at home or school. Beginning with a pilot program in partnership with Fremantle College and the Town of Meekatharra, the foundation now reaches over 10,000 young people across WA.
GeersSullivan was first became involved with the Stephen Michael Foundation in 2019, with Director Ashley Dawson being a Board Member. The foundation was growing rapidly. Though the South Fremantle Football Club initially offered administrative support, the Stephen Michael Foundation soon needed their own dedicated level of governance and financial management services.
GeersSullivan offers the Stephen Michael Foundation our specialised CFO suite, as a cost-effective alternative to an internal financial management role that we can scale to suit an organisation’s particular size and needs. We maintain an ongoing operational understanding so that we can offer the following services:
- Financial management (e.g. budgeting, accounts payable/receivable and payroll)
- Strategic advice, including financial analysis and reporting at an executive and Board level
- Supporting human resources requirements, including the development of policies, governance strategies and processes,
- Regulatory compliance
- Supporting funding applications and acquittals
This means regular contact to ensure that all of the Foundation’s needs are being met and that we’re accessible to the management team and all employees. Like in footy, it’s a team effort when it comes to achieving (kicking!) our goals.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, we increased the frequency of our discussions with Chief Executive Officer Paul Mugambwa and the management team to a daily touchpoint. We assessed different potential scenarios and opportunities, to ensure that all available government support could be accessed and the Foundation could continue its operations during the pandemic.
GeersSullivan has helped the Stephen Michael Foundation by:
- Professionalising the foundation to a very high level, increasing its capacity and performance in terms of its systems and processes, and ensuring sustainable growth (in Paul’s own words)
- Increasing internal and funding body confidence in the organisation’s financial and governance processes
- Ensuring compliance with the regulations for not-for-profit entities, including the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission (ACNC) and Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC)
- Improving insight in both day-to-day financial management and strategic direction (including assisting with the Stephen Michael Foundation Strategic Plan)
- Increasing cashflow resilience as a not-for-profit relying on multiple income streams, including weathering the storm of the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuring no staff were lost
- Supporting successful grant applications with strategically targeted funding streams and streamlined grant acquittal processes, including effective reporting and allocation of staff time
- Offering personal tax support to all staff, including income tax returns, understanding salary sacrifice opportunities and how to best structure their personal finances
“What we receive from GeersSullivan is far beyond what we’re paying for – not only is their capability extraordinary, they share a genuine passion for what we do.
The access to their team for all levels of our staff, no matter how big or small a query, is unparalleled. We can’t thank GeersSullivan enough for the difference they’ve made to us, or recommend them highly enough.” – Paul Mugambwa, Stephen Michael Foundation
If you’d like to know more about the Stephen Michael Foundation or get involved, visit their website.
Over the years, GeersSullivan has assisted Dr Richard Williams to become full owner of Aardent Dental Centre, purchase its premises within a self-managed super fund and restructure the business entities to be more tax-effective.
It has been very rewarding to help Richard achieve his goals.
Established over 30 years ago, Aardent Dental Centre is based in Victoria Park. The name comes from the word ‘ardent’, signifying the team’s passion for helping to improve the oral health of people in their community.
Having previously worked with Director Chris Grieve, GeersSullivan was approached by owner Richard in 2013. His mentor and business partner was retiring and Richard wanted to buy the remaining half of Aardent Dental Centre. It was in his best interest to engage a separate accountant and we have been Richard’s accountant ever since.
As well as acquiring the outgoing partner’s 50% ownership of Aardent Dental Centre, the transaction also involved purchasing the commercial property that Aardent Dental Centre operates out of, which Richard’s business partner solely owned.
GeersSullivan helped Richard to set up a self-managed super fund to purchase the property while also simplifying the business’ accounting structure by rolling the two partnerships into a single entity; transferring employee contracts and entitlements and so on. We also transferred Aardent Dental Centre across to Xero’s cloud-based accounting software in conjunction with his internal bookkeeper.
With many years of experience helping in the purchase of sale and businesses, GeersSullivan really understands the logistical details and can advise on what needs to happen – everything from transferring the trading name to dividing up assets and even printing new business cards.
GeersSullivan continues assisting Aardent Dental Centre with their ongoing bookkeeping, superannuation and GST compliance, end-of-year financials, taxation planning and generally being responsive to the issues that arise from time to time with any small business.
Additionally, GeersSullivan has helped Richard to restructure the entities that Aardent Dental Centre operates out of, with the long-term view of accessing previously unutilised deductions and improving the overall tax position of the business and the family trust.
Since 2013 we have helped Richard and Aardent Dental Centre to:
- Smoothly transition business ownership while simplifying the business structure
- Purchase the Aardent Dental Centre premises within the self-managed super fund, which represents a good financial investment and more favourable tax environment
- Reduce Richard’s tax liability by restructuring the business entities more effectively
- Transfer to Xero’s cloud-based accounting software, which offers greater, real-time financial insight
- Proactively plan towards further wealth creation and Richard’s long-term retirement
“GeersSullivan has helped to refocus what needs to be done on the financial side of things. We work really well together and Chris and the team are always so contactable. GeersSullivan really know the rules and regulations and are prepared to think outside the box to figure out effective solutions. I feel really supported.” – Dr Richard Williams
We’re proud of the longevity of our business relationship with Red Dirt Personnel Group (Red Dirt), and Greg and Lesley Hobbs.
GeersSullivan has worked alongside Red Dirt from when it first launched and it’s been very rewarding to see the business flourish over the years.
Red Dirt is a recruitment company that specialises in supplying temporary and permanent labour to the resources sector. Amongst Red Dirt’s clients are Barto Gold Mining Pty Ltd, St Barbara Limited, Millennium Mineraly Pty Ltd, Regis Resources Limited, Wiluna Operations Pty Ltd and Steinert Australia Pty Ltd.
A family-owned business, Red Dirt was founded by Greg and Lesley Hobbs in 2002 and they’ve been personal and professional clients of ours since GeersSullivan was established in 2003.
GeerSullivan is always available to act as an honest sounding board for Greg and Lesley, offering proactive advice and working with them to maximise the financial and tax outcomes of any decisions they make for themselves and the business.
Our role has evolved from when we were first engaged to produce Red Dirt’s quarterly accounts and provide financial and tax advice as they needed.
In 2004, Greg started looking into purchasing the office that Red Dirt operated from. Through a considered process, Managing Director Andrew Sullivan determined that the most financially beneficial method was to establish a self-managed super fund and purchase the property via contributions to the fund.
To this day, Andrew remembers the exact sizeable sum that this approach saved Greg and Lesley in taxes both immediately and annually. It also marked the point at which GeersSullivan began advising on Red Dirt’s broader structure, including the financial systems and self-managed super fund.
Nowadays, Greg and Lesley’s son, Justin, and daughter, Nicole, take care of Red Dirt’s day-to-day operations while Greg oversees the finances.
Our personal work with Greg and Lesley has also transitioned towards retirement planning, superannuation and investment advice.
GeersSullivan has worked with Greg and Lesley throughout the lifecycle of their business and careers – from initially setting up Red Dirt to creating financial stability and, more recently, transitioning into planning, preparing and funding their eventual retirement.
The longevity in our business relationship, as well as our expert teams for business-related finance, taxation, superannuation and systems advice, has meant that GeersSullivan has:
- Advised Greg and Lesley on the best structure for establishing the business
- Ensured a significantly favourable tax outcome at the time the office was purchased by advising Red Dirt to form a self-managed super fund
- Continued to maximise the tax benefits of managing investments through the self-managed super fund (especially when considering the accumulative impact over more than 15 years)
- Transitioned Red Dirt to Xero, which enables a much more efficient and comprehensive snapshot of the business’ financial position
- Helped contribute to the success and increased financial stability of the business from when it started to now
“GeersSullivan are approachable forward-thinkers who have given us excellent advice during Red Dirt Personnel Group’s different business phases. They always put things in layperson’s terms, so we know we’re making informed decisions about what’s best for us and the business.
“We’ve built up a lot of trust with GeersSullivan over the years, and Andrew is even the executor of our estate. GeersSullivan is the all-round package for personal and business advice – and I sleep a lot better knowing things are taken care of!” – Greg Hobbs, Director
GeersSullivan has helped Jonathan and Kirstie Kemble to grow their wholesale business and pursue exciting new opportunities.
Recently opening two retail outlets at the newly developed Yagan Square, Perth Gourmet Trader has joined the vibrancy of Perth’s food and wine landscape. GeersSullivan is proud to have contributed to this success.
In 2010, Jonathan and Kirstie Kemble established Perth Gourmet Trader, a wholesale fine food and wine company. Though originally the business was the Western Australian franchise of a national company, in April 2017 the husband and wife duo branched out on their own.
Known as the ‘curators of flavour’, Perth Gourmet Trader carefully selects each premium product to ensure an exceptional culinary experience for their clients, who range from Optus Stadium to Petition and Deli Divine.
Since then Jonathan and Kirstie have expanded Perth Gourmet Trader into two retail ventures at Yagan Square’s Market Hall that showcase their high quality products – Perth Gourmet Trader Deli and Wheat St, a European inspired restaurant that serves pasta, bruschetta and salads.
Coming from a chef and banking background respectively, Jonathan and Kirstie were new to business when they started Perth Gourmet Trader. Therefore, at first our Associate Director, Ashley Dawson, assisted them with their cash flow, pricing, lodgements and so on with the ultimate goal of profitability. Later, Ashley and the GeersSullivan team provided strategic analysis and advice regarding taxation and financial planning.
When the opportunity arose to open two retail outlets, Ashley assisted Jonathan and Kirstie with their application to the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority (MRA). The tendering process was very comprehensive and included anticipating the foot traffic from various points in Perth and Northbridge and the amount of coffees, alcoholic beverages and food that would be purchased.
Once Jonathan and Kirstie were successful in their application, Ashley and the GeersSullivan team began the process of helping to secure financing. After the building and fitout at Yagan Square was finished, Perth Gourmet Trader Deli and Wheat St opened on 28 February 2018.
We have also assisted Jonathan and Kirstie with how to structure the businesses to operate side-by-side in the most tax-effective manner possible, with Perth Gourmet Trader providing stock to Wheat St and the Perth Gourmet Trader Deli.
Jonathan and Kirstie are both hands on and, as proactive business owners, like to understand GeersSullivan’s financial strategies. Over time, this has meant that they’re in a better position to plan, anticipate potential issues and address them.
Over the years Ashley and the GeersSullivan team has helped Jonathan and Kirstie to:
- Source financial software that is better suited to Perth Gourmet Trader’s needs and volume of business
- Manage cash flow and increase overall financial stability and profitability, which allows them to grow their business and pursue lucrative opportunities
- Engage a bookkeeper to monitor their weekly and monthly finances, which has freed Kirstie to focus on their core business activities
- Successfully complete the tender process for Yagan Square
- Establish two new retail outlets, including securing finance for the fitout
- Structure their businesses to maximise profitability
“GeersSullivan has become part of the Perth Gourmet Trader family. We couldn’t imagine running our businesses without them. They really ‘get’ what we do and who we are as people. The GeersSullivan team has empowered us to grow and expand, and are so supportive of what we want to achieve. In fact, they regularly check in with us to see how we’re going. We wouldn’t trust anyone else with our finances.” – Jonathan and Kirstie Kemble, owners of Perth Gourmet Trader, Kemble Foods and Wheat St.
We’ve helped the Kimberley Aboriginal Law & Cultural Centre (KALACC) achieve greater financial insight. In turn, they’re now in a better position to allocate funding to their programs and create an even greater positive impact on their community.
KALACC is an Aboriginal corporation, which is a specific type of not-for-profit legal entity. They support the traditional cultural practices of the 30 Aboriginal language groups of the Kimberley region in Western Australia.
KALACC receives funding from up to 30 streams at any time, including government bodies and private sector corporations. Therefore, their financials are especially vast.
When GeersSullivan first started working with KALACC in October 2015 their financials were approximately 6–12 months behind. This made it difficult to aptly allocate funding to their activities or know exactly what was left to spend within their grants.
Additionally, with programs often funded by several grants there’s more to track than your average not-for-profit. As Wes says, KALACC’s finances are “a bit like a juggling act – there are always balls in the air and things being shifted from one place to another!”
GeersSullivan’s role can be likened to an external Chief Financial Officer and accountant in one. As well as completing financial reports and assisting with grant acquittals, we also help with strategic planning, provide guidance regarding salary issues and so on. Tom even travels to Broome every 6 months to be part of KALACC’s Annual General Meeting or brief the Board.
It’s a collaborative relationship where we’re responsive to KALACC’s specific needs, such as holding training sessions with staff. We translate the financial things so that KALACC’s team can make informed decisions about how best to spend their funding.
In fact, Tom exchanges emails with Wes most days and has such an extensive knowledge of the organisation and its staff that he feels like one of the team. You might say that we’re KALACC’s southern division, 3,000 kilometres away.
GeersSullivan has helped KALACC by:
- Implementing systems that increase operational efficiency and the effectiveness of financial data
- Providing a comprehensive, up-to-date snapshot of their financials
- Increasing the timeliness of reliable, accurate information
- Allowing for better allocation of funding streams to relevant programs and eliminating incidents where funding has had to be returned
- Empowering staff with the knowledge and surety to make informed decisions and plan strategically
- Allowing Wes to divert his attention to more pertinent matters for the organisation, such as sourcing new funding and developing new programs
- Listening to the staff’s needs, helping them to learn and building their confidence in their own financial management
Through our work with KALACC we’ve seen the subtle yet large impact this increased financial insight has had for their organisation and the wider community. It’s very rewarding work.
“I really appreciate how enthusiastically GeersSullivan has entered our juggling act – learning about our organisation, really understanding what’s needed, being extremely responsive and working in a collegial way. It’s good to work with people who have such a commitment to us.” – Wes Morris, KALACC Coordinator
We’ve been right alongside the owners as they’ve grown their real estate business from a two person partnership to a 25-strong team.
When the daily commute to Rockingham became too much for Scott, we helped him transition out of the business and begin working on new projects.
Roger and Scott initially approached Chris in 2005 to do a valuation and due dilligence on a local real estate agency they were considering buying. The numbers made sense and they went ahead, with Chris handling the ASIC secretarial work to move the transfer along without a hitch. In 2006 the Perth property boom hit, enabling Roger and Scott to grow the business rapidly. All throughout this process, Chris provided periodic reporting and analysis and discussion of business metrics, managing the expansion and looking at what effects the commitments in leasing and staff numbers had on the business. This level of collaboration meant the partners could pursue their goals without stretching themselves too far.
In time, Scott decided he wanted to pursue other projects and together we began working on a succession plan that would provide a fair outcome for both owners.
Chris’ longtime relationship and regular communication with Roger and Scott meant that the conversation around succession happened naturally and in the course of their meetings. This allowed Chris to develop a plan more efficiently than if they had been a brand new client without the benefit of history and assured compliance.
A considered and carefully structured succession plan allowed Roger to buy out Scott’s share of the company and Scott to exit with a handsome return on his investment—with minimal tax implications for both. Roger took over the reins with his wife Melinda, continuing to grow the business and establishing a second office in Baldivis in 2013. They now have over 25 staff and Chris continues to work closely with the business.
“My decision to work with Chris was the best business decision I ever made” Roger Moorhouse
We developed a tailored strategy to allow the company founders to exit through a gradual management buyout.
Our relationship with RM Surveys began as an independent company accountant. (Both owners have their own personal accountants.) In addition to handling the company’s Tax Compliance, we would meet quarterly to look at their results, define KPIs and talk about where the business was going. A couple of years ago the conversation turned to succession and both owners were looking to exit the business with slightly different timeframes.
There were a number of good young people in the business who the owners wanted to develop into a strong management team and give them the opportunity to take over the business gradually. Along with the owners, we created a bespoke funding model for each individual to show how they could generate funding and buy into the business over time—something that made everybody happy.
As the company accountant, our role is to ensure continuity and the best result for all shareholders of the company. Three people from the management team bought in a year ago and are now looking at their next buy-in. The owners now have a succession model in place timed over 7 years to allow them to phase out their involvement and sell their equity in the business.