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Wodonga TAFE NEIS graduate a winner in Australian Accounting Awards 2019

Wednesday, 29 May 2019

Zac Hayes, and his business HA Accounting were announced as the Award winner for ‘Start-up Firm of the Year’ in the 2019 Australian Accounting Awards. “This Award is a huge win for the team and I”, said Zac. “It’s been really great to have all the support of the local community and the TAFE. We are so excited for the rest of the year but a big thanks to everyone for the support.”

The 2019 Australian Accounting Awards were hosted by Accountants Daily and were presented in Sydney on Friday 24 May 2019.

Zac, a graduate from the NEIS program with Wodonga TAFE, was an award winner in the 2018 Awards and in 2019 was a finalist for two individual awards (Young Accountant of the Year and Thought Leader of the Year). Zac’s business, HA Accounting, was also a finalist in four categories (Startup Firm of the Year, Marketing Program of the Year, Fastest Growing Firm of the Year, and Diversity & Inclusion Program of the Year). 

Zac said that he was very excited to share the news with his team. “The team has been passionately committed to our vison and it’s great to see our high calibre of work recognised in our industry.”

NEIS graduate's small business an award winner at Australian Accounting Awards

Wodonga TAFE’s NEIS Coordinator, Kerrie Bonnel, said that Zac came to the NEIS program in 2017 as an experienced and qualified accountant and financial planner who wanted to branch out and start his own business. “Zac has worked hard in creating and pursuing his business dream”, said Kerrie. “With the support of the NEIS program and our experienced teachers in the Certificate III in Micro Business Operations, he started HA Accounting, and has gone on to achieve great success with his small business. We are very proud of his achievements!”

Zac credits his clients as being the impetus towards self-employment, saying they wanted more than he could offer under the governance of other employers. “Meeting with the mentors in the NEIS program made me stop and realise what my clients go through – it wasn’t just creating a business plan, I walked a mile in my clients’ shoes”, said Zac. “I came to the program with plenty of knowledge about how to be an accountant but not how to run a business. You can’t just jump to the finish line and hope the clients follow.”

Zac said that having access to one-on-one mentoring through the NEIS Murray Riverina program was a great way for him to sound off about ideas, frustrations, and concerns. As an accountant and financial advisor, Zac used his time in the NEIS program to learn about the assistance and information that other start-up businesses need in this crucial stage. With the encouragement of his NEIS mentor, Zac offered cross-promotional products, often at near-cost prices, to share his knowledge and experience with other NEIS program participants.

Zac attributes his business success to being able to offer a new perspective to clients, in what is often seen as an unengaging industry. Zac said that he strives to bring a proactive, energetic approach to financial services by challenging clients business ideas, offering new strategies and technologies to make their businesses work for them; not the other way around.

Zac now regularly refers people to the NEIS program, saying it’s a great starting block of knowledge and understanding, “The program puts people through their paces and makes them really think about themselves as a business owner”, said Zac. “You will have to put the work in but the business should work for you and your lifestyle, not the other way around. Passion can only get you so far.”

Zac said one of the best things about being his own boss is being able to create the accounting firm and workplace culture that he has always wanted. Allowing his employees to have the freedom to handle their clients the way they see fit gives them the passion and drive to excel in their field. “It’s a stressful job dealing with other people’s money and livelihoods but we need to have a bit of fun along the way.”





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