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Taking a break, Cloud style

Brad Golchin paused to think for a moment. He was in a castle in Northern Italy, built 1,500 years ago, before anyone knew New Zealand existed. Now he was sitting where the castle’s residents once sat, using Xero and WorkflowMax Practice Manager to file a GST return, and it was just like working out of his Auckland-based office.

He had this thought during a three-week, seven country European tour. “I tried not to think about that kind of thing too much, though,” he told me, “because it drives you crazy.”

As Director of accounting firm Wise Advice, Brad seldom used to go on vacation. A vacation represented time disconnected from his practice. Time where he was unable to answer questions from his clients and staff, and couldn’t even do basic things like filing GST returns. The difficulty of passing on key tasks to others and the stress of knowing how disconnected he was from his clients made vacations more burdensome than relaxing.

This all changed when he started running his practice on Cloud systems like Xero, WorkflowMax Practice Manager and Spotlight Reporting. For the first time ever, he was able to easily go on a stress-free, easy vacation. And not only was it relaxing, it also helped him strengthen his relationship with his clients.

It was a vacation, not a work trip (a fact his wife reminded him of by photographing every time she caught him working). But it was a vacation made possible by the fact that he was able to work in the Cloud if and when he was needed. He was 95% disconnected, and that remaining 5% made all the difference.

Brad’s clients were thrilled that he could go on vacation without interrupting their service. One of his virtual CFO clients has regular meetings to go over the business’s numbers. One of those client meetings was due during his vacation, so he had it over Skype, using the same live data he would have used if he was taking the client out for coffee in Auckland.

The vacation actually built stronger relationships with his clients. Clients, he told me, were skeptical of an accountant who couldn’t leave the office for more than a couple days. “If I couldn’t afford a vacation, how could I advise them on their finances?”

So going to Europe had its share of paradoxes. Going online in a castle. Relaxing by staying connected to his office. And strengthening relationships with his clients by disconnecting from them. All made possible by Brad’s 2010 decision to run his practice in the Cloud.

What will you do to make vacations possible?

 

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14 comments

Guy Pearson
22 August 2012 #

@Brad – Love your work.

Practicing what you preach and showing your clients how it’s done. Lead by example, walk the walk and not simply talk the talk.

When’s the next trip and where to?

Marion Thomson
22 August 2012 #

This is what I dream of and one of the many reasons for signing up to Xero.

fluidity limited
22 August 2012 #

love it! so true and so excellent!

Bob
22 August 2012 #

Sounds horrible.

All these great experiences to be had and up to the eyeballs in work. Rest and relaxation is more important.

I wonder if on his deathbed he’ll look back at the time working on this fantastic trip as time wasted or well spent?

JC
23 August 2012 #

I dare say the people who lived in New Zealand at the time knew it existed. Meh, this smells of publicity stunt. And if not, then I agree with Bob’s sentiments.

Chris
23 August 2012 #

The dark side of cloud computing – being unable to ever get away from work.

Brad Golchin
23 August 2012 #

Thank you @Guy I am off to San Fran next week but for business this time!

@Bob @JC @Chris Through our entire trip (which was more than 3 weeks) I worked 3-4 hours in total and spent the rest of my time with my wife and little son. I think on my deathbed I would definitely look back and remember this fantastic trip I had with my family.The main point is having the option of working if you wanted or needed to. Would you rather have this option or stay in office and use your server based program or if you are a bit more fancy VPN back to your office if you can? Anyway at the end of the day I had a great trip thanks to new technology and I have happy clients who know I am available if and when they need me!

Sue
23 August 2012 #

@JC fyi NZ was only settled by the Polynesians 700 years ago …so which people exactly knew it existed 1500 years ago ???

But back to the topic …I think the cloud is great, you dont have to be tied to a desk and can still monitor your business from anywhere in the world – sounds like a great lifestyle Brad!

Sholto Macpherson
23 August 2012 #

Chris, JC and Bob
You’re missing the point.
The cloud gives you options, it’s not a cure for workaholism.
A workaholic using server software would have no overseas holidays at all.
Brad, sounds like a great holiday.
– sholto

JC
24 August 2012 #

Sorry guys, I was a bit grumpy yesterday morning, the cynic in me came out.

I really do see the benefit of it which is why I’m on the cloud train, it’s just the idea of working on a holiday that gets me down.

And being an Australian ignorant about NZ (despite or perhaps because of a NZ brother in law) I had no idea that it was that young – I read that comment thinking of our 50,000+ year old history.

No more early morning ranting I promise. Please accept my humble apology. Friends?

Ric Thorpe
24 August 2012 #

Nice one @Brad. That looks and sounds like a fantastic holiday. Great work. I totally appreciate how that could have strengthened your client relationships by chatting to them while abroad. Lovely bit of promotion too (well done!).
You’ll find out if you branch out with more offices too that these systems allow much much easier growth. I’ll land in the UK, grab a new laptop and iPhone and I’ll be away laughing! I can’t wait.
All the very best to you Brad – Love your work

Matt
24 August 2012 #

I’m interested to know why you had a laptop? When I’ve done this, I’ve found internet cafes actually solve the problem. No need for any bulky hardware that can get stolen lost broken. Isn’t that the dream of cloud computing? Did you actually need ypur laptop to do anything else other than Xero?

Robbie Dellow
26 August 2012 #

and this is one of the huge benefits of moving to the cloud. Mobility is everything in this day and age and gone are the days of assessing your legacy application from that one office PC. The software models that built companies like Microsoft and MYOB are going the way of the dinosaur.

Brad Golchin
26 August 2012 #

Thank you @Sholto ,No Hard feelings @JC :-)
Thanks @Ric how is the UK office going?
@Matt I just have a first generation ipad and iPhone 3gs so I needed a laptop for skype and also I do lots of typing for my blog which is a lot easier with a laptop, other than that I didn’t really need the laptop you are right. Ah and I would not try internet Cafes in France if you go there, there are not many of them and language is an issue! The other problem is the European keyboards are very different – I did stop at an internet cafe in Italy and found it really difficult to type as they don’t use QWERTY keyboard and I really struggled to get the @ symbol!

@Robbie Ditto ,Microsoft made the effort to offer Office365 which is good cloud base system to have

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