Wilkinson Business Solutions describe themselves on their website as ‘not your typical bean counters’… and they most certainly are not.
When most people picture their accountant, they don’t think of them as a motorcycle rider traveling regional Australia with a camera and laptop.
But since founder and owner, Danny Wilkinson set up Wilkinson Business Solutions eight months ago, he is able to juggle his personal passions for adventure riding and photography, all while continuing to run his regional accounting and business solutions practice based in Casino, NSW.
Not your average accountant
Danny has worked as a professional motorcycle photographer for various magazines and motorcycle distributors over the past 4-5 years. This hobby and side job was kick-started after a close friend passed away and he inherited his camera equipment. He can now be found at motorcycle events and media launches scattered from Cooktown to Alice Springs. However all the while he is logging online to Xero in the evenings and working on the financials for his clients’ businesses.
“Before Xero, keeping my business rolling while on the road would have never been possible,” he says.
“Now I am able to get my calls funnelled through to my mobile. I recently got a blue tooth device for my helmet. I can even have a conversation with a client while riding and dodging kangaroos! I’m always fairly open with my clients when I’m away. I think people like it though – that their accountant is a normal person with hobbies outside of work.”
Why accountants and photography are alike
Danny is breaking the mould of the stereotypical accountant and often leaves people amazed at what he does for a living.
“It’s funny, I’ll cover an event like a five-day ride out in the bush with 150 people, and they will often ask if it’s what I do full-time,” said Danny. “Initially I was a bit cagey, as admitting you’re an accountant can drum up weird pre-conceived impressions of you.”
However, Danny says the line between photography and accounting is not as dramatically different as people think.
“What many people don’t realise is that all the flashes and settings are actually mathematical equations,” says Danny. “So while people think of photography as a creative outlet, they don’t realise there can be a lot of mathematics to it. With my background, it actually allows me to do calculations quicker and more accurately than many photographers. You have to play to your strengths!”
Danny only started his own practice eight months ago. Despite it helping him establish more flexibility for himself, he said it’s been very hard work. He left behind a partnership in a larger practice to go out on his own. As part of that deal he was able to take his client base that was mostly on Xero. The ones who were on other providers have since switched over to Xero, taking the advice of Danny and his team.
“For us to do the job we want to do for our clients, we believe Xero’s transparency provides us with the best platform to give them the most value. The amount of time Xero saves our clients is really amazing. For instance, we are currently working with a lady who runs a fair sized business. She really wants to stay focused on how to take her business to the next level. We have been able to save her a full day of admin by switching her over to Xero. She used to spend her entire Sunday doing payroll and we’ve been able to automate much of it for her.”
Building an advisory practice for the future
The vision for Wilkinson Business Solutions was different from day one. They wanted to look after all business solutions for small businesses. Now with four staff they can do all the financial work. As well as HR and workplace safety, web development, marketing, branding and photography.
“We have a lot of startup clients and we want to fill in the gaps for them. When I was previously at a more traditional accounting firm a multi-service offering was being able to do tax and BAS statements. I want to spread beyond that with true advisory services and say, ‘these are the numbers but have you thought about how you’re going to move beyond them?’”
“I know it’s a rare vision but I honestly think it’s where our industry will end up,” said Danny.
Danny says the business is now really starting to take off and he’s excited to see where it will go.
“The accounting industry is changing rapidly. The emergence of the cloud allows so much more freedom and flexibility for our clients and for my own business.”
“It really is such a chalk and cheese routine. I know how lucky I am to be able to run my business the way I do. I go from being very traditional in an office, to being in the middle of Australia living out of a backpack. But what’s truly amazing is that I’m able to perform the same tasks for my clients no matter where I am.”