When Tim Hale and Troy Townley decided to set up HTA Advisory in 2008, the GFC wasn’t part of the plan. But the financial crisis brought their purpose into focus from day one.
“It was an interesting time,” reflects co-founder Troy. “But in retrospect it was positive, as it helped us to work closely with clients from the outset during what were some tough times for them.”
Looking back on the GFC
“Some of our earliest clients were in a pretty dark place,” he says. “Their livelihoods were on the line and we had to work closely together from the get go. Daily goals were set, and regular meetings took place to help them keep their family home and business.”
Troy and Tim were ahead of the game for the time, realising that clients wanted more than straightforward number crunching. “We always wanted to be advisors, not just number crunchers. And we knew clients wanted this too. The GFC brought in like-minded clients, who were heavily exposed to debt. We could reassure them and let them know how to work through these issues at the time.”
“This meant we were working in partnership from the start, which is exactly how we intended to work – as partners and advisors.”
Kicking platinum goals
These experiences shaped their big-picture purpose, which is to serve clients, and eventually led to recent platinum partner status.
“It so great to reach platinum partner status,” says Troy. “And we’re really proud of the achievement. But for us, it was never our primary goal – it’s a seriously good byproduct of our focus on customer-centric service.
“To best service your customers, you need the best software to help you work in partnership with them. Xero was the software for us and things grew from there. You can then benefit the personal and business lives of our clients, and the community as a whole.”
The wider community is a big part of HTA Advisory’s big-picture approach; the firm donates the equivalent of 180,000 ‘impacts’ over 12 months.
“We work with B1G1 because we were looking for a way to give back to the community, in a way that aligns with our values and beliefs,” says Troy.
“Every time we lodge a tax return we do a ‘giving’ through B1G1. It’s usually centred around training bookkeepers in third-world countries or e-learning. And every time a team member has a birthday, we donate a goat to a village in need, and the team member receives a gratitude certificate.
“We also donate 2.5 percent as part of our new client’s first year fees and we send a gratitude certificate to these clients too.”
A long-term future
The future vision is clearly mapped out for HTA Advisory, says Troy: continue more of the same values-driven work.
“We want to keep growing as a business and working with clients who are aligned to our values,” he says.
“We will focus on making sure our clients’ compliance needs are met first and foremost, but more importantly, to make sure we are helping them to achieve their personal and work goals, such as legacy and estate planning.
“It’s all about working with the right clients to bring meaning to the numbers and educate clients on what they need to be knowledgeable on. To always see the big picture and have clients for life.”