A 6.5 magnitude Wellington earthquake wasn’t enough to stop award-winning Xero accounting firm Enable Business. The four-year-old, 12-person firm’s decision to embrace the cloud from the get-go meant they were back up and running in no time, initially from their homes.
The earthquake struck on the early evening of Sunday 21 July, offshore from Wellington where Enable and Xero’s head offices are based. While no buildings collapsed, quite a few in the CBD were rendered unusable, either temporarily while checks are done, or permanently.
Late last week Enable took up an offer from Xero to run from some of our meeting room space for a couple of weeks. This is while they wait to find out what is happening to their building. We’re just glad we can support them in this way, even if they do have to use rooms called “Super Mario” and “Lemmings” (we’ll let you guess the names of our other meeting rooms).
Enable’s offices are based in Woodward Street off Lambton Quay, a shopping and governmental office precinct with many historic older buildings that are vulnerable to such shakes. Nine staff normally work from the Wellington office, three are in Auckland.
When Enable founder Mark Greer got to town on the Monday morning he says didn’t know what to expect. The area felt like a ghost town and radio reports had been warning people about the risks of falling glass and masonry. With emergency services and the Mayor asking people to stay away he quickly picked up all the staff laptops and spent the day delivering them to their homes. He was fortunate in that respect – at 11am the landlord barred anyone from entering the building and they haven’t been able to get back since.
So where did this leave Mark’s business? Thanks to the way they have embraced the cloud, they are in pretty good shape. Enable is a full Xero accounting firm, so all its clients are in the cloud, and the company also uses cloud software for all its office applications (Office 365), document management (Suite Files) and customer relationship management (Pipedrive). Mark reckons they would have suffered at least two weeks downtime if they had been server-based. They did have a server that’s stuck in their office but it only handled the phones and IT permissioning.
Xero account manager Larissa Paris was able to find Enable space in the our second office building in Wellington, where our Customer Experience team is based. Mark has nothing but praise. “Xero has been really friendly and welcoming. Larissa and the support team have been so helpful. They have a fun enjoyable work culture and I’ve told my team not to get any ideas about jumping ship!”
Mark’s belief in people and in the value of cloud services to small business is only strengthened by the experience. Enable have been hiring two staff a year on the back of the success of their “Wingman” accounting/advisory packages, they support Add-ons like Unleashed, Vend, Receipt Bank, iPayroll and SmartPayroll, and this year picked up Website of the Year at Xerocon New Zealand.
He says the unknown aspect is the hardest part of the situation to deal with. Not knowing when they’ll be able to return to their office makes it difficult to make decisions, but forge on they must.