A self-avowed perfectionist, Anton Gerner was never interested in working for anybody else. Not a chance. Which is why when it comes to running his award-winning bespoke furniture business, he likes to take a hands on approach. But while his craft may have remained strictly manual, Anton has been quick to embrace digital tools to help him work faster and smarter. In fact, back in 2008, he was one of Xero’s very first Australian customers.
“28 years ago, I realised that I needed to be my own boss. No one else was doing the work that I wanted to do, so there was really no other option,” explains Anton. And whether he’s painstakingly crafting custom pieces from timber or seeking out new apps to streamline his back office (Quotient is his favourite), he says, “We’re always looking for ways to do things better and questioning how we can be more efficient – that’s where Xero comes in.”
Carving out the time to do more of what matters
With Single Touch Payroll (STP) legislation now requiring digital payroll reporting to the ATO with each pay run, countless small businesses like Anton Gerner Furniture will move to using accounting software technology, some for the first time. Specialising in using traditional techniques to create thoroughly contemporary furniture, Anton is no stranger to embracing new ways of working. Especially when they make his life easier. He adds, “STP minimises the chance of mistakes and eliminates a lot of the year-end chores that used to come with closing out payroll. For me, that means more time to do what I love.”
By making the move to digital payroll software and getting on top of all things STP, small businesses won’t only discover a reduction in errors and an increase in time, money and employee satisfaction: they’ll gain the space to do more of what matters, just like Anton. Yet while he prides himself on adopting the latest technology to aid in the running of his business, Anton still believes that some things are better done by hand.
“I’ve been obsessively mastering fading arts since 1990. Each design I create is crafted using traditional hand tools, construction techniques and finishes. These old school furniture-making practices ensure a level of quality that machines just can’t recreate.”
Finding the freedom to forge your own way
When asked what the most rewarding thing about being a small business owner is, Anton’s answer was instant: “The freedom of choice.” That same desire for ownership is what led him to choose Xero right from the start. “I took one look at the benefits of doing my accounting on the cloud – seeing what my cash balance is, who owes me money and who I owe money to in real-time – and I was in.” And those benefits have only increased over time.
In a sentiment echoed by Xero’s recent late payments report, Anton explains, “It often used to take weeks (sometimes longer) for us to get paid. When I initially started using Xero, it was all about how much time I gained. It saved me hours and hours. Now, one of the biggest benefits is that I get paid much faster. People simply click on the ‘Pay now’ button and it’s done. Our cashflow has been completely transformed in the process.”
In a culmination of nearly a decade’s work (that’s eight years of creating, thirty years of honing and fourteen carefully crafted pieces to show for it), Anton is staging an exhibition of his contemporary heirloom furniture at Labassa, a National Trust mansion in Melbourne’s Caulfield from the 7th to the 8th of September. Visitors will discover works that range from the ultra-contemporary to the futuristic – all of which draw inspiration and materials from unlikely places. And, Anton assures, “Absolutely no minimalist Scandi style in sight.”
From apps to automated accounting software, Anton has discovered the tools to craft an STP ready business with Xero. And, best of all, he was able to do it his way.
It’s official: all Australian business owners are now required to comply with STP. Xero lets you file your pay runs with the ATO in a matter of clicks – and getting setup is a lot easier than you might think. Still unsure of what it all means? We’ve answered some of our community’s top queries and connected you with the resources you need to stay on top of all things STP.