We are proud to finally announce SAIBA's July Practice of the Month, Dirk Coetzee and Associates. And they are worth the wait! This outstanding practice, based in Durbanville, Cape Town is run by two partners: Dirk Coetzee and Merwe Moelich. We visited Merwe, Dirk and their team to see what made their practice different and to get some advice for other aspiring SAIBA practices.
What were the biggest mistakes you made when you started your practice? What would you have done differently?
At the beginning, when the business started, the need to grow the client base was priority number one. In some instances, we quoted too low, just to get the client. Later on this creates a problem, because the amount of time spent on these clients, does not justify the fees generated.
In an average week, how much time do you spend studying or reading on new developments or attend CPD events?
The nature of our services requires that we do daily research and reading about the legislation covering the service at that time. Apart from this, we would schedule monthly CPD on specific topics to stay abreast of all the changes.
When you started your firm where did you get your clients?
In the beginning, clients were sourced from internal sources, like family and friends. Later on additional clients were referred to us from these start-up clients.
How did your firm change since you started?
When the business was started, it was essential to build our client base, as soon as possible. You take all the business you can get. This is to ensure that you can cover your expenses, and break even as soon as possible, and then, start working on building your profitability.
Currently we are in the position of focusing on specific markets that have the most profitability, to benefit the most from applied resources. We decided that the Fiduciary industry is our niche market.
What is the one thing in your firm that will ensure your firm achieves success in the future?
Efficient service delivery is essential to our business. We are committed to give regular feedback to our clients, and up to date reporting, to assist our clients in planning ahead, with the most accurate information.
What do you see as the next growth area for your firm?
Currently we are expanding our offering to the Fiduciary market to include services rendered to Trusts. With current tax law changes regarding Trusts, we anticipate a lot of growth in this area of our business.
What percentage of your revenue comes from the following work: tax, accounting, consulting?
Tax 75% Accounting 20% Consulting 5%
How do you select the right employees for your firm?
Firstly, it is important that employees have the necessary qualifications and knowledge, to apply to the position. We feel very strongly, that there must be an exciting synergy within the working environment. We are a closed knit group, and any additional staff must fit in and adapt to the group. The potential staff member must be passionate in his position, thrive to achieve growth, and have a vibrant personality, to communicate thoroughly with clients.
How does SAIBA add value to your firm?
SAIBA has enabled us to receive recognition as Accounting Officers and Independent Reviewers within the new companies act, which added to the professional status of our firm. Regular technical updates ensure we are always in a position to advise our clients in the best possible way.
Are there any operational tips to other practices?
With technology playing an ever-increasing role in the way we conduct business today we have limited our investment in IT infrastructure by opting to run our practice and all our software through cloud servers. This is very cost effective and adds more flexibility to our operations.