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Why I’m positive about the future for South Australia

Written by: Jamie McKeough on Wednesday, 5 July 2017

There’s been a lot of hand-wringing in recent months about the South Australian economy. Rarely a week goes by without another media report citing a highly credentialed commentator lamenting the lack of direction and painting a general picture of gloom and doom for the State.

But as someone who is across what is happening at the coalface everyday – working with hundreds of South Australian small to medium sized businesses – I have to say that I don’t share the same negative outlook.

Granted, we’re in challenging economic times. There’s no denying it. And yes, there have been some high-profile losses for South Australia…Holden, Alinta and Coca-Cola to name a few. Due to our size and location, South Australia will never be an “easy” market to operate in.

However, the engine room for South Australia has always been the small to medium enterprise (SME) sector, and from what I’m seeing as the head of a firm that works with hundreds of South Australian SMEs that while it’s a mixed bag, there are many businesses performing very strongly.

That’s why I don’t share the ‘gloom and doom’ of many people when it comes to the outlook for South Australia. At a recent event we hosted I conducted a straw poll of 13 businesses – in the last 5 years turnover had increased by an average of 35% (including some turnover reductions) and over 400 new jobs had been created by them, an increase of 40%. It’s the untold story about how many great businesses there are experiencing strong growth and creating jobs.

Across the globe, the SME sector is the engine room of most developed economies, and here in South Australia even more the case. Where it differs is there is a higher proportion of SMEs relative to total businesses, meaning the sector is more so the lifeblood of the economy here.

The issues for SMEs across the world are the same – funding growth, growing pains, having a sound strategy, succession and excessive red tape which can stifle growth. What we’re seeing is many businesses in South Australia are overcoming these problems and continue to prosper despite the local economy.

Leading by example

Our firm’s own remarkable growth in the last decade is a good reflection of the undercurrent of business performance and positivity in South Australia.

Here at William Buck, we’ve more than doubled in size in the last decade and we now employ more than 160 staff. The firm has created a solid platform for future growth, recently completing another merger with boutique accounting firm, SP Accountants and Business Advisors, to add further strength and expertise to our service offering

We’ve also recently added a finance advisory and broking service – William Buck Finance – which is geared to helping business owners and private clients find the right finance for their situation.

It goes without saying that without strong performance and success from the growing clients requiring our advice, that it wouldn’t have been possible for our business to grow so rapidly.

The secret to success

What we’ve come to understand from our many years of working with SMEs is that growing businesses realise that advice is crucial to their success. The most successful businesses in this sector are run by entrepreneurial people, and they are also the takers of advice. They realise they can’t know it all.

The issue for many growing business owners is they don’t know what they don’t know. And without an understanding the enormous benefits of broad advice, they are missing a big opportunity.

For the clients who have experienced our 360 degree support model, it’s incredibly powerful allowing us to achieve superior outcomes.

William Buck offers services across business and corporate advisory, finance advisory & broking, wealth management and tax and audit. The firm is equipped to provide tailored advice to a broad range of clients, from entrepreneurs to growing privately owned and family businesses through to large companies, as well as private clients.

Established 71 years ago, William Buck Adelaide has grown to become one of the state’s largest advisory firms with a mid-market focus, working with hundreds of SME clients and employing more than 160 staff.

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