Renae started her Career in Finance with Qantas Corporate. Due to family circumstances she decided to return to Wodonga and set up a bookkeeping business in 2005. Around 2014, an opportunity arose to invest into the First Class Accounts franchise, the largest bookkeeping franchise in Australia. I first met Renae through a 6 Steps Seminar that she had registered to attend, along with a few of her clients that she was bringing along. As it turned out, none of the clients she had registered turned up.

I recall Renae telling me later that it was during the presentation that she realised that ‘Hey this is exactly what I need’ and made the decision to take up the offer of a complimentary Business Review (DIAG). I also recall thinking at the time ‘Why is Renae wanting a DIAG and how can I possibly help her in her business?’. In short Renae signed up on the spot and has since become my biggest raving fan and strong supporter of business coaching.

At that point Renae had 1 employee and a contractor working 30 hrs per week. Renae was working silly hours, especially around the BAS cycle times, just to keep up to date with servicing her clients.

The Issues

When I first started working with Renae, it quickly became obvious that Renae was the bottleneck to allowing the business to grow which was centred around her limiting belief that no one else could do things as well as her. Renae also recognised this and was initially dubious about employing more staff as she had previously had ‘bad experience’ in employing people in the past.

From the Alignment process Renae identified the following:

1. Learn how to become a better Leader and Manager in the business, change focus from being a ‘doer’ to a ‘leader’
2. Improve Sales and Marketing knowledge
3. Implement strategies to reduce unproductive time in self and staff
4. Improve communication skills with staff to improve productivity
5. Learn how to apply different strategies to each area of the business – Systems & Procedures, Policies, Finance , Cashflow, Recruitment and Sales processes
6. Develop a skills matrix and training plans for staff, in particular to develop and train staff in adopting ‘Awesome Quality and Customer Service Skills’

The ActionPLAN

1. Mindset and Beliefs

The first thing we started to work on was her mindset and beliefs around employing staff and delegating. We also worked on the importance of identifying specific job tasks and prepared position descriptions in preparation for the business growth.

2. Building Stronger Alliances

The next area we concentrated on was building stronger alliances with some of the Accountancy Firms in the local area (that pass on Bookkeeping work to FCA). These were firms that she was already working with. The key here was to 1. Stay in more regular contact 2. Educate them on all of the products and services that Renae’s business could provide

3. Developing and Implementing KPI’s

The other area we worked on was establishing the KPI’s for the business including Test & Measure and Financial tracking.


With these 3 key strategies in place the business began to grow and Renae realised that she would have to begin the employment process. As part of the process, she recognised the value that the Assessments 24/7 DISC & Motivators profiling could bring in ensuring that the right people were getting on the bus. As an aside, the only time a new employee has not worked out was when she did not have them complete the assessment, a big lesson for Renae.

Even though Renae has identified that she needed to learn more about marketing, every time we went to focus on this, she would get a flurry of leads from her alliance partners that would turn into clients and the need to employ more staff. The business currently has 5 full time staff and another 2 part time contractors who work with specific clients. Renae has worked very diligently in implementing the systems and procedures that enable her staff to be in control of their own activities and contribute to the broader goals of the business.

In our last coaching session Renae advised that the latest BAS cycle (last month) was the first time that she has not had to work outside normal hours in preparing and submitting the BAS statements for her clients, this was in main done by her staff. She also advised that she has now made a decision to work only 4 days per week so she can partake in her passion for playing golf and will now regularly play on midweek ladies day.

Last year Renae entered the 2017 Asia Pacific BEF Awards. Here is an excerpt from her Newsletter:

“All the hard work over 2016 has paid off! First Class Accounts O&M has been recognised at the Asia Pacific Business Excellence Forum & Awards - winning the most contested category Best Serviced Based Business (under 10 employees).

“I was totally shocked to win this award” said Renae “Having been only coached by ActionCOACH Phil Badura for 16 months and this being our first submission to the awards. If anybody is interested in learning more about ActionCOACH and what they might do for your business, please talk to me”

The Future

Renae is currently on 4 weeks leave and attending the First Class Accounts Annual Conference in Vietnam where she has entered the award for franchisee of the year. On returning we will complete a realignment and set some new goals for the business in reaching the next level. A key goal this year is to double revenue to $1 million at the same time maintaining the same level of staff.

Renae is comfortable to now let go of the need to be involved with every dealing with her clients and is now looking at what is next in her career. This may even include venturing into business coaching!


Since this article was written, Renae and the Ovens & Murray Team have won Franchisee of the Year for First Class Accounts. This was out of 180 Franchisees. She also won the Best Community Support Award. Congratulations to Renae, the Ovens and Murray Team and to Phil Badura!

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Written by ActionCOACH April 17, 2024
ActionCOACH is recognised as the creator and most successful practitioner of business and executive coaching methodology that offers owners and managers a new perspective on their businesses and companies.