Wed. Apr 17th, 2024

A common misconception is that accountants are there for tax return time and that’s the end of your relationship with them for another year.

Anyone who has ever found themselves a good accountancy firm will know that they can be so much more and, for small businesses, having the right accountant can mean the difference between success and failure. Emily Ridley, owner of EFX Accountants and Advisors in Inverell, makes providing the kind of comprehensive service and care that small businesses need, her team’s number one priority.

Ms Ridley moved to Australia from the United Kingdom in 2009 at the height of the Global Financial Crisis. Taking a huge leap of faith she moved from Manchester to Sydney, to Byron Bay before settling in Tambo in regional QLD for 7 years.

“I fell in love with Tambo,” Ms Ridley said.

“I spent my childhood in the UK living in a small hamlet in a 16th century cottage. Everyone knew everyone and everyone helped each other, and this is what I still love about rural townships.”

Lifelong passion for sustainability

Ms Ridley also cites her early childhood as what inspired her lifelong passion for sustainability.

“My grandparents were such a big inspiration to me.”

“They were always mending and reusing and recycling. I firmly believe we are responsible for leaving this planet in a better condition than we find it, and this is a practice I carry with me into both my personal and business choices.”

It was in Tambo that Ms Ridley also found her other passion – helping primary producers and small businesses find their feet in what can often be the very confusing world of finance and accounting.

Drought hardship drives action

“I experienced the terrible hardship of drought first-hand in Tambo, and all I could think to myself was that I had to find a way to help these people.”

From a bookkeeping role in town, she then quickly took up the mantle of working as an intermediary, assisting farmers with their applications for QRIDA drought relief packages.

“I knuckled down and I did all the accounting and bookkeeping study that I needed to do to be able to become properly registered to assist people – finance and numbers were definitely not something that were always a passion of mine,” says Ms Ridley.

Fast forward through some difficult but rewarding work in Tambo, a stint in finance management and accounting work in Brisbane, and the ups and downs that most of Australia experienced through COVID and Ms Ridley has now moved to the New England Region. Here she is at the helm of EFX Accountants and Advisors with a dedicated team of 5 bookkeepers and accountants who all work remotely, plus herself and an administrative assistant who are on the ground in Inverell and Moree.

Helping to make it happen

“I’m so happy to be back doing what I love – which is helping small businesses and primary producers – and my team have been vital to making it all happen.”

“I have some incredible staff who have just gone above and beyond in thousands of ways and the clients are all benefitting from their genuine passion for what they do.”

Ms Ridley says that the industries EFX works with are varied, but mostly they are small and often new businesses local to the New England area and stretching out to Grafton.

EFX has office space in both Moree and Inverell, with the Inverell office also now holding her other business venture the Courtyard Collective, which offers locals a collaborative workspace where they can hire casual hot desks, or a board room for their business requirements.

“We are more about advisory than just processing accounts, although of course we do provide a full suite of accountancy services as well,” Ms Ridley said.

Learn how to run a business

“What I am aiming to do with EFX is to provide a place where small business owners can come and learn how to run a business – there’s just not enough education to help people when they first start out.”

When asked what makes EFX unique in the accountancy space, Ms Ridley says education is key.

“I can sit down with a client, help them figure out basic things like what they need for compliance, how to get all their data into the cloud so that they’re not relying on paper or desktop records and, most importantly, figure out just how healthy their business really is and how to turn it around if they need to,” Ms Ridley said.

“We really aim to help new businesses, particularly in their first few months of starting out and teach them how to be a business owner.”

“We have such an incredible pool of talent in the New England Region, and some fantastic business ideas but so many of them are struggling from a lack of information.”

EFX is still in its first 12 months of operation, but Ms Ridley says this is what gives her an even greater appreciation and understanding of the specific and varied needs of businesses in the region.

“Our focus is definitely on building the business up and of course this means that there are challenges,” she said.

“Cash flow and managing staff are always an issue for almost any business when it first starts out and I’m glad to be going through it because it makes me that much more aware of the same challenges that my clients are facing.”

Workshops coming soon

With the view to reach even more of the local business community, Ms Ridley also plans to run a series of workshops over the coming months to help educate businesses on different topics. With the first currently scheduled to occur in March, more information will be available soon on how to attend.

“I really genuinely want to make a difference,” says Ms Ridley, “EFX is not about just putting numbers into a spreadsheet – we are hand holders and counsellors and advisors and everything that small business owners need to really get themselves up and going.”

For more information about EFX Accountants and Advisors, please visit their website.

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