Several aspects are essential for every micro-enterprise, and one of those aspects is better accounting. A reliable accountant can assist these enterprises to focus on the larger goals without worrying about their account management. Chartered Accountant Kayla Russell is an award-winning leader who mentors a talented team dedicated to their clients. She is the Practice & Business Services Manager at Palfreyman Chartered Accountants that offers unique and tailored accounting plans for micro-enterprises.
We at Insights Success caught up with Kayla in our endeavour to find ’40 Influencers Under 40.’ We got into a conversation to know and understand her approach to each business and how she contributes to achieving the firm’s goals.
Let’s delve in!
The Build-up till Now
It can be challenging to establish yourself as a business leader when commencing your career. Kayla thinks the factors that helped her create this type of trust and build relationships were dedication and initiative in her work. These elements, coupled with being innovative and having a genuine desire to help her business clients and work with the firm to solve their problems, helped set her apart.
Kayla has been extremely fortunate to work with an amazing leader in the firm’s principal, Simone Palfreyman, who has been extremely supportive and presented her with the opportunity to step up and take on these responsibilities and grow her leadership skills. She says, “I feel it is important to surround yourself with the right kinds of people and build each other up. That’s not to say it has been easy, it has certainly been hard work, but it’s that sort of mindset that is willing to do the work that will get you there eventually.”
One of the biggest challenges for Kayla is to alter the perception among clients about her technical abilities. As a younger female, it can be difficult to be seen as a knowledgeable professional; some business owners weren’t convinced of her abilities. Kayla always tries not to take offense to this and instead takes a more proactive approach to offer her assistance where possible and work on building those relationships of trust. This has certainly paid off and seen a shift in perceptions and created amazing relationships with her clients.
The Synopsis of the Firm
Palfreyman Chartered Accountants is a small business specialist with a strong focus on educating its clients to help them grow their business and succeed in their goals. Its professional, customer service-focused approach to meeting and exceeding client expectations is what sets it apart. It takes a holistic view to ensure that all aspects of its clients’ business are considered and catered for.
Kayla says that being in the accounting industry, one would think it is generally about tax and compliance-based services, and while this is a core component, it is not only part of her role. The firm specializes in small business, which often asks to deal with clients with limited financial acumen. That means Kayla must explain complex tax situations in a language that is easily understood. She focuses on education and encourages personal and professional growth in her clients and those she mentors in the workplace. She aims to increase confidence through knowledge and empower those around her to take greater control of their businesses or careers.
Inclusive Work Culture
Kayla expresses that Palfreyman’s workplace culture is one of support and inclusivity, with the main driving factor behind it promoting a healthy work/life balance. It maintains an exceptionally high level of quality in its work and prides itself on excellent customer service values.
Palfreyman’s team members are valued and appreciated. It regularly calls upon them to provide insight and input into workplace practices and actively improve the workplace. The firm’s workplace is based on a holacracy system where everyone’s input is considered and encouraged.
Implementing Technology for Better Proficiency
Palfreyman’s is always searching for ways to improve efficiency for its practice management and its clients’ businesses. Kayla states that as small specialists, the firm centres its approach on educating those it mentors to take greater control of the businesses, and innovative technologies have made this process much easier.
Through providing one-on-one training, Palfreyman’s can break down the processes for clients and give them that feeling of empowerment, which enables the team to focus on more complex advice rather than data processing. Its practice uses cloud accounting, digital document signing portals, and electronic work papers meaning that it has adapted to the ever-changing world due to the global pandemic rather seamlessly. Using these systems also assists in the firm’s commitment to the community through a more environmentally friendly approach with less printing, thus helping to reduce its carbon footprint.
Setting Up the Future
Kayla’s long-term goals are to continue servicing the needs of her clients and improve their lives through educating and empowering them with the confidence to take control of their business and achieve their goals. She wants to create greater awareness of the importance of emotional intelligence in her industry and see a shift in client perceptions with more positive interactions and relationship building.
Kayla aspires to help bridge the knowledge gaps surrounding our taxation system for the younger generations to equip them better to enter the workforce with confidence. She wants to continue building her firm’s reputation as the best small business specialist. Kayla hopes to mentor the next generation of young leaders to ensure Palfreyman’s can reach more clients.
Kayla advises budding leaders and entrepreneurs to invest in themselves. She says, “Spend your time and energy on improving yourself through self-reflection, education, and personal growth. It’s a long-term investment that will really pay off if you’re willing and open to change.”
“Do you know why in the aeroplane safety speech they say you must secure your own mask first? It’s because if you can’t breathe, you won’t be able to help others, and I feel this is so true in so many aspects. Make sure you look after yourself so that your BEST self will show up willing and able to help others,” concludes Kayla.
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