Oliva van Vugt, not your average accountant

What is RightWay and how long have you been working for RightWay?

RightWay is an accounting firm with a focus on business. We do the number crunching, but we do so much more than just that. It comes down to a more proactive ‘business’ approach and helping people get to where they want to be. I have a very people first mindset so have been loving getting alongside a diverse range of clients in the ‘Top of the South’ - and consequently, two years with RightWay has gone very fast!  

Do you know any funny jokes about accountants?

Possibly my favourite was a photo sent from a RightWay colleague who happened to spot this Tui add on a shed outside Taihape. I laughed. And laughed. And then I laughed some more.

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We all know that there are a number of jokes around about accountants, and I kind of play up to that. When I first joined the Collective I remember asking whether it was OK that they had an accountant in there - ‘Am I going to cramp your creative style?’ I think I said. Luckily they were more than happy to have me. Although in all seriousness, I think as the accounting profession has changed, so has the stereotype of an accountant. I know some absolutely fantastic accountants and the team at RightWay certainly know how to have fun (while working hard, of course!).

How has the Collective helped you grow your business? 

My role is very mobile and I spend a good portion of my time on the road and at clients’ premises. The Collective has been the perfect base to come and go from outside of travelling. The memberships are very affordable, it has a fresh vibe, and there are always new people about so it’s a great place to expand your business networks. I would reccomend the Collective to anyone who works from home or on the road. It's a great place to set up for day, work and to meet with clients in the Collective's meeting room. I now have a co-worker, Ernie Chan working full-time in the Collective. I told him about the space and now we are establishing a bigger presence in Nelson because of the Collective. 

How do you stand out from your competition?

Two years ago I used to say that my unique selling point was being part of one of New Zealand’s fastest growing accounting firms with the following key attributes:

Up-front transparent monthly pricingRegular meetings with management reportsProactive business adviceReal Xero expertise that comes from 100% cloud-based approachMobile service

While this is still true - I realise now that the real reason people sign up for me are down to the relationship. As an accountant/business advisor in a position of trust, the most important thing you can have is that relationship. People need to know that you have got their back, that they can ask any kind of question (and not feel silly for asking). They need to have someone who listens to understand, cares about where they have come from, and knows what is important to their business and personal life. I make a real effort to understand my clients’ values and who they are - advice I give may be very different for two people in the same situation, depending on their values and what is important to them.

What does the future hold for you?

Oh, I am so excited about the future! Working with many more diverse and interesting people, continuing to help out the community on various not-for-profit boards, and making the most of this very beautiful place we live in. 

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Keegan Jeffries