When I met with Aaran McLeod from Advanced Accounting on a Friday morning at his Feilding based office it was a scene that you wouldn’t expect, but one which summed up Aaran perfectly. Looking as business professional as ever, Aaran was cradling his two and a half year old daughter in his arms while his two sons were hanging out in the purpose built playroom in his office.
Whilst this is not his usual working conditions, Aaran needed to care for three of his four kids on this day, and family comes first for Aaran. He extends this philosophy to his whole team; they are a family to each other, and caring for everybody’s family’s is just part of how things go.
It certainly doesn’t sound like your classic accounting office and that’s because it really isn’t. Advanced Accounting is about so much more than accounting; it’s about people and transforming businesses – and accounting.
Aaran accidentally became an accountant, he’s quite humble so I’ll say it – he’s smart and he kind of finished an accounting degree without really meaning to. Having sailed through school he had a clear path to university but wasn’t sure what to study. A friend suggested accounting so he did it.
Before long he was door knocking at Accountant's offices and was lucky enough to get a job at the second door he tried in Feilding. He settled in to working there for six years before moving to another accounting firm in Palmerston North.
Accounting on its own didn’t sit right for Aaran, he knew he wanted more, and his desire for freedom and diversity pressed him to strike out on his own to create his vision for how an accounting practice could run. That’s how Advanced Accounting started just four years ago.
Aaran has faced his challenges but he is more than up to facing challenges. Any start-up business is hard in its first few years but gaining the trust of customers to take you on as an accountant can add an extra hurdle. Aaran has taken them all in his stride though and continues to build his team so that he can focus on his main passions – business development and mentoring.
I’ve been privy to Aaran’s ‘hard questions’ that he asks with an unwavering gaze. He describes it as trying to gain a ‘true understanding’ of his client’s business goals, I’d call it - interrogation without the bright lights. But it’s fair to say that he did make me sit up and take notice of my intentions and forge a clear path to my goals.
Aaran definitely has a clear vision about where he wants to be in the future and he is making great strides towards getting there. In 2015 he won the Manawatu Business Awards ‘emerging business’ award. He’s got a one year Business Development course he’s running coming up soon so that he can get business people together to help them move through their problems in a really structured way.
Lastly – if you can believe this coming from an Accountant- Aaran says it is ‘not about the money’ for him. He just loves helping people to achieve their business goals and he gets a real thrill out of seeing that happen. I know – it seems hard to believe – but I can vouch for him, Aaran is a genuinely nice guy with a lot of business smarts and bucket loads of enthusiasm.
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