Celebrating 35 years of Prosperity

We asked founder and CEO Allan McKeown about Prosperity, a multi-disciplinary financial advisory firm of 20 directors and 180 staff with offices in Newcastle, Sydney and Brisbane.

Let’s go back to the early days of Prosperity. How did it all start?
In 1989 I teamed up with the late John Sneddon who had scaled back after building a major accounting practice in Newcastle. Just 18 months after our business began, John tragically and suddenly passed away. The firm, then known as Sneddon McKeown, was growing very fast and John’s mentorship and friendship was a great loss. We had a loyal and supportive group of clients who stayed with us during that transition period and many of them are still clients 35 years later.

How has your business and your approach to helping your clients navigate choppy economic waters changed in recent years?
Our transition from a traditional accounting firm to a holistic service provider, was really a game changer. Our advisers provide a single point of contact and are responsible for the delivery of services from a multi-disciplinary team of experts in a way that makes sense and gives our clients a 360 degree view of their financial landscape. This high level of collaboration between our internal teams means we can assist clients to make better investment decisions and develop smarter business and taxation strategies.

What are the most difficult challenges your clients are currently facing and how do you support them to find solutions?
SME businesses are the engine room of our economy and are a rewarding but often challenging journey for their owners. Assisting our clients to outsource financial functions and to provide them with the data analysis that they need is critical to them being able to focus on growing their businesses while avoiding the speed bumps. Our ability to bring external insights is a key factor in helping them make smarter decisions sooner. At an individual level, reducing the cost of debt and importantly how that debt is better structured, together with the development of a sound long term financial plan are the fundamentals of financial success.

Can you give us an example of a client or a client project where the outcome has been particularly rewarding?
To support the development of our team members and to discuss smart advice across our firm, we share client case studies each week in my CEO update. The most recent edition showcased a successful finance tender we ran which resulted in the provision of much needed capital for expansion for a business expanding internationally together with an interest cost saving of $44k per annum. We have also been working with a client who had a shareholding in a private hospital teetering on voluntary administration. We have worked hand-in-hand with management recommending measures to return the business to profitability and to restructure the shareholding. In the last example, we have been able to assist a client to market a pub for sale while introducing them to equity funding sources for their next round of expansion.

Your portfolio of services includes chartered accounting, wealth management, salary packaging, novated leasing and more. Are there still areas of expansion left? What will be your focus for the next five years and beyond?
We have broadened our services to be able to provide genuine holistic financial advice for our clients on their business and personal wealth creation journeys. We have strong referral partners that we utilise to complement our service offering where we have identified that our clients need specialist assistance. We will continue to consider opportunities to add new capabilities to our firm when we see client need. Our senior team met recently for one of our strategy days which we hold several times each year. The top priorities which we agreed on are:

  1. Merger Integration
    We are delighted to have completed a merger of a well-respected accounting firm with our Brisbane office this month. We will continue to review further merger opportunities where they might bring good people and complementary skill sets to our team.
  2. Client Servicing
    Further strengthening our emphasis on holistic advice through various initiatives to improve our client experience.
  3. IT & Harnessing Technology and AI
    Continuing our priority to ensure we use technology and emerging artificial intelligence as a strategic enabler.
  4. HR & Investing in our People
    Continuing our Employer of Choice initiatives including enhancing our career planning, roll out of our new HR information system and adding further resources to support our growth.

Read the full story in our Summer Edition of Hunter & Coastal Lifestyle Magazine or subscribe here.