Partner, Hancock Askew & Co LLP
An accountant, he leads his firm’s small and emerging business division.
Wife, Nicola, and two children, Peter, 17, and Mary, 13.
After graduation from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg: “I spent five years as a city planner. Then, after earning an MBA at the same university; I tried construction and management consulting.
“While waiting for the phone to ring, I tried bookkeeping. At the end of two weeks, I thought ‘This is therapeutic.’” He went on to earn an accounting degree from the University of Capetown. In 1993, when his wife got a nursing job in Savannah, he moved here “and I started working for myself, building up a practice that grew to 600-plus clients.”
“I started thinking how nice it would be to have a partner. In the beginning of November, I merged with Hancock Askew. Now I have seven partners … I love being in a canoe with many paddlers. It forces me to paddle harder.”
years in accounting business
what we do
“We look after small business. We provide their accounting needs from soup to nuts — bookkeeping, tax services (including payroll services and income tax), guidance on growing their business, normal CPA services for a small business, which could be a CPA review or sometimes even an audit.”
“I don’t feel like I am. I feel like I’ve got more to do. I don’t feel I’ve got there yet.”
why is Hancock Askew a success
”We’ve got the right people to grow the company.”
“One and one can make three.”
“It wasn’t even in the accounting world. It was a job I had back in South Africa. It was in the early days of computerization. I got a system of information going for a large mining company.
“It meant dealing with 50-60 managers at all levels … Great fun … I designed an information system that provided them information about their underground mechanization system, which was thousands of big pieces of equipment … It was hard. It had me running around five mines, all about 80 miles from each other. It meant dealing with difficult people, and I had to persuade them all to work together.”
“My beautiful wife and two kids.”
“I want to become successful along with my new partners … It’s to grow this division.”
tips for other business operators
“Someone comes in the door and wants your service. Something in the back of your mind tells you this is not the business, but you feel you can’t afford to say no … So you take the business on. And some months later you find this person will never pay you … If you just followed new client protocols: checking the client out, getting your retainer up front, all those good things you’re supposed to do, I wouldn’t have been in the position.”
things to avoid
“Unethical clients. Clients who want you to look the other way … And make sure you get paid as you go … don’t take on more than you can handle.”
why does the Savannah area work for you?
“The people are very friendly. You can appreciate that when you go somewhere else … its size is not too big. You can actually be somebody in this town.”
company mission statement
“To provide quality professional accounting and other professional services to the city of Savannah and its neighbors.”
Address: 100 Riverview Drive, Savannah, GA 31404
Compiled by Lanie Lippincott Peterson