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2012 marks the 25th year since Hattam McCarthy Reeves was launched.
With a feeling that this is actually a significant achievement in the life-cycle of a business, I thought I would take an opportunity to reflect back over the 25 years and perhaps have a look into the ‘crystal ball’ to see what the future might hold.
In 1987, together with my father Jim, and Ed Reeves we established Hattam Reeves on Greenhill Road from the remnants of a previous business partnership - these were exciting times as there was a lot to do and a lot to prove.
From humble beginnings, the early years proved challenging for our small team. The 1987 stock market crash, followed by ‘the recession we had to have’ and interest rates in excess of 20% proved demanding for our business and those of our clients. A flat economy over much of the 1990s made growth difficult, but we slowly expanded, necessitating a move to our current premises in 1997.
After a failed attempt by John Hewson in 1991, the GST under the Howard government eventually appeared as a distinct possibility. The 1998 election gave Howard a mandate and a major change in the way small business was to operate emerged, together with the expanding market reach of MYOB. The effort in educating our staff and clients and attending to the registration of a multitude of businesses was an experience that was brutal and exhausting. The government’s claim that this was a ‘simpler’ system was surely ironic!
July 2000 saw the introduction of Paul McCarthy to the partnership, and a change of name! Paul brought with him considerable enthusiasm to Hattam McCarthy Reeves and the pace of change picked up. Technology was quickly shifting the way businesses operated and we always strived to be at the forefront of these changes. Out team was growing too.
The retirement of Ed Reeves and Jim Hattam followed and everyone worked hard to maintain the professional and personal service they had given their clients over long and distinguished careers.
Andrew Mattner joined the team in 2004 and quickly raised the standard again, driven by his experience at a much larger firm. Things were going from strength to strength, however my illness at the end of that year and ensuing extended sick leave put enormous pressure on the business. I am to this day indebted to the team for their efforts at that time. Andrew was admitted as partner in 2005.
The last 25 years has witnessed an amazing number of technological advancements, from our first fax machine (costing $5,000!), through the explosion in affordable personal computers, Windows 95, the emergence of the internet as an essential business tool, emails, mobile phones and the recent dominance of the iPhone and ipad. Watch this space.
Over the years we have had some great people working for us and I should also acknowledge the loyalty of those clients that have been with us since 1987!
So what are the secrets to surviving for 25 years?
And where do I see the future of business? It may be a cliché, but change really is the only constant.
Time is the commodity most valued by everyone (more so than money), and those businesses that can return ‘time’ to their clientele will prosper.
Here's to another 25!