Public Practitioner Profile: 6 questions with Angus Ogilvie FCPA

Content Summary

Helen Hawkes | October 2021

This article was current at the time of publication.

As Managing Director of Generate Accounting in Auckland NZ, Angus Ogilvie FCPA leads an award-winning team that offers strategic planning, accounting services and tax advice to directors of growth-oriented small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) and not-for-profits. 

Mentoring and coaching business owners is also a speciality driven from the top. 

After a decade in public practice, Ogilvie is increasingly focused on business advisory services.

As well as being a Fellow and New Zealand Divisional Councillor of CPA Australia, he is a Chartered Secretary and member of the Institute of Directors New Zealand.

In his spare time, he and his partner enjoy Auckland’s renowned restaurant scene, hosting friends, attending baroque concerts and opera and walking their pair of Havanese dogs near the harbour or on the beach. 

He has started a Master of Taxation Studies at The University of Auckland – Auckland Law School to further his knowledge of the tax system. 

Ogilvie also undertakes pro bono work, most recently assisting with a project to save a former church building that will be transformed into a performing arts space. 

Our clients are predominantly SMEs with a small percentage of high-net-worth individuals. Many are in professional services such as law and engineering and a large number in construction. We do not have clients in retail or hospitality, which was quite fortunate with ongoing COVID-19 lockdowns. 

While we offer all the traditional accountancy services, about 25 per cent of my week is spent on advisory boards. I am not a director – rather, I often chair meetings and offer advice on everything from human resources, finances and health and safety through to strategic planning and company administration. 

The work is about looking forward, not looking back, and I find more businesses desire to do that. 

Describe your firm’s culture

Flexibility, including remote working, is key for our four staff. However, while everyone has the equipment to allow them to work from home productively, there is a firm rule that they must be in the office on a Monday.

We do need to be regularly part of a team [environment] for interaction, as well as to nurture our culture, which is extremely open and quite family orientated.

Over the other four days, each member of the team takes a turn being in the office to assist me and have uninterrupted time together to discuss client queries.

The five of us also meet on Microsoft Teams at 2pm every day for 10 minutes to address work in progress and to allow me to clear any roadblocks.

What got you through 2020?

Being self-employed is always a huge motivator. If you take your foot off the gas, you’re in trouble. 

The overarching thing was a sense of responsibility for my clients. Many were freaking out initially and then had to deal with businesses booming post-lockdown and challenges with resources and staff.

That’s what makes the role so fulfilling ¬– making a meaningful impact in clients’ lives. Last year re-enforced that.

What’s the number one business issue for you at present?

Because of the global crisis we are going through, staff and clients are burnt out.

It is important to check in with people to make sure they are coping and there is a counselling service for the team if they need it. I also provide free medical insurance for everyone. 

It’s a toughie because it is what it is.

For many accountancy practices, the shortage of qualified staff is also starting to bite with graduate numbers dwindling.

As a profession, we need to tell people what a hugely rewarding job accountancy is and debunk the outdated perception that we don’t deal with matters outside tax compliance. 

When people ask me what I do, I tell them I help people build stronger businesses.

What are your future plans?

I would like to do more advisory work. It is an interesting way of using my Master of Business Studies [Hons, Massey University] in business strategy, change and management. 

I have offered clients a free advisory board meeting and everyone who has done this to date has seen the value in the service and taken it up.

What motivated you to join CPA Australia? 

It was obvious when I weighed up organisations that the focus of CPA Australia was on helping members through the inevitable changes in the profession. 

The Auckland office is exceptional and the resources and support are driven by a significant engine in Melbourne. 

There is also a real camaraderie among CPAs.