Who We Are
James founded the company in 2014 after building a career working in a diversity of roles in both financial and non-financial businesses. After starting his career as an accountant in the family business, he obtained roles and international experience in large entertainment companies such as Dreamworks SKG and EMI Records in New York, London and ultimately Sydney. After several years back in Sydney in public practice he decided to setup his own firm bringing a wide range of skills and experience from his diverse experience across industries and countries.
Working in his family business and maintaining an ongoing role as a non-executive director he has developed a broad range of skills applicable to small business and their owners. He has a real enthusiasm for small business and their potential and is passionate about assisting them.
James is proactive and takes pride in assisting clients with growing and managing their business for the long term. He approaches this by a continuous commitment to learning and developing his skills across multiple disciplines; obviously including accounting and tax, however additionally within technology opportunities, economy, investment, people and management areas of the small business space.
Alex joined the business as a partner in 2016 and brings a wealth of accounting and business experience from around the globe. Having spent time in both Big 4 and SME environments, he understands the financial, operational and emotional issues facing small business owners, suppliers and customers.
Alex spent the bulk of his professional services career at Deloitte – in both the Sydney and London offices. He led teams on a range of audit and advisory engagements across industries and locations. Throughout his career he always enjoyed developing and nurturing strong relationships with his clients, hence gravitated towards servicing the small-to-medium business sphere where an adviser can get more deeply involved in their financial and strategic matters.
Alex prides himself on maintaining calm in tense situations as well as being able to explain the more complex matters in simple terms. He understands the value in investing the time up-front to understand your needs, which will help to deliver best outcomes.
Away from the accounting world, Alex loves to surf (as much as possible with two young kids), travelling in Australia and abroad, as well as the odd game of chess.
What Our Clients Say
I have used Alex and James for our wine business for the past 4 years. They love a challenge and enjoy solving problems. They are very proficient with all the latest time saving technologies which makes my life much easier. Most importantly they are very approachable and always available for help when required. I can’t recommend them highly enough.
Matthew Hughes | Mewstone Wines
The Pillar guys are so friendly, close and professional. They are always available and willing to help with any matter. Our Spanish Head Office team have been incredibly happy since we changed over to them. I would recommend everyone give them a try.
Juan Carlos Manresa | Dune Ceramica Australia
I have always felt overwhelmed and confused by my tax, especially since owning my own business. James has been incredibly patient with me, explaining everything that I need to know and offering sound advice. They are very tech friendly – all forms are done online which means I don’t need to print and scan any paperwork! They were also able to get me a discount on my Xero account. Highly recommend!
Alex Richardson | Duo Pilates
Virtual CFO and Advisory
Is your business trading profitably but you don’t have the time to get on top of the main issues to position for the next phase of growth? A quality Financial Controller or CFO is generally not within the budget nor on the top of priorities of a SME.
At Pillar we offer service that goes well beyond your textbook accountant, aiming to bridge the gap between big business and small business. We call this our ‘Virtual CFO’ offering, which provides you access to an experienced finance professional, only as you require it.
Our Virtual CFO and Advisory services include the following:
Cashflow and business
Management reporting provides a backbone to any business, ensuring the business goals and targets are being met. A Virtual CFO will work with you to determine the best KPIs to steer the business and present the information in a meaningful way highlighting the critical components.
Business structuring optimisation
Operating in the right corporate structure is fundamental to the protection of assets of both the owners and the business. You may be considering your succession plan and how to best position for this. A Virtual CFO will help guide you to the optimal solution, engaging lawyers and taxation experts as required.
Systems review and implementation
A Virtual CFO can review the current state of play of financial systems and processes, in order to identify opportunities to increase efficiency and mitigate risk. Implementing a robust system and process culture enables a business to scale without imploding or losing its focus.
How to finance your business (debt v equity)
Knowing what the right source of finance is for your business is not easy. Both debt and equity sources can be highly complex, with many factors to consider before proceeding in raising capital. A Virtual CFO can leverage from their years of experience to help steer you toward the optimal solution.
Strategy planning and profitability analysis
A Virtual CFO can assist in being the ‘sounding board’ for a business strategy. Testing the strategy by asking the right questions, or simply assisting in putting one down in a usable format by working with the business owners. Strategy provides clarity and focus on growing your business focusing on improving profitability in a sustainable way.
Government grants and incentives
Governments provide a wide range of schemes offering billions of dollars annually, targeted at SMEs. A Virtual CFO will determine which schemes are most applicable for your business, as well as how to maximise the value of your claim.
Tax & Compliance
Australian tax is often seen to be overly complex with ever-changing rules and regulations. It is critical that you feel comfortable that your tax agent is handling your affairs in adherence with the legislation, and can explain the critical issues to you in language you understand.
The cost of making a mistake can be significant for any business or individual. It pays to have a registered Tax Agent in your corner, ensuring you are structured optimally, and meeting your compliance obligations.
Talk to us before making any business structure decisions, it may be the best money you ever spend.
Bookkeeping, BAS & Payroll
As the business owner, your time is best spent working on and selling your product, not reconciling months-old bank transactions and sweating over GST! According to successful entrepreneurs, tasks like bookkeeping, BAS and payroll admin should be the first removed from their bandwidth.
Accurate bookkeeping is the bedrock of financial management. Accurate historical information provides far greater insights to capitalise on future opportunity.
All of our bookkeeping and payroll services are performed in-house, with a review process conducted to ensure the highest quality.
Utilising cloud-based technology has changed the game for small business by increasing flexibility and efficiency. Xero incorporates all of the best of breed cloud accounting efficiencies in one very easy to use system.
It also offers seamless integration to a wide array of ‘add-on’ systems, such as stock, project management, point of sale, etc.
As Silver Xero partners, we are well-experienced across its numerous functions as well as integrating Xero with its many ‘add-ons’.
This product will streamline the finance side of your business, and give us greater control over your numbers.
Our Story & Values
Pillar was formed in 2017 evolving from the original Bright & Co business founded by James in 2014. After Alex became an owner in 2016, we decided that our vision for the business necessitated a name to align with this.
Our vision is to better serve our clients in order to help them achieve their business and financial goals.
We understand the daily challenges of small business and can appreciate the challenges faced through our own experience. Based on this we saw that Australian SME business owners want a adviser that is able to:
- Engage in their business and be committed to realising their success through the early stages
- Communicate and provide measured and timely business and tax advice, in language you understand
- Provide a strategic sounding board for the business becoming a key part of your team
- Identify and help implement technology opportunities that may exist to scale up your business
- Commit to a fixed value-based cost structure providing certainty to cashflow
Pillar’s Core Values
Quality & Integrity
Acting with integrity and performing all work to the highest quality is a key part of our strategy.
We are proud member firm of the Institute of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand and strictly adhere to all standards.
Agile & Responsive
We pride ourselves on our flexibility in terms of services we provide, and ability to solve urgent matters in a timely manner.
Utilising technology, we have “our finger on the pulse” of your business, allowing us to identify and respond to any financial issues in real time.
Employer of Choice
We realise that we are only as good as our team, so we focus on recruiting and retaining the best talent.
Learning & Growth
We have a commitment to a lifelong approach to learning and development. There is always something we could learn or gain a deeper understanding of areas we have already developed skills or experience in. All our values are underpinned by this view of the world.