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CEO Update: Adaptability & Growth

CEO Update: Adaptability & Growth

by Greg Cusack, Ashfords CEO         |         29 March 2021

The year of 2020 was dominated by the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic. The biggest challenges businesses faced during the lockdown period centred on productivity, technology and employee wellbeing.

Only 30% of accounting practices had a crisis management plan in place; thankfully, Ashfords was prepared and were able for all staff to transition to working remotely from home within the first week of being locked down.

Employee wellbeing is always of extreme importance to Ashfords, and this was of even more significance during lockdown. Hosting Friday night virtual gatherings, sending care packages to all staff, as well as continually checking in with all employees via Zoom, Microsoft Teams  or a simple phone call, ensured that our employees felt connected, supported and looked after, which we know is essential for our mental wellbeing.

As a result of the practices Ashfords had progressively put in place, we were able to manage the lockdown and the worst of the crisis with no redundancies and no staff forced to take annual leave.

Ashfords came to some key learnings during the pandemic, including:

  • The importance of keeping your technology and software up to date and ensuring your staff are knowledgeable in their use. Many businesses were caught out using outdated or inadequate technology and were not equipped to handle the challenges of working remotely. For example, we had replaced the traditional in-line telephone system at Ashfords with 3CX cloud-based software, which assisted us with keeping communication fluid between staff and clients during the lockdown.
  • Being adaptable and open to change is also vital: Ashfords’ staff were flexible and willing to learn in new environments to foster success from home. 

Looking ahead to 2021 and beyond, continuing to provide best practice accountancy and advisory services is the leading motivator at Ashfords. And to do so, we have needed to grow our service offering to ensure that we can continue to provide the scope of services and expertise our clients require to not just survive but thrive in this evolving times. Businesses need more than just an accountant to crunch numbers and so, at Ashfords, we take a different approach and look at the whole business. A prime example is Ashfords Digital team, who assist our clients with tailor-made business solutions that integrate and automate accounting and tech functions, providing the most suitable workflows, practices and software solutions to improve business outcomes. And as our clients’ needs continue to evolve so will Ashfords’ services.

In May 2021, Ashfords will relocate to a brand new office in Dandenong South in the buzzing Logis Estate. Dandenong South is the heartland of small business, with more people living and working within a 30 minute drive of our new office, than in the entirety of South Australia. Alongside this upcoming new location, we have been working to cement our place and promote who we are in South East Melbourne. To assist us with this, we have become a Major Sponsor of South East Melbourne Phoenix, a National Basketball League team established in 2018.

This partnership will help us to share our service offering with the SE Melbourne community by connecting us with the NBL fanbase and related business networks. We also saw it as a wonderful opportunity to support a new business in our local area and be involved alongside them as we both continue to grow our connections in the hard-working and passionate South East.

In closing, 2020 was a challenging year, however with perseverance and adaptability, Ashfords was able to endure and keep offering best practice to our clients. Our move to Dandenong South and Phoenix partnership will help bring about opportunities with our professional services for both our existing and new clients, and support our mission to be able to expand our service offering and become the Accounting and Advisory firm of choice. 


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What’s this new tax:

On 20 March 2024, the Victorian State Government introduced the Commercial and Industrial Property Tax Reform Bill 2024 ( The Bill is expected to become law and to take effect from 1 July 2024.

The Victorian Government, as announced in the 2023-24 Budget,  is progressively abolishing stamp duty on commercial and industrial property and replacing it with an annual tax.

The annual tax, to be known as the Commercial and Industrial Property Tax (CIPT), will be set at 1% of the property’s unimproved land value.

The tax will replace land transfer duty (stamp duty) that is currently payable on the improved value of the land when you purchase or acquire a commercial or industrial property in Victoria.

The new tax system will start to apply to commercial and industrial property if the property is transacted on or after 1 July 2024.


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