A note from Steve Sakkas, CEO Moore Stephens Victoria

As we launch into a new financial year and ask ourselves ‘what’s next?’, I want to take a moment’s pause to thank our clients and our partners for their support this past year. 

Like many of you, Moore Stephens Victoria has enjoyed exceptional growth, and I am not just referring to the numbers on our bottom line. Having worked in the financial services industry for more than 25 years, I appreciate the value in growing the depth of our services, expertise and employees. We’ve exceeded expectations in all these areas in the past year, and without our clients or staff, this would not have been possible – and so to all, I want to express my sincere thanks.  

Our growth is fuelled by our purpose to help build our clients’ personal and business wealth. We’ve been motivated to customise our clients’ experience by having intimate knowledge of their financial affairs. Every business has its uniqueness, and so we’ve focused on building robust partnerships which allows us to understand every point of view.

We’ve expanded our service offering by embracing new initiatives and opportunities which includes the recent launch of our legal services division, headed by Alex Nielsen. This new direction is client-driven and arises from the division’s compatibility with our existing tax and transaction advisory work. It’s a holistic approach, that not only sets us apart from our competitors but also enables better collaboration at a time when clients’ needs are increasingly complex. 

Our tax division has also thrived, with the team tripling in size in the past 18 months so it can readily provide highly technical expertise. Under the leadership of directors Kerry Hicks and Tim Cheong, they’re helping clients to qualify as an Early Stage Innovation company, as well as providing advice on research and development grants, dispute resolutions with the Australian Tax Office and international tax planning and structures.

It’s our third year in Geelong, and it’s a location that’s flourishing with new jobs and wealth because of considerable government investment. As a result, the local businesses are expanding and are reaping the benefits of our full-service offering. Recently, we’ve worked closely with Deakin University to nurture future recruits in the Western Corridor through our graduate training program.  

We’ve also boosted our capability in capital raising and equity capital markets with the recruitment of Director Ben Yeo. Over the last few years, we’ve seen a significant increase in capital market transactions, particularly in initial public offerings, and we can now better assist our clients with their first capital raising or through secondary markets. This creates opportunities to reduce credit risk, signals to the market a company’s prosperity and provides greater operating flexibility, especially when it’s harder to secure financing from the banks in the aftermath of the royal commission.

Of course, a review of this past financial year would be incomplete without comment on the impacts of the royal commission, which exposed how some banks, financial service firms, superannuation funds and lenders prospered at the expense of their clients. For us, its findings were encouraging because it emphasised the requirement to always put the client’s best interests first – a value that’s at the core of Moore Stephens’ approach.

Expanding our clients’ knowledge and ensuring their companies are evolving is also integral to what we do. It’s why we’ve committed to building partnerships with the various professional chambers across the state. It enables our clients to be at the forefront of any opportunities, in addition to helping them meet new levels of sophistication as their companies mature.

Last financial year, there was lots of talk of a downturn, and another federal election heightened this uncertainty. From our perspective, economic conditions are quite strong, and with every negative, there are just as many positives. Technology is changing the way we do things, and the market is no longer defined by geography. There’s a lot more international work for our clients, whether that’s exporting their goods and services, manufacturing overseas or importing. What has changed is the level of competition, and it’s imperative that we help our clients remain ahead of the curve and which is enhanced through our overseas network of 630 affiliated offices.

Our growth strategy will continue this year, and this includes our people. We’re investing in greater depth of services, expertise in different industries and our teams’ development will only assist with this ambition. We’re highly selective about the people we employ, and any new additions to our team must be able to solve problems effectively, be results driven and be able to see other perspectives. Our agility is what helps our clients’ grow and surpass their expectations, so they can enter the new financial year buoyant with possibility.