Malloch McClean Chartered Accountants & Business Advisory is a national award-winning accountancy firm in Nelson. With Manoli Aerakis as managing director at the helm, it is easy to see why. To listen to Manoli talk, you acquire a sense of someone who not only loves what he does but has the confidence and ability to help other people find and develop their own passions – in business and in life in general.
Armed with a genuine smile and charming personality, Manoli leads a team of dedicated professionals who are so good at what they do that they have just taken out a major national award to prove it.
Against a field of 70 other accountancy businesses throughout New Zealand, Malloch McClean won the prestigious Large Accounting Partner of the Year Award at the 2019 Xero Awards recently held in Wellington. According to Xero’s endorsement, “The team has transformed a traditional firm running legacy processes and systems into one with a more modern approach. The evolution they have gone through and the cultural change in particular made them stand out in our books.”
According to company history on its website, back in 1933 ‘Malloch McClean was established when Mr Malloch set off on his bicycle around the countryside talking to farmers about the impending introduction of depreciation and the need for double entry accounting’. The business found success straight away.
Six years later in 1939, Mr McClean came on to the scene and introduced the theme of continuous innovation. Today the firm initially founded on solid accounting principles has evolved into a business that could best be described as embracing a form of ‘new accounting’.
According to Manoli, the Xero award not only gives Malloch McClean kudos in the accounting industry but also endorses the cultural shift that the business has undergone. No longer just the purveyors of lists of numbers and balance sheets, Manoli and his team partner with their clients’ businesses to help fully develop their potential. They see themselves much more than just accountants. “Where the traditional accounting method is to meet with clients once a year, we meet with ours up to four times each year to help them achieve their goals. We don’t just talk numbers but offer them coaching, business planning and strategic planning.
“We love to look after our clients’ accounting needs but we also want people to run smarter, better businesses and so we facilitate this through coaching, advisory and mentorship.
We think of ourselves as being ‘on the field’ with our clients – we roll our sleeves up and deal with their day-to-day challenges which may be entirely different for every organisation we work with. Some of our coaching engagements may not even cover accounting. For instance, a session may be focussed on human resources, marketing or organisational structure.”
You can sense from walking into the offices at Malloch McClean that there is something special happening there. The energy is palpable, and you know simply by walking past the Superman-inspired photo of Manoli on the sliding entrance doors that the business believes in itself. It is strong, exciting and offers much more than number crunching. The people who work there are drawn together by a very inspiring set of values which are visible in every room; what they believe in, what they are aiming to do and what they value. The core Malloch McClean purpose ‘To build enduring wealth through successful businesses’ is well and good, but the underlying values of being proactive, putting family first, having empathy with their clients and walking alongside them with congruent business practices – these values make it all make sense and give a heart to the action. Even having fun and loving your job at Malloch McClean is an essential ingredient on the list – and of course it should be.
Manoli’s business coaching is also valued by the members of the Nelson Tasman Chamber of Commerce, where he runs Business Building Block workshops. These sessions focus on a particular business objective and are highly acclaimed by the attendees. Manoli considers this as an important part of helping to develop strong businesses in the region, which he sees will be to the benefit of everyone.
The thing that stands out from the outset is that Manoli doesn’t just talk the talk, but instead he models Malloch McClean’s values and processes in his own management style. If he gives advice to create a business plan or new system, it is because he has done the same; he embodies the values of Malloch McClean because they work. He has his own business coach and is constantly reviewing his plans and processes to ensure he will meet his personal and professional goals.
Previously a representative rugby player for Stoke and now an active dad with three boys, Manoli knows what it means to roll up his sleeves and get stuck in. His family is happily ensconced in Mapua and loving being part of their community.
It is obvious that he is doing something right, as success breeds success. Not only has Malloch McClean won the Large Accounting Partner of the Year Award, but Manoli has also been recognised as an outstanding contributor to the Nelson Tasman business community by being announced as a finalist for Business Person of the Year in the upcoming Nelson Pine Industries Nelson Tasman Chamber of Commerce Business Awards (nominated by his clients none the less). This recognition is on top of another prestigious award he has won recently recognising his effective leadership. Last year Manoli’s directorship was recognised by the Nelson Marlborough Institute of Directors with the Duncan Cotterill Emerging Director Award.
In the words of Danielle Martel, founder of web-development company Keetrax Ltd, participating in a business planning session with Malloch McClean was very much worth the investment. “Yes! It was an amazing afternoon, where we covered a lot of ground but didn’t feel rushed nor bullied into anything. Manoli was structured in a fun, highly engaging manner and took the time to explain things along the way. You felt like you were actively listened to and he would contribute valuable points or suggestions to help us achieve our season goals. Did we cover them? We smashed them!”