More than just a small business
Ram’s Head Machining epitomises small family business in Australia.
Founded in 1972 by dad Bernie, this family business has thrived over the years, seen good times and bad, and since Bernie’s retirement is now being run by sons Tully and Darren.
“I started working in Dad’s business when I left school. Dad has just retired this year,” says Tully.
Rams is an established business, specialising in performance cylinder heads for racing cars, boats and motorbikes, and they have a long history in the racing industry. When ATB’s Paul Rattray took over the accounts after their existing accountant retired, they worked though cash flow problems and got some unexpectedly good, timely advice.
“Paul advises us on so many matters that aren’t just related to tax … it’s a whole lot more than that. He acts as our business advisor – anytime we want to buy something we talk to Paul first.”
Not just number crunchers …
“The ATB team are normal people – not just a pack of nerds that are number crunchers and that’s it.”
“They’re regular people … you can talk to them, ask them questions and they’ll tell you in layman’s terms, not in some accounting language …”
Finding opportunity when you least expect it
Since Tully and Darren took the business on, they’ve worked with Paul and the team at ATB to grow their business … and this has led them to make some big decisions about their future.
“We bought a new piece of equipment, and we realised we wouldn’t be able to fit it into the factory.”
They needed a solution, and fast. And thanks to some creative, forward thinking advice, they found one that solved more than just their equipment problem.
“We spoke to Paul … and we came up with a plan to purchase another factory, a much bigger factory, so we had more room, and we could fit more in.
It was to be purchased within an SMSF.”
Setting up an SMSF is an incredibly complex procedure, but Paul was able to simplify it for Tully and Darren, quite simply, because he is a ‘regular bloke’ and not a number crunching nerd, as Tully puts it.
“Paul organised the loan, all the finance for the property and the new machinery, easily.”
Not your typical accountant and mentor …
Tully and Darren feel incredibly comfortable with their long-term relationship with ATB and Paul Rattray. They look to Paul for advice, solutions, information and strategy.
Paul visits them at least four times a year…but they all have an understanding that the whole team is a phone call away whenever needed.
“Anytime we want to buy something, we talk to Paul first. We sit and talk…talk about plans, what we’d like to do and achieve, and what we’re going to do and achieve. It’s great because it’s face to face and, we communicate openly, not just through email or phone calls.”
“Paul foresees problems so they can be dealt with before they become bigger.”
And because ATB are chartered accountants and business mentors, they can act, and advise in ways other accountants and mentors can’t. Their passion and focus is small business…helping small business owners take control of their businesses, their cash flow and debt. It’s a solution that’s really worked for this small family business, and it’s one that both Rams and ATB know will continue to work well into the future.
“We are about to move our accounting package to the cloud. What I really like about Paul is that while he is proactive about technology, he never pushes us into anything. We know it will make our lives easier, but he is letting us make the decision in our own time.”
“Paul is very up front about the costs too, which we appreciate.”
Embracing the freedom
Tully Foley has been part of the family business since he left school. He’s never really known anything else, and he appreciates the opportunities running his own business affords him.
“I like the freedom – you can make a decision…and you can do it. You have no boss…We run the business, we make the decisions and we go with it. That’s where Paul comes in…
…if we need to spend some money we’ll let Paul know and he’ll tell us whether it’s a good or bad idea.”
Of course it’s not always perfect.
“Sometimes it can be hard. You’re always thinking about work and work longer hours because it’s your own business, but it’s very rewarding and the rewards are yours and noone else’s.”
“The hardest part of running your own small business is the paperwork and the tax. If I had to do it myself, it would never get done.
Having Paul makes it a hell of a lot easier – it’s one less worry.”
And that’s exactly why ATB do what they do. Sounds like a magical partnership.