Welcome to another edition of Fast Five - our fortnightly series where we ask Victoria’s most influential and exceptional business leaders five simple questions to get a glimpse behind-the-scenes of Australia’s most exciting operations.
This week, we spoke to Brendan Britten, Managing Partner of Pitcher Partners Melbourne, part of a national association of independent accounting and business advisory firms with a strong reputation for providing personal service and quality commercial advice.
As Pitcher Partners celebrates its milestone 30th anniversary, Brendan reflects on some of the firm’s secrets to continued success.
#1: What is Pitcher Partners doing differently, compared to other accounting and business advisory firms?
The relationships we have with our clients make us unique. We make it our business to understand our clients - we know their challenges, issues and opportunities. We specialise in private and family businesses and build relationships with them based on independent, objective and valuable advice. This is the know-how we look for and try to develop in our people.
Despite the uncertainty of the last 16 months, we have remained committed to providing our people with opportunities to grow and develop.
We offer a unique Masters of Entrepreneurship and Innovation qualification to our people. It supports them to be the best advisor they can be and helps us meet the specific demands of our clients.
We recently enhanced our graduate program so graduates can spend substantial time across our firm during their first two years – experiencing the full spectrum of what we help our clients with and building internal networks sooner.
#2: What has been Pitcher Partners' greatest challenge over the past year?
We are a business based on peoples’ knowledge and expertise and the strength of their relationships with our clients. We work with people who are spending their own money. Our relationships are founded on trust and objectivity. For us, we like to be with our clients, in their business or at our office. So obviously restrictions over the last year have impacted our ability to provide face-to-face advice.
We moved to virtual interactions for our client engagements, team meetings and firm events aimed at holding on to the connections we value. We hosted many of our client events via webinars and had record attendance, with more than 1200 clients tuning in virtually for sessions on JobSeeker and JobKeeper. We have enjoyed being back with each other and our clients, but we have learned we can share our expertise with the middle market virtually as well.
#3: What are you most proud of throughout your career?
I have clients of large family businesses who I’m proud to have worked with for decades. Seeing the next generation of a family grow and find their role leading a business and being trusted to be part of that, is professionally rewarding for me.
#4: What career advice would you give a junior new-starter at Pitcher Partners?
I get the chance to spend time with our graduates on their first day each year and my advice is always based on two things:
Grow your networks
Improve your professional network, know a diverse range of people and be able to seek information when your client needs it. Being connected and knowing who to call on regarding a certain topic is key to being a relevant and valuable advisor to your client.
Make the most of your opportunities
Be inquisitive and have the confidence to ask questions. The more you know about your client’s business, the more opportunity you have to learn and make yourself increasingly valuable to them.
#5: What excites you about the future?
This year we celebrate our 30th year at Pitcher Partners. Some of our founding partners continue to work with the firm helping us advise many of our long-term clients. This is unique in many respects. To me, it’s a marker of how much we value relationships and the community we try to build at our firm. Thirty years is a chance for us to celebrate, to reflect on what we’ve become, who we are and all the clients we’ve been fortunate enough to help and advise over the years.
Personally, I’m quite looking forward to a holiday with the family. Like most people, we’ve cancelled a few over the last year so it will be nice to get away for a recharge with my wife and three sons.