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New Tool Makes It Easier To 'Shop Around'

9 April 2002

New Tool Makes It Easier To 'Shop Around' For Professional Advice

A website product designed to make it easier to 'shop around' for professional services is being launched in Dunedin tonight.

www.nzbusiness.equillia.co.nz allows customers to post requests for professional services on a secure web site and receive bids for the work from accredited professionals - lawyers, accountants and others.

The advantages include more control over the process of dealing with professional advisers and greater certainty over costs, says Duncan Simpson, Otago Southland Employers' Association Chief Executive.

"Many businesses find it daunting to approach professionals or put it off until they are faced with a crisis," Mr Simpson said.

"As a result, the advice may not come from the best source, and costs can be very open ended. Businesses, especially smaller ones, under-utilise professional advice, and this can hamper their ability to grow and prosper. Equillia provides a solution. For a small fee ($25) customers can post requests and choose any (or none) of the proposals submitted in response. In the end, they may still choose to deal with their regular adviser, but they will have gained a better definition of the brief, and a better understanding of costs."

Equillia was developed by Garth Lucas, a partner in the Dunedin Law Firm Lucas & Lucas, and Matt Cooney, a programmer at Dunedin computing firm E-media.

Garth Lucas says the idea came from the realisation that a professional website had to be useful to the client - not just another electronic business card and brochure. "A better way is to write the site from the consumer's point of view - but still respect the quality safeguards inherent in traditional practice," Mr Lucas said.

The software has been licensed by Business New Zealand and will be rolled out throughout New Zealand by its regional employer/business associations EMA (Northern), EMA (Central), Canterbury Employers' Chamber of Commerce and the Otago Southland Employers' Association.

Ends

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