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Villa enjoys view from the top

Nomination in the prestigious Xero New Zealand Accountancy Awards is only the start for up and coming Whangārei firm, Villa.

Villa Chartered Accountants and Business Advisors – currently based at The Orchard, Northland Inc’s Business and Events Hub – was one of four national finalists competing for the 2019 Small Accounting Partner of the Year award in Wellington last week.

“Just being nominated for the award was a huge accolade for Villa,” said director Annè Lensink, who has overseen a rapid rise of the business since its launch in late 2017. “We were up against bigger, more established accounting firms but, not only that, the shortlisting criteria for the event was particularly stringent.

“We were nominated because of our fast business growth, and because we had demonstrated innovation and dedication in delivering value-added client service in response to industry changes. Although we didn’t bring home the award, I’m immensely proud that a small start-up business from the north was shortlisted among the final four. I’m passionate about growing Northland businesses and the Northland economy.”

The business will eventually move into new office premises – a traditional villa on Maunu Road, Whangārei, which is undergoing renovation and from which the firm, aptly, has taken its name. For the time being, though, the Villa team are more than happy to call The Orchard their home.

“The Orchard really fits with us and we love it here,” added Lensink. “The environment is so professional and it’s provided a real step up for us, in terms of our growth. The business advice and support we’ve received from Northland Inc has also been invaluable. It was just so easy to get started, to rent a desk, to build a fantastic team, to entertain clients – the benefits for us have been enormous.

“To anyone who might be thinking of renting space at The Orchard, I would say to them it’s a no-brainer, don’t hesitate to do it. The networking is fantastic and we get a lot of business referrals here. The environment is all about feeling good and it really delivers in that regard.”

Villa has flourished at The Orchard to the extent that it now has five employees, one intern – whose desk is sponsored by Northland Inc – and more than 450 clients on the books.

The vision for Villa is to be an accounting and business service provider that offers true value to its customers by getting to know their business inside out and by working with them to achieve their goals.

“I believe that traditional accounting is dead,” said Lensink, who started Villa after spending a decade working for a number of bigger accounting firms. “My aim is to help our clients achieve three freedoms: financial freedom, time freedom and mind freedom. I see us as more than ‘just’ an accountancy firm – we’re a valued member of your team and your decision-making process. I don’t want us to be the biggest – I want us to be the best.”

Genie van Paassen, business growth coordinator at The Orchard, described Villa as “true pillars of our Orchard community”. She added: “Annè and the Villa team are very capable businesswomen who work with empathy, and are more than willing to share their knowledge and capabilities. That kind of collective inspiration is what we’re all about here at The Orchard.”

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