Kiwi Business Story: Owner Manager Programme – Darren Dettling

Posted by Sequoya Harvey on Jul 6, 2022 10:00:00 AM

Darren Dettling is a partner at Bendall & Cant Chartered Accountants and an Owner Manager Programme 46 cohort alumni.

This Kiwi Business Story is based on a Podcast from 06 November 2020, and all figures quoted are from that time. You can enjoy the complete Podcast here.

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Tell us about yourself and your business?

I'm Darren Dettling, I'm one of four partners at Bendall & Cant Chartered Accountants. We are a chartered accounting firm, and have been for around 30 years. I've been a partner for eight years now. It’s a chartered accounting firm, it's pretty, self-explanatory. We partner with clients to be their trusted adviser and kind of this sounding board. You know, more than just the basic financials and tax, but taking a holistic view of what clients have going on and partnering with them.

When did you first hear of The Icehouse and how long have you been involved?

I got to know The Icehouse through The Ice Angels, about six or seven years ago. I did not really know much about the other side, that kind of growth side about The Icehouse until Chartered Accountants, Australia, New Zealand started a partnership a couple of years ago, and I got to know the other side and got interested in the Owner Manager Programme.

After completing OMP in July 2020, sum up the experience in one sentence?

Summing up, I think it's a great opportunity to take a step back from the day-to-day activities and kind of look at your business from different angles with a fantastic group of people and facilitators.

Through being an accountant, how was your experience? What was something you found that will help you in future with owner managers?

Yeah, it's been interesting going into it, as I spend my day, every day kind of advising businesses. I think as CEOs of Chartered Accountant firms you sometimes forget that we've also got a business that we're running as well. Ultimately, we're just another business that has the same challenges in relation to growth, staff, customers, and suppliers, we all have the same thing. So that was really good talking through those things and realizing that actually, it doesn't matter what industry you're in. You all have the same challenges.

I think particularly as Chartered Accountants, we're kind of actively involved. We are part of the business, and part of running it well. Really learning to take that time aside to work on that development side as well.

Throughout the five blocks of OMP what's one tool that stood out to you, and something you implemented into the business?

I think for us, it's been really good to get a bit more focus. When you work in the business day to day, it's hard to kind of get that time. I think what we've realised more, and it probably sounds obvious, is that we are a people business. We don't have a physical product we sell. So it's both around our staff and our clients. It's all about relationships, people, developing people and developing clients. Really focusing on those areas. Staff development, client relationships and customer service. Our big focus is on that and double checking, because that's really what we are as a business.

I guess personal development is probably half of the program, that focuses on you, you and the business I think I'm certainly more physically active, more resilient, and I think just more confident in my own thinking.

What's a piece of advice that you would tell an owner-manager of a small medium-sized business in New Zealand at this time?

I think my advice would be to talk to people, talk to a range of people, get advice, different opinions, ultimately, there'll be some negative advice from someone that's told in a different way that would resonate, and just being more open about things and talking to more people.

Topics: Owner Manager Programme

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