Rightway, founded in 2011 by Greg Sheehan – the former Group Financial Controller for Air New Zealand and CFO for Nike – as well as Xero co-founder Hamish Edwards, Edwin Read and David ‘DJ’ Shaw in 2011.
The company is rapidly growing having expanded from a staff of four to more than 40 within three years and with a 50% increase in client numbers in just the past six months, says Sheehan, and he believes this is proof of how the firm can help other small businesses expand. The company also recently set up an Australian operation and plans to eventually launch in the US and the UK.
The company is an accounting and business advisory firm, which focuses on facilitating the growth of small businesses, dubbing itself on its website as “A business coach and chartered accountant all rolled into one”. Sheehan says the firm focuses on the growth of hospitality providers, service providers, wider service providers and trades.
Sheehan says one of the reasons for the company’s success is that it’s been created under a model where its regional partners are solely in customer facing roles, “…their sole objective after winning a new customer is to look after that customer, there is no one else [no other firms] that does that.
“The regional partner is free of all other responsibilities that go into an accounting firm,” he says.
And the firm is showing no sign of slowing yet. Sheehan says it’s doubled every year since its inception and is planning on doing that again this year, “We had 40 at Christmas, we think we’ll be at around about 80 by Christmas this year.”
Sheehan says the company is also raising capital to focus on its growth, having raised $800,000 with a goal of raising $1.5 million to $3 million.
“One [reason for raising capital] is to go faster in Australia as we have just set up our Australia operation. And the second area is just to provide working capital as the business grows.”
Sheehan says RightWay has a really strong relationship with Xero and uses its product for its accounting engine, “One of our co-directors is one of the co-founders of Xero and there are various people in our team that were involved with Xero early on, so we have a lot of people that know the Xero product. Having said that we don’t get any favours from Xero, we have a great relationship with them and we firmly believe in the product, we think it’s great.”
He says though Xero built the software, RightWay built the service, “…it’s through the model that Xero set, but we decided we would focus on the service side of it. Rod Drury [Xero CEO] has been an inspiration for a lot of entrepreneurs.”
Sheehan says one of the greatest things about the job is the customers “...we just absolutely love working with the customers we’ve got. We’ve got some great testimonies.
“The best thing about working with small business owners is that you can have a direct impact on their wider lives so it’s a really rewarding space to be in.”