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Supportive! Profiling the finalists of AUT ‘s 2014 excellence awards

You can read the full list here: FULL FINALISTS LIST

  • Xero/ASB
  • Anthony Harper
  • The Food Bowl

Xero integration a winner with ASB customers 

ASB Bank has partnered with Xero to integrate its online banking with Xero’s online accounting.  As a result the lives of many business owners, accountants and bookkeepers have become much easier, and ASB has earned itself a spot as a finalist in AUT University Business School’s Excellence in Business Support Awards (Large Business – $100m+ turnover).

In a market full of manual paperwork, installed software, complicated on-site support and hefty annual fees, Xero has earned a reputation of disrupting the business software and accounting space.  It has done this by going online and creating an ecosystem of accountants, bookkeepers, banks and third party application providers that deliver better management tools for business owners. Xero tools manage a business’ general ledger, offering low set-up costs, online support and comparatively lower monthly charges.

The ASB/Xero partnership builds on the offerings of both organisations for two main groups of business customers: owners of small to medium businesses, and accountants and bookkeepers.

ASB and Xero worked together to improve the bank feeds that can be automatically sent to Xero. With more types of feeds for transaction accounts, credit cards, term deposits, loans and foreign currency accounts than any other bank, ASB and Xero customers are able to start each day by reconciling all of their transactions.

Moving the provisioning of account feeds online has been another key move by ASB.  This minimises set up time and the manual handling element for the customer. Account feeds go live instantly, leading to more customers activating transaction feeds on their accounts, reducing the drop-out rate for Xero, and creating more value for both organisations. For customers’ convenience, ASB’s online channels have also added the ability to start a transaction feed from a point in the past. 

Another new integration feature is ‘Direct Payment Link’, where customers simply tick the bills they’d like to pay within Xero and send those payments as a batch, ready to be authorised online within FastNet Business or on ASB’s mobile business app.

The ASB/Xero integration was helped by ensuring the bank’s developers understood the environment and context of business ownership and operation, and the Xero product.  The bank reasoned that if it wanted a ‘value-add’ from developers, they needed to be able to think creatively when solving problems and identifying opportunities, rather than simply coding to a set of specifications.

ASB continually seeks feedback on uptake of the Xero services and satisfaction with it through automated reporting on service adoption and repeat usage, and customer and staff feedback.

Since the integration of services offered jointly by ASB and Xero in 2013, feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. The initiative has proved its value by attracting a significant number of new customers, and positively influencing the bank’s projected revenue.


In 2010, an opportunity to run the loyalty program of Berkeley Cinemas in Auckland, NZ, led Movio founders William Palmer and Peter Beguely to develop and design cloud-based platform software Movio, a one of a kind analytics and targeted marketing solution designed exclusively for the unique needs of movie marketers. Since then, Movio has taken the film industry and cinema sector by storm, earning itself a spot as a finalist in the Idealog Business <$5m turnover Technology category at the AUT University Business School’s Excellence in Business Support Awards 2014.

Movio aims to change the way the film industry interacts with viewers by providing a greater understanding of what drives consumer behaviour, and communicating through their preferred channels.  What the Movio software does is combine customer intelligence and campaign management, into an easy to use software programme that any non-tech marketer can use.

In the past, it would take many weeks and many people for cinema companies to produce launch and measure campaigns. The campaign would start off as an idea in the marketing department before the IT department would be engaged to find a target group of members for the campaign and the email designer would then construct an HTML email. Campaign artwork and text would then have to be sent to a third party email provider, and after that, IT would come in again to report on control versus test campaign performance.

With Movio, this whole process can be carried out by one person in 15 minutes using a range of email templates, leaving cinema marketing teams free to focus on improving loyalty programmes that directly impact revenue and theatre attendance. A specially developed ROI reporting system also demonstrates what type of marketing works for different segments of customers. With features that integrate with exhibitors’ POS systems, Movio is able to provide cinema exhibitors a greater understanding of what is driving consumer’s behaviour and how to interact with them effectively, using real-time data feeds, and accurate measures of return on investment. Thanks to its cloud-based format, Movio users can also access the system at any time on the Web.

After implementing Movio, Canada’s largest cinema chain, Cineplex, saw its turnaround time on email campaigns cut in half and ran 328 campaigns, 82 per cent more than the previous year over the same period. Cineplex was also able to run smarter and more effective campaigns. For example, when a snowstorm hits Canada, Cineplex can target those members whose schools and businesses have closed, as it’s the perfect time to rent or see a movie. These are some of Cineplex’s most effective campaigns, and would have been impossible to execute before Movio.

With operations in six regions worldwide and a significant client base in primary markets, Movio is currently the global leader in marketing data analysis and campaign management for cinema. By 2016, Movio is projected to be the largest aggregator of customer film data globally. With its dominant market position, Movio has become of significant value to the entire film industry.

Anthony Harper 

In 2007, respected ‘generalist’ law firm Anthony Harper saw an opportunity to reinvent itself into clearly defined areas of specialisation and offer improved services to its business clients. The vision was to become a firm that was truly expert in its work, with a deep understanding of its business clients and a focus on what the law means to them.  The successful reinvention into a ‘specialist’ law firm has landed Anthony Harper a finalist spot in the AUT University Business School Excellence in Business Support Awards 2014, in the $5m – $20m turnover category.

This new direction and vision enabled Anthony Harper to “provide New Zealand businesses with a truly credible alternative to the ‘big name’ corporate law firms, which are all too often appointed for who they are and have been, rather than the outcomes they deliver today.”

The team at Anthony Harper have developed deep expertise in a range of specialist and industry areas such as banking and finance, construction, corporate advisory, dispute resolution, employment law, insolvency and business recovery, insurance, intellectual property, private client management, property and more.

In 2010, due to client demand, Anthony Harper opened an Auckland office, truly making it a nation-wide brand. The firm’s expansion also created a talent acquisition opportunity, attracting key talented individuals from ‘big name’ law firms who were top specialists in their fields but weren’t being promoted to partner, thanks to the shrinking opportunities within these larger firms.

The firm’s model was also rebuilt around flexibility and client need. To meet the needs of new clients in speciality areas, new partners are promoted or hired, and in some cases, specific aspects of service are developed, to meet the needs of a particular client.  An example of this thinking is Anthony Harper’s 2013 merger with the law firm Burke Melrose, a move designed to add depth to Anthony Harper’s retirement village expertise.  Today, Anthony Harper acts for one third of retirement villages in New Zealand.

At Anthony Harper, client work is not just approached from a legal perspective but also takes into account the challenges and opportunities of the client business. Five years ago, a major bank approached the firm with a broad concept for developing a service around mortgage variations; the Anthony Harper team developed an innovative solution that matched both the bank’s business and detailed legal requirements.

Anthony Harper prides itself on the unique individualised way it approaches client work, and maintains this advantage by embedding its values throughout the firm and frequent use of feedback channels with clients. Feedback is then used to better develop the firm’s brand and processes.

Revenue growth, an expanding staff and high client retention rates add to Anthony Harper’s credibility and service value.  High profile clients include Westpac, BNZ, ASB Bank , Auckland International Airport, KiwiRail, Fletcher Distribution, Goodman Property Trust and Ezibu.


The FoodBowl

The FoodBowl operates as a ‘play-ground factory’ for hire, allowing New Zealand food and beverage companies to try out their ideas for new products on a small scale before going into full-scale production for the local or export market. 

Led by CEO Sarita Males and jointly owned by government innovation hub Callaghan Innovation and Auckland’s economic growth agency, Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED), The FoodBowl has been named a finalist in the Government category at this year’s AUT University Business School Excellence in Business Support Awards.

Founded in 2011, The FoodBowl has been designed to offer a range of processing and packaging options.  The venture comprises four specialised manufacturing suites (high pressure processing, general processing, liquids and beverages and extrusion and dry processing) along with 200 pieces of complementary specialised equipment.  It operates as a ‘one-stop’ facility for established and start-up companies wanting to produce commercial runs of new products for trial marketing.

With the flexibility of being able to hire The FoodBowl facilities for  a day to a week or more, companies can try out their ideas on a small scale first.  Providing their own raw ingredients and staff, they can prepare food and beverages in numerous different ways.  And once their product has been created there is a wide choice of packaging options including bottling, canning and vacuum packaging.

Companies using the FoodBowl facilities can also access its ‘expertise bank’ of approachable, experienced, highly skilled technologists, scientists, consultants, packaging and equipment suppliers and funding experts and engage their services as required.

A big focus for the company is assisting in the achievement of the Government’s goal increase exports to 40 per cent of GDP by 2025.

Orbit Corporate Travel

Orbit Corporate Travel (Orbit) is part of the House of Travel Group, specialising in corporate travel, group travel, event-related travel and leisure and ski holidays. Orbit services companies and organisations of all sizes in diverse sectors including Education, Government, FMCG, Finance and Health.

Orbit’s clients include some well-known iconic brands. A focus on good communication and listening helps the company to identify what clients need and then put together the right services. 

This client-centric approach has seen Orbit named as a finalist in the $20M – $100M T/O category for AUT University Business School’s annual Excellence in Business Support Awards in 2014.

Through working closely with its clients to build strong relationships and continually reviewing market segments and potential opportunities, Orbit enjoys an exceptional rate of customer retention.  One example of this ‘above and beyond’ approach was when Orbit discovered a major client was paying for air spend by credit card, incurring credit card fees on each booking as well as spending a lot of time on reconciliation at the back end.  Orbit came up with a solution, stepping in and offering a consolidated billing solution that saved its client a lot of time and money.

Orbit continually seeks to improve its services and client relationships through account management, focus group meetings, and continuous staff development and community involvement with organisations like Ronald McDonald House and Hospice. It also regularly surveys travel bookers, travellers and procurement stakeholders with a view to continuously improving its business practices.

Marrying the need to be competitive in the market and the requirement to provide clients with a simplified travel reconciliation process, Orbit has developed an in-house unique travel accounting and reconciliation tool known as ORCA (Orbit Reconciliation & Consolidated Accounting).

The ORCA program allows Orbit to provide its clients with consolidated invoices that include all air, hotel, car and ancillary services.  Even the smallest incidentals can be detailed, enabling clients to outsource the accounts payable and accounts receivable functions. The ORCA process is easy and efficient, significantly reducing the time clients need to spend on the accounting side of their travel.

Orbit gives its consolidated billing service, ORCA, continuous innovation and market segmentation the credit for its best business outcomes in the last 18 months: an excellent client retention rate and a steadily increasing net profit.

Review overview